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Herman Koch

Herman Koch - foto Mark Kohn
Herman Koch - foto Mark Kohn

(Arnhem, NL 1953) had his international breakthrough with The Dinner, a novel that spent weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has been published in 37 countries, and has been adapted for stage and screen. The dark story of boys from a good family who murder a drifter mainly addresses the question of how responsible parents are for the misdeeds of their children. Adolescent behaviour was also the theme of Koch's debut novel, Red ons, Maria Montanelli (Save Us, Maria Montanelli, 1989). In Zomerhuis met zwembad (Summer Cottage with Pool, 2011), he again showed how easily successful people can fall from grace. His characters inevitably say or do unexpected things, which is also the case in his short-story collection Korte geschiedenis van het bedrog (A Short History of Deception, 2013). In his latest novel, Geachte heer M. (Dear Mr. M.), he takes aim at Dutch writers. Koch is also a columnist and an actor, as well as the creator of Jiskefet, an absurdist public-television series.


Archive available for: Herman Koch

  • Winternachten 2016 – Friday Night Unlimited

    Mind this book

    In his worldwide hit The Dinner, Herman Koch explores difficult-to-imagine situations; in his recently filmed Kessels stories, P.F. Thomése immerses himself in gut-driven psychology. What attracts these authors to danger? Can writing itself be dangerous? Do they also seek out danger as passionate readers? Which writers do they admire, and why? Can literature be contagious? A playful and personal dialogue.

  • Who's the Bad Guy? - Javier Cercas en Herman Koch

    Who's the Bad Guy? - Javier Cercas and Herman Koch

    With: Herman Koch, Javier Cercas, Maarten Steenmeijer

    The Dutch Herman Koch and the Spanish Javier Cercas are both international bestseller-writers with a fascination for criminal youngsters. The adults surrounding them - teachers, parents, police officers - cannot be trusted. Nor can the writers that are playing a part in the novels. Which moral issues dit Koch en Cercas investigate while writing their novels? Who do they think are the real 'bad guys'? An interview by Maarten Steenmeijer. In English.

    Herman Koch (Arnhem, NL 1953) had his international breakthrough with the novel The Dinner which has sold more than 550,000 copies. The novel has been translated into seventeen languages, and has been adapted for the stage and the screen. The story, about a boy from a well-to-do-background who mistreasts a female vagrant, is first and foremost about the extent to which parents are responsible for the wrong-doings of their own children. The behaviour of children withdrawing from parental authority was also the main theme of his novel debut Save Us, Maria Montanelli (1989).

    Javier Cercas writes short stories and novels. His Soldiers of Salamis was a huge succes worldwide and received various literary prizes. In november 2014 komt his new novel Outlaws will be published in Dutch translation at De Geus publishers. It is a story about a youth gang, a police officer and a writer who reconstructs the criminal past.

    Maarten Steenmeijer is a writer and professor of Spanish Language and Literature.

    The programme is in English. Booksigning and -selling at the Paagman bookshop in the venue.
    This evening is organised by Writers Unlimited with the Public Library of The Hague, De Geus Publishers and Ambo|Anthos publishers.

    It is recommended to make a reservation. Use the link on top of the page.Tickets are sold in the venue from 8 pm on the evening itself.

  • Winternachten 2014 – SATURDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    Talking to the writer: Herman Koch

    Join the regulars' table. Host Francis Broekhuijsen welcomes writer Herman Koch. We listen to his favourite music, and talk to him. Don't forget to have your books autographed. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2014 – SATURDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    The Text of my Life: Herman Koch

    Which texts from world literature has Dutch writer Herman Koch cherished as long as he lives? This most beautiful or most inspiring text can be a poem, an excerpt from a novel or a song-text. He discusses the text with the audience. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2014 – SATURDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    Buy me!

    The writer increasingly becomes a brand name with an ever growing media circus surrounding book presentations. The anonymous author has stopped selling. 'Buy me!' the eyes of many a writer at many a talkshow table seem to be screaming. The show has become more important than content. How do you set foot in the land of literature? How pernicious is commercialisation for literature? High time to unravel the new realities of literature with Anne Provoost and P. F. Thomése. Nadia Bouras hosts. Herman Koch opens with a column. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2014 – SATURDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    Writers and film: Herman Koch

    The film The Dinner, based on the international bestseller The Dinner had its premiere recently. Elsbeth Etty talks to writer Herman Koch who shows his choice of film fragments about bad characters who succeed in gaining our sympathy. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2009 – Winternachten vrijdagavond

    Wintercafé 1: Herman Koch

    The newly introduced Wintercafé, was a succes. A place at the festival where there was ample space for readings and short, informal interviews. There was music, you could have a drink and the hosts provided an informal atmosphere. A four-part programme.
    In part 1 Herman Koch got the mood going: especially for the Wintercafé he wrote a Short History of Deceit. In which he gave a historical account of how from infancy he conjured up a fictitious world. Sometimes it is just more fun to lie. And doesn't amount writing to telling lies? Do we want to believe Kochs lies? This programme was realized in cooperation with DeBuren in Brussels, whom includes Kochs story as a 'radiobook' and broadcasts it worldwide. In Dutch.
    Singer, composer and percussionist Victor Sams played the ngoni. The peculiar sound of this old African string instrument, made of gourd, a piece of wood and fishing line, takes you to mysterious heigths. He was accompanied by Nathan Klumperbeek on acoustic bass.

  • Winternachten 2003 – Winternacht 2

    The Undutchables

    Actors/writers Kees van Kooten and Herman Koch discuss old and new clichees on the Dutch, together with our concience from Flanders, writer Geert van Istendael. Moderated by writer Ed van Eeden.