Hella S. Haasse
Hella S. Haasse (1918 - 2011) was born in Batavia, modern-day Jakarta. She moved to the Netherlands after secondary school. In 1945 she debuted with a collection of poems, entitled Stroomversnelling (Momentum). She made her name three years later with the novella given out to mark the Dutch Book Week, Oeroeg. As with much of her work, this tale of the friendship between a Dutch and an Indonesian boy has gained the status of a classic in the Netherlands.
Titles such as Het woud der verwachting (In a Dark Wood Wandering, 1949), Een nieuwer testament (Threshold of Fire, 1966) and Mevrouw Bentinck of Onverenigbaarheid van karakter (Mrs Bentinck or Irreconcilable in Character, 1978) have been greatly enjoyed by several generations. In 1992 she published another novel about her home country, the Dutch East Indies: the highly acclaimed Heren van de thee (The Tea Merchants).
Her work is characterised by an adequate and well thought out vocabulary and a flexible sentence structure. Her non-historical novels and stories are often about ordinary people who are intensely confronted by their choices and circumstances: De ingewijden (The Insiders, 1957), Huurders en onderhuurders (Tenants and Sub-tenants, 1971), Berichten van het blauwe huis (Messages from the Blue House, 1986), Fenrir (2000) and Sleuteloog (Eye of the Key, 2002). Haasse also published various collections of essays, including Uitgesproken, opgeschreven (Recited, Recorded, 1996) and Zwanen schieten (Shooting Swans, 1998).
In 2006 her short stories were brought together in Het tuinhuis (The Garden House). Haasse has received several prestigious literary awards, among which the P.C. Hooft Prize (1983) and the Dutch Literature Prize (Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren, 2004), and her work has been translated into many languages.