Anton Valens (b. 1964) trained as a painter at the Rietveld Academy and the Rijksacademie. As a student he worked in home care services in Amsterdam, garnering experiences he later used in his debut novel Master in Hygiene (2004), about a young man who cleans houses for the elderly and infirm. The book won a number of literary prizes, went through several reprints and appeared in French translation. In 2008 Valens published both the story collection Mop War, in which he again draws upon his experiences in home care, and the travel story I Wanted to Go to the Edge of Beijing. The following year Valens made an indelible impression with his novella Fish, a tough, masculine tale written in a crystal-clear prose about an artist who has a rather unambitious attitude to life. When he joins a group of fishermen he is made to face up to his miserable position on the social ladder.