Cees Nooteboom

© Simone Sassen
Frankfurter Buchmesse
Guest of Honour 2016

Cees Nooteboom

1933, The Hague
Writer, poet, traveller, art connoisseur.

Cees Nooteboom was educated in Catholic schools, after which he hitchhiked his way around Europe, these travels providing material for his debut novel, Philip and the Others (1955). Widespread recognition came for Nooteboom when Rituelen [Rituals] was published in 1980 and he received the F. Bordewijk and Pegasus awards. More recent novels include Lost paradise (2004), Rode regen [Red Rain] (columns, memories, poems, 2007), The Foxes come at night (2009) and Letters to Poseidon (201 2). In addition to novels, poetry and travel stories, he has written several plays, as well as essays about art, such as the monograph on Hieronymus Bosch, to appear in 2016. He is known for his elegant style, and the erudite content and international orientation of his writings. His books have been translated into more than thirty languages. He received the Constantijn Huygens Award in 1992 for his whole oeuvre. He alternates between living on Menorca and in Amsterdam. In 2004 he was awarded the P.C. Hooft Prize, and in the autumn of 2009, King Albert of Belgium presented him with the Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren, a prestigious literary prize bestowed once every three years by the Dutch Language Union.


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Recently translated into German

Translated by Helga van Beuningen
Schirmer / Mosel Verlag, 2016
Original title: Hieronymus Bosch (De Bezige Bij, 2016)

A dark sense of foreboding. Travelling to Jheronimus Bosch. In this richly illustrated essay Cees Nooteboom describes his journeys to seven paintings of Jheronimus Bosch in Lisboa, Madrid, Ghent, Rotterdam and ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Did he see a different Jheronimus Bosch when he was twenty than he does now at eighty? What does a writer from the twentieth century have in common with a painter from the fifteenth century? They are from the same country, but would they still understand each other if they could speak to one another? Art connoisseur and traveler Nooteboom examines in a probing fashion the riddle of Bosch.
Like no other, Dutch author Cees Nooteboom describes the mystery in which large works of art or atmospheric places set him.

De Standaard

All of his work possesses an erudition, a command of language, and skill that we find in America in Nabokov and Guy Davenport. Consider it a niche, if you will, but one we must keep.

Robert Buckeye, Review of Contemporary Fiction

These days there is hardly any more wonderful, more spiritual pleasure than reading Cees Nooteboom.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Nooteboom is a novelist of big themes, but he is never heavy-handed. He embeds philosophical musings in observations of the commonplace, so that his ideas sneak up on you, appearing unexpectedly, breathtakingly, like angels hidden in abandoned cupboards.

Jennifer Vanderbes, The Washington Post