Maartje Wortel is considered one of the leading figures of the Dutch literary vanguard. She studied ‘Beeld & Taal’ (Image & Language) at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, has published stories in numerous literary journals and has written columns for the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad. For her debut work, the collection of short stories Dit is jouw huis (This Is Your House, 2010), she immediately won an Dutch important prize for best literary debut. Her novels Half mens (Half-Human) and IJstijd (Ice Age) were both nominated for several major literary prizes. Half mens was awarded the Dutch BNG Literature Prize for young authors under 40. The Dutch daily de Volkskrant declared her the literary talent of 2014 and praised her ‘drily comical, original narrative voice that omits more than it reveals’. Her most recent work, the collection of stories Er moet iets gebeuren (Something Has To Happen), appeared in late 2015. Her stories have been translated into different languages, including German, French, English and Italian.
I Wish My Piano Were a Horse
Edition Fünf, 2016
Translated by Bettina Bach, Helga van Beuningen, Anna Carstens, Doris Hermanns, Andrea Kluitmann, Christiane Kuby
Original title: Wär mein Klavier doch ein Pferd - Erzählungen aus den Niederlanden
15 stories by fourteen women authors from the Netherlands, written over the last century, told with open eyes for the absurdities and impositions of life. The authors give us laconic, direct, funny and tragic accounts of key moments in childhood and adulthood and of dramas that shake the foundation of their characters’ lives. As varied as their backgrounds are - traditional Dutch, colonial or Jewish - , they have a strong focus on the point where individuals and the world at large meet and the difficult balance between self-assertion and acceptance of others. With stories by: Maria Dermoût, Josepha Mendels, Elisabeth Augustin, Annie M. G. Schmidt, Marga Minco, Helga Ruebsamen, Margriet de Moor, Ellen Ombre, Jill, Anneloes Timmerije, Manon Uphoff, Sanneke van Hassel, Esther Gerritsen, and Maartje Wortel.