Op zee (At Sea) awarded

Prix Médicis étranger for Toine Heijmans

12 November 2013

With the French translation of his novel Op zee (At Sea), Toine Heijmans has won the prestigious French literary prize ‘Prix Médicis étranger’. Heijmans is the first Dutch author ever to win the annual award, surpassing amongst others Alan Hollinghurst, Jaume Cabré and Javier Marías.

Heijmans’ debut was translated into French by Danielle Losman as En mer and published by Christian Bourgois. The Dutch Foundation for Literature presented this novel to foreign publishers in the 10 Books from Holland and Flanders brochure of fall 2011, and supported the translation into Hungarian an Danish with a translation grant.

Op zee is the compelling tale of Donald, a middle-aged man who seeks refuge at sea after his career has reached an impasse. Together with his 7-year-old daughter Maria, he travels the Atlantic and the North Sea by sailing boat, in the hopes of returning as a better husband to his wife Hagar. The story takes a fatal turn when nearly at the end of their journey, Donald seems to have lost Maria…

Toine Heijmans writes for the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, and published his debut novel in 2011. Op zee was made into a film by Marinus Groothof and premiered at the Dutch Film Festival 2013. Mid January 2014, the second novel by Heijmans, Pristina, will be published by Atlas Contact.

Photo Toine Heijmans

More information

Victor Schiferli


Victor Schiferli

Specialist Dutch non-fiction and poetry

[email protected]