Jan Siebelink (b. 1938) grew up as the son of a nurseryman in an orthodox Protestant milieu. He studied French, became interested in ‘decadent’ literature, in particular J.-K. Huysmans’s novel À rebours, which he translated, and taught French in secondary school for over thirty years. His literary debut, Nachtschade (Nightshade, 1975), attracted attention because of the dark-romantic obsession with decay death and religion. In the big novels he wrote subsequently - De herfst zal schitterend zijn (Autumn Will Be Wonderful, 1980), En joeg de vossen door het staande koren (And Chased the Foxes through the Upright Wheat, 1982) and De overkant van de rivier (The Other Side of the River, 1990) - he gave an increasingly penetrating shape to his universe: the nursery as the image of paradise lost, the gloomy faith of his father, secondary-school education, the social order, and above all the years of his youth in the countryside where he was born. He went on to publish the novels Vera (1997), Engelen van het duister (Angels of the Dark, 2001) and Margaretha (2002). In 2005 Siebelink’s highly acclaimed novel Knielen op een bed violen (Kneeling on a Bed of Violets) appeared, for which he was awarded the AKO Literature Prize.