Mariët Meester spent her childhood in Veenhuizen, a secluded prison village in the north of Holland, nicknamed Dutch Siberia. She studied at the Minerva Academy of Fine Arts in Groningen. During the internship year she traveled in a self-
After working for a while as a visual artist and free-
The same year she went for the first time to Romania, where she contacted Roma (gypsies). In 1991 she stayed again with Romanian Roma, which led in 1992 to the book De stilte voor het vuur (The calm before the fire). In this travel story her compassion is visible on every page.
In 1994 her second novel Bokkezang (Bucksong) was published. This poetical book tells the story of two lovers, one of them representing art, the other nature. Bokkezang has been translated into Russian by Irina Michailova and was published by Amphora, St. Petersburg. Passages of this novel have been translated into English, German, Spanish and Portuguese.
In 2000 Meester was invited to participate in the Literaturexpress, a train journey from Lisbon via St. Petersburg to Berlin, with more than a hundred European authors as passengers. After the Literaturexpress she wrote a short story which has been translated into German and Spanish. (Photo: Mariët Meester with the Flemish author Kamiel Vanhole. © Oliver Möst)
In the same year the author collected travel stories about Romania, Mali and India in De verdwaalde nomade (The lost nomad). Read an interview about one of these stories.
Being a special guest at the World PEN-
In 2003 the novel De overstroming (The Flood) was published. This strong and touching book deals with a young woman who survives a big flood in modern Holland together with five other people. They are all living on a man-
Mariët Meesters novel De volmaakte man (The Perfect Man) appeared in November 2005. Two young people buy an apartment in Amsterdam. The owner (and their neighbour) is an eccentric old Jewish lady who has survived World War II in Veenhuizen, the secluded prison village where they both come from. Watch the video (English subtitled).
In May 2006 Mariët Meester finished a non-
October 2009 a new novel has been published, Liefdeslied van een reiziger (A Traveller's Love Song). Watch the English video on YouTube.
In January 2012 De mythische oom (The Mythical Uncle) appeared. The American uncle of Mariët Meester suffered from leukemia, but survived thanks to a stem cell transplant, of which his brother – the father of the writer – was the donor. In De mythische oom she immerges herself in the pioneer life of her uncle in the U.S., his religious ideas and his extraordinary healing.
Mariët Meester lives in Amsterdam. From January 2015 to March 2016, she collected material for her non-
For an overview of the books, click here.
Check her contributions on Facebook.
Read Mariët Meesters weblog.
Mariët Meester writes both fiction and non-
In 2012 Mariët Meester took the initiative to change the parsonage where she had stayed into a Writers' Residency. September 11, 2014 a novel was published in which the house and the prison village are playing a major role, Hollands Siberië (Dutch Siberia). The book was received very well, and has been reprinted immediately.
In 2011 Mariët returned to the prison colony where she grew up. In a vacant parsonage she wrote ten stories about the twentieth century in this strange village, based on the memories of former residents – and her own. It resulted in the book Koloniekak. Leven in een gevangenisdorp. (Colony Posh, Life in a prison village.)
In 1997 the novel De eerste zonde (The First Sin) appeared. The main character, a girl of twelve, lives in the Dutch prison village Veenhuizen. Because of her concern with an escapee, she inevitably loses her innocence. This bright and colourful novel has been reprinted five times.