Simone Atangana Bekono


An extremely personal book about extremely personal experiences

Salomé Atabong, daughter of a Cameroonian father and a Dutch mother, arrives at a juvenile detention centre to start a six-month sentence for an as-yet-unspecified violent crime.

Her thoughts, memories, interactions with fellow detainees and reluctant therapy sessions gradually reveal the confusion, anger and sorrow that swirl within her, fed not just by the casual and sometimes aggressive racism of her provincial hometown, but also by the tug of contending family influences.

Atangana Bekono moves smoothly between registers. The dialogue is incisive and her timing and rhythm make the young characters ring true, even when using slang.

de Volkskrant

Her experience as a poet shows in her highly precise use of language […] When Salom√© describes the circumstances of her detention, the sentences hum with the intoxication of violence.

NRC Handelsblad


Simone Atangana Bekono

Simone Atangana Bekono (b. 1991) first came to prominence as a poet. Her 2017 collection How the First Sparks Became Visible was widely acclaimed and won the Poetry Debut Prize Aan Zee. It has now been published in English. Confrontations, her first novel, has been longlisted for the prestigious…

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Confrontaties (2020). Fiction, 224 pages.
Words: 56,480

Sample translation available

Themes: debut

Sample translation

Slovenian (PDF document)



Paul van Vlissingenstraat 18
1096 BK Amsterdam
Tel: +31 20 462 43 00


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