Atte Jongstra

Atte Jongstra (b. 1956) studied Dutch language and literature and subsequently began a career as a writer and literary journalist. His first book, De Multatulianen (The Multatulianists, 1985), describes the often hilarious mixture of idolisation and abuse Multatuli, Holland’s greatest nineteenth-century writer, has had to suffer. His first fictional publication, the thematic collection of stories De psychologie van de zwavel (The Psychology of the Sulphur, 1989), received the Geertjan Lubberhuizen Prize for the best debut. Among other things it tells the story of a budding author: of a writer searching for a style, struggling with the influence of other authors and the pleasure of escape from scientific jargon. From the writer’s triumphant close of the book, expectations were high for Jongstra’s next book. But he surprised his readers again with the remarkable Groente (Vegetables). After Groente Jongstra published Hudigers Hooglied (The Song of Hudiger, 1999), De tegenhanger (The Counterpart, 2003) and De tak van Salzburg (Salzburg Branch, essays, 2002). In 1998 the essay collection Familieportret (Family Portrait) was awarded the J. Greshoffprijs. In 2003 Jongstra’s translation of Peter Cornell’s novel Paradisets vägar came out and in 2007 he published the novel De avonturen van Henry II Fix (The Adventures of Henry II Fix).


(Contact, 1991, 148 pages)

In his first book Jongstra drowns the unsuspecting reader in a confusion of fact and fiction, questionable footnotes, curious illustrations and - for the first time in Dutch fiction - an index of names. But while De psychologie van de zwavel (‘The Psychology of the Sulphur’) is above all an old-fashioned attempt to break free from the influence of previous authors and to form an individual style, in Groente Jongstra has succeeded in standing on his own two feet.

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