Authors / Tommy Wieringa

Tommy Wieringa

Tommy Wieringa

© Gary Doak

Tommy Wieringa (b. 1967) is the author of the best-selling novels Joe Speedboat (F. Bordewijk Award), Little Ceasar (shortlist International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), These Are the Names (Libris Literature Award),  The Death of Murat Idrissi (nominated for the Man Booker International prize), and The Holy Rita (Bookspot Literature Prize; Critics and Readers’ Awards). His work is praised worldwide, and is translated in over twenty countries.

* An extended biography is listed
at the bottom of this page *


Recent titles – English material:

Gedachten over onze tijd (Thoughts on Our Time), 2021

Totdat het voorbij is (Until it’s Passed), short stories, 2019

De heilige Rita (The Blessed Rita), novel, 2017

De dood van Murat Idrissi (The Death of Murat Idrissi), novel, 2017



Press on The Holy Rita:

‘The masterful The Blessed Rita is at once both The Great Novel of the Twente-region and completely European. (...) The Blessed Rita tells the story of a shrinking life in a shrinking region—but Wieringa’s version of that familiar story feels like the ultimate one. Because: it’s described in flawless bulls-eyes of sentences that are rich in metaphor and symbolism, but which don’t cross over into melodrama. Precisely for that reason, they evoke associations with the style of Wieringa’s literary role model James Salter. (...) Wieringa displays his full abilities as a storyteller and manages them masterfully.’ ***** NRC HANDELSBLAD

‘It is his best book, his masterly hand has developed itself again. The depth is deeper, the views stretch farther. His style approaches perfection, or surpasses it. His use of figurative language is economical. It’s used only when it’s dead-on.’ ***** ALGEMEEN DAGBLAD

‘Tommy Wieringa demonstrates with The Blessed Rita that he belongs in the pantheon of Dutch literature. Amidst all of the desolation, compassion proves to be the dominant tone. (...) Wieringa’s personal involvement can be felt in everything. Being familiar with the landscapes, the colours and the light, he brings the region stirringly to life. (...) With an equally masterful precision he describes the leaden grey lives of his characters. In a vortex of tragicomic scenes he paints the desolation and the deadlock of life at the edge of the abyss. No one can save these hopeless causes, not even their patron saint Rita. And yet they can count on our sympathy, so convincing is the compassion that Wieringa evokes. (...) More than just the story of a lost man, this is a portrait of a time in which those who can’t keep up, lose out. A lamento for those left behind, and an ode to two clumsy men who despite the disappointment keep taking care of one another.’ DE TIJD

‘In terms of style and imagery, Wieringa’s best book (...) Wieringa’s style in The Blessed Rita is more powerful and concentrated than ever. (...) Though you can hear the writer speaking warily through his characters about the new times, in which the animals have disappeared from the pastures, in which the sick are only interested in their smartphones, it doesn’t wallow in nostalgia. The Blessed Rita is an ode to the Twente region, but above all it is a funny and moving plea for compassion. Compassion for those who are rooted and no longer able to move in a rapidly developing world – the hopeless causes.’ TROUW

‘This novel full of autobiographic humus sizzles with ambition. (...) In The Blessed Rita, Wieringa quietly revels in scenes struck sweetly with an exuberance of colour, deposited with careless writer’s joy and grimly comedic tones. He writes like a fearless showboat in a bar, tethering his listeners to his every word. (...) From these miniscule, damaged lives, Tommy extracts a very sensual book, drunk with language and written with a stylistic precision you will envy.’ **** DE MORGEN/DE VOLKSKRANT

Press on These Are the Names:

It is superb. It has won the Libris Prize in the Netherlands and, were it eligible, could really shake up the Man Booker. … This is a bravura performance. Far closer to Joseph Conrad than one might expect, it makes a case for the saving power of small continuities. – IRISH TIMES

Highly intelligent. Wieringa will make you think and keep you reading eagerly to the final page. – TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

An intense, tough novel that manages to communicate the great effort required for all migrations. – IL CORRIERE DELLA SERA

Press on A Beautiful Young Wife:

Wieringa’s masterful depiction of a faltering marriage ***** – DE VOLKSKRANT

A magician at work. ***** – DE MORGEN

With his lyrical, sober dialogue and restrained ambience, all created with well-chosen, evocative words, the author carefully doses out the drama, and the cruelty always comes as an unexpected blow. **** – IL CORRIERE DELLA SERA

Extended Biography

Tommy Wieringa (1967) wrote, amongst others, the novels Alles over Tristan (Halewijn award, 2002) and his breakthrough title Joe Speedboat (F. Bordewijk award, 2006), which introduced him to a large audience. His travelogues were published under the title I never was in Isfahan (2006). In 2007 followed The Dynamics of Desire, an engaging investigation into the origin of desire and the large role of pornography in the modern world. His essays and op-eds appeared in major Dutch newspapers de Volkskrant and NRC Handelsblad. Wieringa’s work has been translated worldwide. In May 2009, Little Ceasar was published, and it was nominated for the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2013. Le Figaro wrote, “the only ones who succeeded in reaching the holy grail of writing a ‘total novel’ are W.G. Sebald with Austerlitz, J.M. Coetzee with Disgrace and Philip Roth with Everyman. We could add the name of Tommy Wieringa to that list.” Publisher’s Weekly gave Little Ceasar a starred review. In 2012 These Are the Names came out, which received the Libris Literature Award, one of the two most prestigious literary awards in the Netherlands, as well as a distinguished readers’ award: de Gouden Boekenuil. The Times Literary Supplement found These are the Names to be “highly intelligent. Tommy Wieringa will make you think and keep you reading eagerly to the final page.” The Guardian lauded the novel and considered it a “timeless tale of migration”.

In 2014 Tommy Wieringa was asked to write a short work of fiction for the annual Dutch Books Week, an honor bestowed upon one author yearly. Reviewing this novel, titled A beautiful young wife, The Guardian claimed Wieringa to possess “absolute narrative authority,” adding that “you know you’re in the presence of properly great fiction writing when you forget to question a single word of it”, continuing by noting the novel is “a wonderfully disconcerting piece of work which, on a second and even a third reading, only seems to grow more expansive and multifaceted while managing at the same time to remain mysterious and tightly furled.”

In 2015 a new collection of travelogues, Honorary Cossack, was published. After These are the Names, Wieringa wrote another migrant history with The death of Murat Idrissi (spring 2017; nominated for the Man Booker  International Prize in 2019), which The Guardian considered to be a “heartstopping novella” that “unfolds like a movie”, calling it “brilliantly well paced and edgy.” Later that year, his novel The Holy Rita, about a father and son and modern times in a traditional border town, was published to critical and unanimous acclaim. In 2018, Wieringa started writing columns for NRC Handelsblad. Later that year The Holy Rita received the renowned Dutch literary award the Bookspot Literature Prize; on top of his game, Wieringa took home both the Critics and the Readers award.”