Ernest van der Kwast

© Keke Keukelaar
Frankfurter Buchmesse
Guest of Honour 2016

Ernest van der Kwast

1981, Mumbai
Writer. Essayist. Columnist. Lives and works in the Netherlands and Italy.

Ernest van der Kwast was born in India and grew up in the Netherlands. He studied economics and made his début with the novel Soms zijn dingen mooier als er mensen klappen (2005). His book Mama Tandoori (2010) was his breakthrough to the general public. Van der Kwast relates the story of his Indian mother in a hilarious, sometimes slapstick way. Yet there is great tragedy in the story. His humour is more restrained in De ijsmakers (2015), in which he deals with life's untapped potential in wistful manner, while combining the story with factual information about ice cream and ice cream making. Van der Kwast is praised for his eloquent, sensual style. Although his work is humorous, it frequently deals with serious themes such as loss of identity. His work has been translated into four languages.


  Dutch Foundation for Literature   Translations   De Bezige Bij   BTB   Marebuch   Nijgh & Van Ditmar

Recently translated into German

The Ice-Cream Makers
BTB Verlag, 2016
Translated by Andreas Ecke
Originaltitel: De ijsmakers (De Bezige Bij, 2015)

In the far north of Italy lies the valley of the ice-cream makers: about a dozen villages where, for generations, people have specialised in making ice cream. Giuseppe Talamini claims it was actually invented here. Every spring his family sets off for the ice-cream parlour in Rotterdam, returning to the mountains only in winter.

Eldest son Giovanni Talamini decides to break with this tradition by pursuing a literary career. But then one day his younger brother Luca approaches him with a highly unusual request. Now Giovanni faces a dilemma: serve the family's interests one last time or choose his own path in life, once and for all.
A fine novel, a carefully crafted interaction between family pressure and the longing for freedom across the different generations.

NRC Handelsblad

It is an ode to poetry and to women. A tale of the tradition of ice cream making and the price is exacts. But above all 'The Ice Cream Makers' is a book that sweeps you along like an avalanche.

Noordhollands Dagblad

A heart-warming family saga full of colourful characters you will instantly fall in love with.

Miriam Van hee, Poet