Willem van Toorn
Willem van Toorn (b. 1935) spent his holidays with family in the Betuwe, a rustic area in the centre of the Netherlands. As a result, he became familiar with the landscape of large rivers which often appears in his work. After a brief career as a chemical analyst and teacher, he devoted himself to literature. His first book, the novella De explosie (The Explosion) was published in 1959, followed a year later by his first volume of poetry.
The novel Een leeg landschap (‘An Empty Landscape’, 1988), in which he expresses his anxiety about the corrosion of the river landscape, brought Van Toorn long-deserved recognition. The novel was shortlisted for the AKO Literature Prize. Later works such as Het verhaal van een middag (‘The Story of an Afternoon’, 1994) and De rivier (‘The River’, 1999) were also highly praised.
The author has also translated works by such authors as Kafka, Isherwood, Updike, Zweig, Doctorow and Klaus Mann.