Hélène "Hella" Serafia Haasse
(born 2 February 1918) is one of the most important modern Dutch
writers. She is often called the Grand Old Lady of Dutch literature.
Many of her works are historical novels
, but she has also produced essays, autobiographical material, short stories, etc. Some of her work, such as her debut Oeroeg
, is set in the Dutch East Indies
, where she was born and lived during the first 20 years of her life. She also wrote autobiographical texts and books about her life in the East Indies, such as Krassen op een rots
(1970). The East Indies continue to play an important part in her novels, e.g. in Sleuteloog
(2000), which has the same topic as Oeroeg
: is a friendship between a Dutch and an Indonesian child possible and can they really understand each other?
Haasse is highly valued by her many readers and the critics. She received the prestigious Constantijn Huygens Prize
and the P. C. Hooft Award
in 1981 and 1984, respectively. She also won the Annie Romein Prize, the Dirk Martens Prize and the Prize of the Public of the NS (twice). She is the only author who has written the prestigious annual "Boekenweekgeschenk
" thrice, in 1948, 1959 and 1994. In March, 2007 Haasse was back in the news. While cleaning her house, she happened upon the lost manuscript of a novel she had written in 1950.
Already early in her life she earned international recognition, especially in France (where she has lived for many years). She is Officier dans l’Ordre......