Authors / David Van Reybrouck

David Van Reybrouck

David Van Reybrouck

© Stephan Vanfleteren

David Van Reybrouck (b. 1971) is a journalist, a writer of literary non-fiction, a poet and a playwright. He made his debut in 2001 with the award-winning The plague. His greatest succes is Congo, a History, for which he received a slew of national and international prizes including the Libris History Prize 2010, the Jan Greshoff Prize 2010 and the AKO Literature Prize 2010. The book was a runaway succes in Germany, France and Norway and was translated into  many languages. A Plea for Populism won him the Jan Hanlo Essay Prize 2009 and the Flemish Cultural Prize for Criticism and the Essay 2009. 2013 saw the publication of Against Elections, an urgent call for the reform of democracy, which has been sold to fifteen territories to date. In March 2016 Zinc was the official ‘Dutch Book Week 2016’ essay.


Recent titles – English material

Revolusi, 2020 

De 0dyssee van Mohamed (written with Mohammed El Bachiri) (Mohamed’s Odyssee), 2019

Odes, 2018

Een jihad voor liefde (written with Mohammed El Bachiri) (A Jihad for Love), 2017

Zink (Zinc), 2016

Congo, 2010

Press on Against Elections:

Choosing our rulers by popular vote has failed to deliver true democratic government: that seems to be the verdict of history unfolding before our eyes. Cogently and persuasively, David Van Reybrouck pleads for a return to selection by lot, and outlines a range of well thought out plans for how sortitive democracy might be implemented. With the popular media and the political parties fiercely opposed to it, sortitive democracy will not find it easy to win acceptance. Nonetheless, it may well be an idea whose time has come. - J.M. Coetzee

In compelling us to subject all our received ideas and deeply-held convictions to rigorous scrutiny, this fine iconoclastic work could not be more timely. David Van Reybrouck reveals the startling historical fact that the French and Americans chose the electoral method precisely because it was undemocratic and then goes on relentlessly to demonstrate that far from safeguarding our rright to self-determination, elections are actually impeding our democracy. - Karen Armstrong

Press on Congo, The Epic History of a people:

Once opened, an abyss emerges in this book, from which rises a peak of historiography and documentary literature. For Belgium the book of the century, for Europa the book of the decade. - Peter Sloterdijk Süddeutsche Zeitung in ‘Bücher des Jahres'

Jahrhundertbuch – Spiegel online

Eine wunderbare Mischung aus Zeitreise und Reisebericht, aus Doku-Drama und Wirtschaftskrimi, aus Geschichte von unten und Krisenreportage aus eigener Anschauung. – Die Zeit

Van Reybrouck’s extensive account reveals the depth and breadth of exploitation, particularly under Belgian colonial rule, and how Congo’s story is one fraught with the toxic cycle of ‘desire, frustration, revenge. — Publishers Weekly

Van Reybrouck makes a good case for the importance of Congo to world history and its ongoing centrality in a time of resurgent economic colonialism, this time on the part of China. — Kirkus

A monumental history . . . more exciting than any novel. — NRC Handelsblad

An unbelievable tour de force. — Humo

Breathtaking. — Trouw