Stefan Hertmans / Stefan Hertmans – The Convert

Stefan Hertmans – The Convert

Stefan Hertmans – The Convert

Rights sold:

  • ArtPeople/ People’s Press (Denmark)
  • Text (ANZ)
  • Fraktura (Croatia)
  • Gallimard (France)
  • Hanser Berlin (Germany)
  • Marsilio (Italy)
  • Marginesy (Poland)
  • Norstedts (Sweden)
  • Harvill Secker (United Kingdom)
  • Pantheon (United States/Canada)
  • Beletrina (Slovenia)
  • Perseus (Bulgaria)
  • Helikon Libri (Hungary)


Read our sample translation of The Convert 


About the Book

In a small town in Provence, France, the people have spoken of a pogrom and a hidden chest since time immemorial. At the end of nineteenth century a startling collection of Jewish documents was found in a synagogue in Cairo. It is here that Stefan Hertmans discovers the traces of a distinguished Christian noblewoman of the eleventh century who abandons her life for the love of a Jewish boy. He follows in the footsteps of this woman as she flees with her forbidden love and undertakes a dizzying journey full of hardships, hunted by everyone and everything. Hertmans based the story of The Convert on historical facts, including a letter of recommendation written by a rabbi on parchment, and he brings the Middle Ages to life with immense imagination and stylistic ingenuity. It is a story that draws him into a chaotic world of passion, hate, love and death, and one that in the end carries him from Cairo back to the small village in Provence where he has made his home for decades.



Stefan Hertmans mixes human, subtle and stunning erudition and historical fact with his quest for a tragic woman in the eleventh century. – Het belang van Limburg

The Convert is an intense contest of contrasts, between a writer’s dogged search and the desolate time he evokes. - Trouw

Hertmans provides a vivid and, through his use of detail, almost tangible picture of this turbulent period. There is a wonderful amount of research in this novel. – Friesch Dagblad

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

Even better than the masterpiece War and Turpentine. A novel that shimmers in its timeliness […] The confirmation of a marvellous talent. –Humo

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

And in that way The Convert touches on questions about the importance of stories, of religion and literature—as art must. This writer has much to tell. – NRC Handelsblad

The Convert is completely different from War and Turpentine, and it is only superb. – de Morgen

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


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.

© Michiel Hendryckx

Additional book information

  • Novel
  • ISBN 9789403109800
  • Number of pages: 320
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: € 15
  • English sample available