Toon Tellegen

© Chris van Houts
Frankfurter Buchmesse
Guest of Honour 2016

Toon Tellegen

1941, Brielle
Writer. Doctor. Poet.

Toon Tellegen made his debut in 1980 with the collection of poems De zin van een liguster [The Sense of a Privet Hedge], but is particularly known for his children’s books, the first of which, Er ging geen dag voorbij [Not a Day Went By], appeared in 1984. He made his name with his animal stories about Squirrel, Ant, Mole, Hedgehog and others searching for their place in an incomprehensible world. Since the animals in his stories often have human characteristics, the stories are not only entertaining and sometimes absurd but there is also often a philosophical message hidden within them. Tellegen does not only write about animals; in 1994 he published Mijn vader [My Father], in which he sketched a portrait of the best father in the world. His children’s books are popular among adults as well as children.
Tellegen has won several Zilveren Griffel and Gouden Griffel awards for his work and was awarded the Constantijn Huygens Prize in 2007 for his entire oeuvre. His work has been translated into more than fifteen languages.


  Dutch Foundation for Literature   Translations   Gerstenberg   Lannoo   Hanser   Mixtvision Verlag   Querido Kinderboek

Recently translated into German

Ein Garten für den Wal
Gerstenberg Verlag, 2016
Illustrations: Annemarie van Haeringen
Translated by Andrea Kluitmann
Original title: De tuin van de walvis (Querido, 2015)

When the whale has trouble sleeping at night, he dreams of a garden on his back. He already has a fountain, but he’d like flowers, bushes, paths and a bench for visitors to sit on. The whale writes a letter to the grasshopper – can he bring him a garden?

The polished simplicity of the sentences, the philosophical undertone, the gentle humour, the deftly characterized figures, the heart-warming conclusion… these are a few of the elements that make this story another layered and enjoyable whole.

De Morgen