Vamba Sherif

Unprecedented Love

A letter to his daughter and an ode to the women in his family

‘You asked me to chronicle your grandmother’s life and describe the environment I grew up in.’ With these words, the Liberian-Dutch writer Vamba Sherif opens this tender account to his ten-year-old daughter.

He goes on to describe his happy childhood, growing up in Liberia, in an extensive, female-dominated family of prominent intellectuals and scientists. But when young Vamba breaks unwritten laws, nosing around family documents not intended for his eyes, the verdict is harsh: banishment. He moves to Kuwait, flees to Syria during the Gulf War and eventually ends up in the Netherlands. While the civil war in his native country hits his family hard – he will never see his mother again – Vamba has to fight to survive in Dutch society.

This beautifully written book is the final chapter in that battle: he hopes his daughter will become aware of her African roots, that her father’s life story will become part of her identity. And he gives her life lessons: ‘Be brave. Nothing can destroy your humanity. Only if you allow them will negative experiences get a hold of you.’

A wonderful book about how this Liberian-Dutch writer ended up in the Netherlands and met the future mother of his child.


Vamba Sherif

Vamba Sherif (b. 1973) was born in Liberia and grew up partly in Kuwait. He fled that country during the First Gulf War and came to the Netherlands in 1993. His debut novel Land of the Fathers (1999) is partly based on his grandmother’s stories and deals with the interactions between the…

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Ongekende liefde (2021). Non-fiction, 224 pages.

Sample translation

English (PDF document)


De Geus

Weteringschans 259
NL - 1017 XJ Amsterdam
Tel: +31 20 760 72 17

[email protected]

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Literary agent

Cecile B Literary Agency

45 Main Street #850
NY 11201 Brooklyn
United States of America
Tel: +1-347-327-4449
[email protected]

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