Mariët Meester writes both fiction and literary non-fiction. Her early years were spent in Veenhuizen, a prison village where a thousand inhabitants and a thousand inmates lived surrounded by 'No Trespassing' signs. Her non-fiction book ‘Sla een spijker in mijn hart’ (Drive a Nail Through My Heart) is about her experiences among the Roma in Romania. One of her novels, ‘Bokkezang’, has been translated into Russian. In the year 2019 her non-fiction book ‘De tribune van de armen’ appeared in Spanish
Mariët Meester spent her childhood in Veenhuizen, a secluded prison village in the north of Holland, nicknamed Dutch Siberia. She studied at the Minerva Academy of Fine Arts in Groningen. During the internship year she traveled in a self-built gypsy caravan through France, together with Jaap de Ruig. She published the travelogue Een spoor van paardemest (A Trail of Horse Dung). After working for a while as a visual artist and free-lance journalist, she published in 1990 her first literary novel Sevillana, situated in Andalusia, Spain. A young woman, longing for spiritual deepening, submerges herself in Sevilla's Holy Week. The same year she went for the first time to Romania, where she stayed with Roma (gypsies). In 1991 she stayed again with her Roma-friends, which led in 1992 to the book De stilte voor het vuur (The calm before the fire). In this non-fiction book her compassion is visible on every page. In 1994 Bokkezang (Bucksong) was published. This poetical novel tells the story of two lovers, one of them representing art, the other nature. Bokkezang has been translated into Russian by Irina Michailova and was published by Amphora, St. Petersburg. Passages of this book have been translated into English, German, Spanish and Portuguese. In 1997 the novel De eerste zonde (The First Sin) appeared. The main character, a girl of twelve, lives in the Dutch prison village Veenhuizen. Because of her concern with an escapee, she inevitably loses her innocence. This bright and colourful novel has been reprinted five times. In 2000 Meester was invited to participate in the Literaturexpress, a train journey from Lisbon via St. Petersburg to Berlin, with more than a hundred European authors as passengers. After the Literaturexpress she wrote a short story which has been translated into German and Spanish. (Photo: Mariët Meester with Flemish author Kamiel Vanhole. © Oliver Möst) In the same year the author collected travel stories about Romania, Mali and India in De verdwaalde nomade (The Nomad Who Got Lost). Read an interview about one of these stories. Being a special guest at the World PEN-congress 2002 in Ohrid, Macedonia, she wrote the essay Oblomov as a woman (translation Alissa Leigh). It was published in the Macedonian literary magazine Blesok, both in English and Macedonian. In 2003 the novel De overstroming (The Flood) was published. This strong and touching book deals with a young woman who survives a big flood in modern Holland together with five other people. They are all living on a man-made hill in the typical Dutch polder landscape. In her diary the woman describes how their mutual relations are changing. A passage of this novel has been translated into English. Mariët Meesters novel De volmaakte man (The Perfect Man) appeared in November 2005. Two young people buy an apartment in Amsterdam. The owner (and their neighbour) is an eccentric old Jewish lady who has survived World War II in Veenhuizen, the secluded prison village where they both come from. Watch the video (English subtitled). In May 2006 Mariët Meester finished a non-fiction volume in which she included everything she has written about Roma in Romania, Sla een spijker in mijn hart - Roemeense Roma na de revolutie (Drive a Nail through my Heart - Romanian Roma after the Revolution). This book was reprinted in 2007. Watch the video (English spoken). For Italian readers a passage of the book has been translated. See: Piantami un chiodo nel cuore - I Rom Rumeni dopo la rivoluzione. October 2009 a new novel has been published, Liefdeslied van een reiziger (A Traveller's Love Song). Watch the English video on YouTube. In January 2012 De mythische oom (The Mythical Uncle) appeared. The American uncle of Mariët Meester suffered from leukemia, but survived thanks to a stem cell transplant, of which his brother – the father of the writer – was the donor. In De mythische oom she immerges herself in the pioneer life of her uncle in the U.S., his religious ideas and his extraordinary healing. A bilingual essay about the misunderstandings that arose around this book appeared in Asymptote Journal. In 2011 Mariët returned for sixteen months to the prison colony where she grew up. It resulted in two books: Koloniekak. Leven in een gevangenisdorp, 2012 (Colony Posh, Life in a prison village) and the novel Hollands Siberië, 2014 (Dutch Siberia). Both books found a large audience. Together with visual artist Jaap de Ruig Mariët Meester lives in Amsterdam and in a wooden caravan in the polder. They also spend a lot of time in the Spanish city of Málaga. Meesters latest non-fiction book is set in this city. In De tribune van de armen, 2017 (The Tribune Of The Poor) she examines in a personal way the annual release of a detainee during an Easter procession. The book was translated into Spanish by Inge Luken en appeared in January 2019 as La Tribuna de los Pobres. For an overview of the books, click here.
