Walter van den Broeck
Walter van den Broeck was born in 1941 into a working class neighbourhood near the metalworks in Olen in Flemish Kempen. In his theatre plays and novels, often inspired by his own family life as a child, he shows great concern for the social circumstances of the workers, and highlights their living conditions. His 1967 debut, De troonopvolger (The Heiress), was a Freudian novel about a young writer wanting to escape his fathers authority. Van den Broeck’s breakthrough came with Brief aan Boudewijn (Letter to Baudouin, 1980), in which he shows the Belgian king round the working class area and house in which he grew up. The author’s fictional counter visit to the royal palace in Laken (Brussels) evolved into Van den Broeck’s masterpiece Het beleg van Laken (The Siege of Laken, published in four parts from 1985, collected in 1999). The personal theme recurs in novels like Verdwaalde post (Lost Mail, 1998), Een lichtgevoelige jongen (A Sensitive Boy, 2001) and De beiaard en de dove man (The Carilloneur and the Deaf Man, 2004).