Author

Henk van Woerden

Henk van Woerden (Leiden, 6 December 1947 – Ann Arbor, 16 November 2005) grew up in Leiden and moved to Cape Town, South Africa, at the age of ten. He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Cape Town, before returning to Europe in May 1968. From 1987 onwards he taught at the Academy of Art in Enschede (the Netherlands). He debuted as a writer with Moenie kyk nie (Don’t Look, 1993), which earned him the Geertjan Lubberhuizen Prize for best literary prose debut. This was followed by Tikoes (1996) and Een mond vol glas (A Mouthful of Glass, or The Assassin in the American edition, 1998). Together, these titles form his ‘South African trilogy’. In Notities van een luchtfietser (Notes from an Air Cyclist, 2002) Van Woerden wrote about travelling in reality as well as in the mind. His last novel, Ultramarijn (Ultramarine), appeared in 2005. In 2003 Van Woerden received the Frans Kellendonk Prize for his oeuvre. His work has been translated into more than ten languages.

Moenie kyk nie

Moenie kyk nie

(Podium, 1993, 159 pages)

The title of the book Moenie kyk nie means ‘don’t look at me’ in South African Dutch. It refers to the novel’s main theme, seeing, in every possible way: the central character is blind in one eye, he doesn’t want to be seen, his brother is not allowed to watch his girlfriend getting undressed, and he doesn’t want to be confronted with the ugly side of South African society, the Apartheid regime - and of course, the blindness of the regime itself.

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A Mouthful of Glass

A Mouthful of Glass

(Podium, 1998, 224 pages)

After two novels set in South Africa – Moenie kyk nie and Tikoes – in A Mouth of Glass Henk van Woerden has written a book midway between an autobiographical travelogue and a biography. His obsession – as he himself calls it – with the murderer of South African premier Hendrik Verwoerd is central to the book.

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Ultramarine

Ultramarine

(Podium, 2005, 300 pages)

Entirely unexpectedly, Ultramarijn, the novel that seemed to indicate a new direction in Henk van Woerden’s writing, became his swan song. A month after its publication the author died of a heart attack. With Henk van Woerden’s passing, the Netherlands lost a cosmopolitan writer of international stature.

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Translated books

Website

http://www.henkvanwoerden.nl