Authors / Stefan Hertmans

Stefan Hertmans

Stefan Hertmans




© Michiel Hendryckx

Stefan Hertmans (b. 1951) has published novels, short story collections, essays and poetry. He received the triennial Flemish Poetry Prize in 1995. His novel War and Turpentine (2012) won both the ECI Literature Prize and the Flemish Cultural Award for Literature, and was shortlisted for the Libris Literature Prize, The Golden Book Owl and the Davidsfonds History Prize. The book will be translated into at least twenty languages, of which the English translation was selected by The New York Times as one of the 10 best books of 2016. Stefan received the prestigious E. du Perron Prize for his latest novel, The Convert (2016), in April.



Recent titles – English material

Verschuivingen (Shifts), 2022

De opgang (The Ascent), 2020

Antigone in Molenbeek, 2017

De bekeerlinge (The Convert), 2016

Oorlog en terpentijn (War and Turpentine), 2013

Press on The Ascent:

The Ascent can be read as the life story of a collaborator. A masterful storyteller, Hertmans sketches in an assured style what is first and foremost a fascinating family portrait. – De Tijd

Hertmans is at times the cool chronicler, then at others the savvy novelist who etches events onto our retinas with a nonchalant bravura, a skilled storyteller who knows nearly every trick of the trade. – De Morgen

The Ascent is a brilliant docudrama from the craftsman who previously managed to fuse fact, fiction and autobiography into gold in War and Turpentine and The Convert. – Humo

Press on The Convert:

The Convert' is a crucial book that will stir hearts and minds. […] Once again a testament to his outstanding authorship. **** – de Standaard

From out of a small history Hertmans spins an immense story with impressive imagination…[he] evokes the era as a snickering character hiding from just us around the corner. **** - de Volkskrant

The Convert' is a portrait of an iron-willed woman. Hertmans has created a heroine for the ages. ***** - Knack

The book is terrifyingly current. The intolerance, the religious fanaticism, the search for identity, the refugee issue. One thousand years on and it seems as though barely anything has changed. – de Tijd

Press on War and Turpentine:

The novel is wonderful, full of astonishingly vivid moments of powerful imagery. (…) There are moving moments of mysterious beauty. (…) Hertmans brilliantly captures the intractable reality of a complex man.’ ‘ War and Turpentine has a quietly resonant personal epic quality that dwarfs all around it. – **** Sunday Times

Not since reading W.G. Sebald’s “The Rings of Saturn” have I been so taken with a demonstration of the storytelling confluence of fiction and nonfiction. I say “confluence” because Stefan Hertmans, like Sebald, is interested in the places where narrative authority, invention and speculation flow together…a masterly book about memory, art, love and war…In a world of novels with overdetermined, linear plotlines – their chapters like so many boxcars on a freight train – War and Turpentine delivers a blast of narrative fresh air. – Dominic Smith, New York Times

A book that seems to be aching to be called “Sebaldian” and earns the epithet glowlingly. War and Turpentine has all the markings of a future classic. – The Guardian

Rarely has a more moving and sensitive bridge been built between two different eras. – Süddeutsche Zeitung

A European masterpiece of a calibre you no longer thought possible. – Author Jens Christian Grøndahl

It’s a masterpiece. **** – Humo

‘The perceptive Hertmans has given voice not only to his grandfather but to an entire generation.’ **** – de Volkskrant

War and Turpentine is a masterfully written account of a dramatic life, a piece of Ghent family history and a beautiful tribute to Hertmans’ grandfather, who remained mysterious for so long. It’s also probably the best of the books that will be published over the coming five years about the generation of the Great War. – De Tijd

With War and Turpentine Stefan Hertmans has written one of the most moving books of the year. ***** – De Standaard