Bart Moeyaert

Bart Moeyaert (b. 1964) enjoys great renown as an author of children’s novels and as a poet. In 2006 and 2007 he was the city poet of Antwerp, where he currently lives. All his novels, Duet met valse noten (Duet with False Notes), 1983, Kus me (Kiss Me), 1991, Blote handen (Bare Hands), 1995, Mansoor, of hoe we Stine bijna doodkregen (Hazelwort, or how we almost got rid of Stine), 1998, Het is de liefde die we niet begrijpen (It is Love We Don’t Understand), 1999, Broere (Brother), 2000, Luna van de boom (Tree Luna), 2000, De schepping (Creation), 2003, and Dani Bennoni, 2004, have been awarded the most prestigious literary prizes. His readership comprises both adolescents and adults, and he wishes to make no distinction between them. The joy of Moeyaert’s books is that they appeal to both children and adults. He is able to render wonderful, often sensual stories in such lucid language as to be eminently accessible to children while at the same time there is still ample scope for discovery for adults.

Bare Hands

(Querido Kind, 1995, 94 pages)

The story is set on the threshold of a new year, a cold windy New Year’s Eve. Two bosom friends, Ward and Bernie, have spent the day in an emotional conflict with themselves and the angry outside world. What began as a silly game-running away from an angry neighbour-escalated into a drama. Either by accident or design, Ward has killed a duck belonging to neighbour Betjeman, who, out of fury or grief, uses his artificial hand to do something really horrible to Ward’s dog. Although there are lots of indications that there is something seriously wrong with the dog, it is a long time before Ward can bring himself to recognise that his Elmer is dead.

Read more

It Is Love That We Don’t Understand

(Querido, 1999, 96 pages)

Can love still be the subject of a book? Bart Moeyaert proves to us that it can, and he does so in a highly original manner. In his novel Het is de liefde die we niet begrijpen he deals with it in a sensitive and refreshing way, expertly unravelling love’s complexities while at the same time leaving its mystery intact. Through the eyes of a fifteen-year-old girl, we witness the life of a broken family. In the first of the three stories which make up the book, entitled ‘The end of Bordzek told by myself who was there’, we plunge straight into a fierce family quarrel.

Read more


(Querido, 2009, 101 pages)

Bart Moeyaert’s new novel Graz was sparked by a repeat visit to that Austrian city at the invitation of the Graz Literary House, in a hotel room with a view. In the novella, the author projects himself in the fictitious figure of Herman Eichler, the business manager of ‘Zum guten Hirten’ pharmacy opposite the hotel. The man is unmarried, stable, orderly and precise, a model of reliability. To his customers he gives much-appreciated support and good advice. He describes himself as ‘a good soul, an honest soul’ as well as ‘a poor searching soul’. In reality he is timid and has difficulty making contact.

Read more