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Herman Koch

Herman Koch was born in Arnhem in 1953 but moved to Amsterdam with his family at the age of two. He has studied Russian and worked for a year on a farm in Finland. He has lived in London and now resides in Spain and Amsterdam.

Koch made his literary debut in 1985 with a collection of stories called ‘De voorbijganger’ (The Passerby) about several misunderstood loners. Four years later he published his first novel ‘Red ons, Maria Montinelli’ (Save Us, Maria Montinelli.) Based on his experience of a Montessori school education in Amsterdam and written in a style reminiscent of J.D. Salinger, the book was a huge success.

Film and television
With director Otakar Votocek, Koch co-wrote the screenplay for the 1990 film ‘Wings of Fame’ which starred Peter O’Toole and Colin Firth. The same year he began appearing on Dutch television in the popular comedy series Jiskefet (Friesian for ‘ashtray’) which ran for fifteen years. Koch continued to publish short stories, novels and collections of columns he wrote for the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant.

Koch’s latest novel ‘Het Diner’ (The Dinner) has remained on Dutch best-seller lists since it was published at the beginning of 2009 and Hollywood producers have expressed interest in the book. The story explores a contemporary moral dilemma about honesty when two couples meet in a restaurant to discuss their children’s involvement in a serious crime. How far will a father go to protect his son? The answer is very far, indeed.




Vlaams Nederlands Huis de Buren Radio Netherlands The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature

This author's Radio Book:

Herman Koch
A Brief History Of Deceit

In his Radiobooks story, Koch continues to explore the complicated boundaries between truth and lies, fact and fiction, reality and the creative imagination.

“…Thus I learnt at the age of five, without being entirely aware of it at the time, the most important lesson a writer sooner or later has to learn: that the truth and a plausible lie go hand in glove, and that a plausible lie is far preferable to an implausible truth.”

‘A Brief History of Deceit’ by Herman Koch was translated by Michael Blass. The story is read by David Swatling.

Produced by Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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