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Hella Haasse

Hella Haasse - foto copyright Roy Tee 2004
Hella Haasse - foto copyright Roy Tee 2004

(Batavia, Dutch-Indies, 1918) spent her youth in the Dutch-Indies. She attended elementary and grammar school there. After briefly studying literature in the Netherlands she went on to complete Theatre School. Almost immediatley after that she chose to dedicate her life to writing. Her childhood in the Dutch-Indies repeatedly plays a role in her work, as is obvious in her debut novella Oeroeg (1948) and the novels Heren van de thee (Gentlemen of the tea) (1992) en Sleuteloog, her much praised novel published in 2002. Most of Haasse's books are historical novels. For instance her first comprehensive, frequently reprinted novel Het woud der verwachting (The forest of expectations) (1949) is about Charles d'Orleans, a fifteenth century poet. Her most recent book is entitled Bij de les (Accompanying the lessons) (2004), which includes old educational school charts from the Dutch-Indies. Haase has been distinguished many times. On the 17th of November 2004 she received personally from Queen Beatrix the Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren (The Dutch Literature Award). Hella Haasse died in 2011.

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