Frank Westerman

Frank Westerman (b. 1964) studied Tropical Cultivation at Wageningen University. In 1987 he spent a year in the Peruvian Andes, researching the irrigation methods of Aymara Indians.

Photo: Lionne Hietberg

Westerman is the author of many bestsellers: The Republic of Grain (1999), Engineers of the Soul (2002), El Negro and Me (2004), Ararat (2007), Brother Mendel’s Perfect Horse (2010), Choke Valley (2013) and A Word A Word (2016). His work, which has received numerous awards, has been widely translated. His previous book, We, Hominids, has been translated into French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish and English so far.

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Frank Westerman

Engineers of the Soul

'Engineers of the Soul' is the riveting story of how authors were forced to write in service of an ideology, in this case communism as it was practiced in the Soviet Union. Westerman’s sharp pen combines a fine example of investigative journalism with a dash of literary history. In the book’s ingenious construction he continually contrasts the Soviet past with present-day Russia, leading the reader into a maze of mirrors through 'Absurdistan'.

Frank Westerman

El Negro and Me

In december 1983, Frank Westerman, a 19-year-old student of tropical agriculture, visited a museum in a small Spanish village and found himself eye to eye with a stuffed black man in a glass display case. It was an experience that would remain with him for ever. Twenty years later, by then a well-known journalist and author, he set out to identify the man known simply as El Negro. The Negro. Who was he? When did he live? Where did he come from?

Frank Westerman


As so often among Western Europeans, religion had slipped out of Frank Westerman’s life unnoticed - until he became a father and wondered which aspects of his own religious background and upbringing he wanted to pass on to his daughter. Ararat is a piece of highly personal journalism, splendidly combining Westerman’s own questions with the history of religion, political conflict and advances in scientific research.

Frank Westerman

The Republic Of Grain

From time immemorial, the Dutch have owed their survival to pushing back the sea. Now, at the end of the twentieth century, the dikes will be pierced and water let in once again. In the grain republic of Groningen where the clay is richest and the best grain harvested, the centuries-old polders will be flooded. The farming community, and with it a thousand-year-old tradition, will have to yield to environmental pressures and recreation.

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