Mariët Meester spent her childhood in Veenhuizen, a secluded prison village in the north of Holland, nicknamed Dutch Siberia. She studied at the Minerva Academy of Fine Arts in Groningen. During the internship year she traveled in a self-built gypsy caravan through France, together with Jaap de Ruig. She published the travelogue ‘Een spoor van paardemest’ (A Trail of Horse Dung). After working for a while as a visual artist and free-lance journalist, she published in 1990 her first literary novel ‘Sevillana’, situated in Andalusia, Spain. A young woman, longing for spiritual deepening, submerges herself in Sevilla's Holy Week. The same year she went for the first time to Romania, where she stayed with Roma (gypsies). In 1991 she stayed again with her Roma-friends, which led in 1992 to the book ‘De stilte voor het vuur’ (The Calm Before The Fire). In this non-fiction book her compassion is visible on every page.. In 1994 ‘Bokkezang’ (Bucksong) was published. This poetical novel tells the story of two lovers, one of them representing art, the other nature. Bokkezang has been translated into Russian by Irina Michailova and was published by Amphora, St. Petersburg. Passages of this book have been translated into English, German, Spanish and Portuguese. In 1997 the novel ‘De eerste zonde’ (The First Sin) appeared. The main character, a girl of twelve, lives in the Dutch prison village Veenhuizen. Because of her concern with an escapee, she inevitably loses her innocence. This bright and colourful novel has been reprinted five times. In 2000 Meester was invited to participate in the Literaturexpress, a train journey from Lisbon via St. Petersburg to Berlin, with more than a hundred European authors as passengers. After the Literaturexpress she wrote a short story which has been translated into German and Spanish. (Photo: Mariët Meester with Flemish author Kamiel Vanhole. © Oliver Möst) In the same year the author collected travel stories about Romania, Mali and India in ‘De verdwaalde nomade’ (The Nomad Who Got Lost). Read an interview about one of these stories. Being a special guest at the World PEN- congress 2002 in Ohrid, Macedonia, she wrote the essay Oblomov as a woman (translation Alissa Leigh). It was published in the Macedonian literary magazine Blesok, both in English and Macedonian. In 2003 the novel ‘De overstroming’ (The Flood) was published. This strong and touching book deals with a young woman who survives a big flood in modern Holland together with five other people. They are all living on a man-made hill in the typical Dutch polder landscape. In her diary the woman describes how their mutual relations are changing. A passage of this novel has been translated into English. Mariët Meesters novel ‘De volmaakte man’ (The Perfect Man) appeared in November 2005. Two young people buy an apartment in Amsterdam. The owner (and their neighbour) is an eccentric old Jewish lady who has survived World War II in Veenhuizen, the secluded prison village where they both come from. Watch the video (English subtitled). In May 2006 Mariët Meester finished a non- fiction volume in which she included everything she has written about Roma in Romania, ‘Sla een spijker in mijn hart - Roemeense Roma na de revolutie’ (Drive a Nail through my Heart - Romanian Roma after the Revolution). This book was reprinted in 2007. Watch the video (English spoken). For Italian readers a passage of the book has been translated. See: Piantami un chiodo nel cuore - I Rom Rumeni dopo la rivoluzione. October 2009 a new novel has been published, ‘Liefdeslied van een reiziger’ (A Traveller's Love Song). Watch the English video on YouTube. In January 2012 ‘De mythische oom’ (The Mythical Uncle) appeared. The American uncle of Mariët Meester suffered from leukemia, but survived thanks to a stem cell transplant, of which his brother – the father of the writer – was the donor. In De mythische oom she immerges herself in the pioneer life of her uncle in the U.S., his religious ideas and his extraordinary healing. A bilingual essay about the misunderstandings that arose around this book appeared in Asymptote Journal. In 2011 Mariët returned for sixteen months to the prison colony where she grew up. It resulted in two books: ‘Koloniekak. Leven in een gevangenisdorp’, 2012 (Colony Posh, Life in a prison village.) and the novel ‘Hollands Siberië’, 2014 (Dutch Siberia). Both books found a large audience. Together with visual artist Jaap de Ruig Mariët Meester lives in Amsterdam and in a wooden caravan in the polder. They also spend a lot of time in the Spanish city of Málaga. Meesters latest non-fiction book is set in this city. In ‘De tribune van de armen’, 2017 (The Tribune Of The Poor) she examines in a personal way the annual release of a detainee during an Easter procession. The book was translated into Spanish by Inge Luken en appeared in January 2019 as ‘La Tribuna de los Pobres’. For an overview of the books, click here.