Marjolijn Hof [ The Netherlands ]
Marjolijn Hof, born in 1956 in Amsterdam, had already as a child developed a great affinity for the visual arts, literature and languages in general. Already during her time at school, she began writing short stories, revealing an imaginative way of tackling her surroundings in drawings, plays, poems and short fiction. Following her studies in Library Science, first in The Hague and later in Amsterdam, she worked for many years as a librarian before becoming a writer in 1999, fulfilling her dream of publishing her own children's books.
In her first book for ten and up, »Een kleine kans« (2006, Engl. »Against the Odds«, 2009), Marjolijn Hof displays a remarkable grasp of children's basic emotional situations in her depiction of her protagonist Kiki's argumentative logic. The fact that Kiki's father, a doctor, must constantly travel to crisis regions all over the world forces his daughter to deal with these uncertain phases and her concern for his safety. The situation leads her to develop her own theory as to what extent the combination of the probabilities of specific events can secure his return. Despite the seriousness of the theme, Marjolijn Hof allows herself and the reader a humorous perspective on events. The story thereby has a multi-faceted approach to its themes of the fear of death and of losing a loved one. »She tells her story with admirable believability from the perspective of her little heroine, and succeeds in producing an extraordinarily dense literary gem, which derives its power and its charm especially from the inimitable dialogues«, wrote Elisabeth Menzel in the »Zeit«.
In »Moeder nummer nul« (2008, Engl. »Mother Number Zero«, 2009), the author again displays her ability to convincingly write about dealing with emotions and desires from a child's perspective. Hof successfully links the central theme of adoption to descriptions of the daily life of a child conflicted by its desire for emotional closeness, the wish for privacy and the search for individual identity.
Marjolijn Hof has won many prizes for her children's books, including the Gouden Griffel children's and youth fiction prizes, the Young Readers' Gouden-Uil-Prize as well as a nomination for the German Youth Literature Prize in 2009.
Marjolijn Hof lives with her family near Amsterdam.