Anna Enquist (b. 1945) is one of the most popular writers in the Netherlands. She trained in piano at the academy of music in The Hague and at the same time studied psychology in Leiden. When she made her debut as a poet in 1991 with the collection Soldatenliederen (Soldiers’ Songs), for which she was awarded the C. Buddingh Prize, she was working as a psychoanalyst. Since then she has devoted much of her time to writing. With her first two novels, Het meesterstuk (The Masterpiece, 1995) and Het geheim (The Secret, 1997), psychological novels in which classical music is central, Enquist quickly reached a broad readership. In 2002 she wrote the Book Week Gift, De ijsdragers (The Ice Carriers), and in 2005 she published the major historical novel De thuiskomst (The Homecoming), which focuses on James Cook’s wife Elizabeth Batts. For the French translation of this novel, she received the Prix du Livre Corderie Royale-Hermione. ‘Enquist understands emotion’ is how one critic has described the appeal of her work.
Her writing brings together the fields of psychology and classical music in a particularly exhilarating way, which is partly what has won her such a wide audience, both in the Netherlands and beyond.