Author

Erna Sassen

Erna Sassen (b. 1961) studied at the Theaterschool in Amsterdam and began her career as a radio producer and actor, including in musicals and as a nurse in a popular Dutch TV series about a hospital, making her debut as a YA author in 2004. She received a lot of praise for Dit is geen dagboek (This Is Not a Diary, 2010), the tragicomic account of a grieving teenager whose mother has committed suicide. This was followed by the YA novels Kom niet dichterbij (Don’t Come Any Closer, 2014) and the stylistically outstanding Er is geen vorm waarin ik pas (Don’t Tell Me What I Am, 2016). Sassen has been commended for her sense of humour, her honest tone and the clever psychological portrayal of her characters.

This Is Not a Diary

This Is Not a Diary

(Leopold, 2009, 144 pages)

What is the book about?
Erna: This Is Not a Diary is an intense novel about the inner emotional life of 16-year-old Boudewijn, whose mother has thrown herself in front of a train. I tried to make the book hard and raw, but also loving and sometimes humorous. Boudewijn develops as a person: he finally manages to let go of his anger and to feel his grief. The book has a hopeful ending. Although it’s not a self-help book, I think that many young people and adults may gain something from it. I hope it offers comfort.

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Don’t Tell Me What I Am

Don’t Tell Me What I Am

(Leopold, 2017, 216 pages)

A schoolgirl suffering from a burnout tries to understand and process her traumatic experience. A fragmentary book full of conversations, memories and song lyrics, about a teenager’s search for herself.

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An Indian Like You and Me

An Indian Like You and Me

(Leopold, 2018, 112 pages)

In the world of books, there have been many calls for more attention to be paid to diversity. Erna Sassen’s book is a laudable response. This original story about the loner Boaz, who is so proud when the new girl, Aïsha, comes to sit by him at school, shows that a friend is a friend, and appearances don’t matter.

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Untitled

Untitled

(Leopold, 2021, 256 pages)

Joshua, a talented artist, has recently transferred to the vocational education system and is trying to fit in among the other students, who would rather be working with punchbags than watercolour paper. His biggest worry is that he’ll become a punchbag himself.

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