Hanna Bervoets (1984, Amsterdam) is one of the most acclaimed Dutch authors of her generation. After earning her Bachelors degree in Cultural Studies and a Masters in Journalism & Research she published seven novels, several screenplays, plays, short stories and essays.
Bervoets received numerous nominations and awards for her work. In 2017 she was granted the prestigious Frans Kellendonk Prize for her entire body of works. Her novels were translated in English, German, French and Turkish, and adapted for film and television. Excerpts and short stories were published on international platforms such as Five Dials and The Guardian.
In the spring of 2018 Bervoets was a resident at Writers Omi at Ledig House, New York, where she worked on her latest novel, Welcome to the Kingdom of the ill: an adventure story on chronic illness. Welcome to the Kingdom of the ill became an instant bestseller when it was published in 2019.
Hanna Bervoets works and lives in Amsterdam, with her girlfriend and two guinea pigs.
Download full English press package (bibliography, honors and reviews).
After her award-winning debut Or How Why (2009) Bervoets wrote six novels, that often combine literary narratives with science fiction tropes and fantasy themes. Dutch critics sometimes refer to Bervoets’ work as ‘lab literature’ - because her stories often have an academic setting, but also because they explore human behavior in more or less artificial circumstances.
Bervoets third novel Everything there was (2013) is an apocalypse tale with a philosophical undertone: how do we define ourselves when the world as we know it gets destroyed? Efter (2015) is set in a near future in which our thinking about mental health has so radically changed that society has come to believe that being in love is a mental disorder, that can en should be treated in special clinics. ‘Love rehab’ is a common retreat for the rich, and Big Pharma is working on a new medicine to go with it: ‘Efter’
Ivanov (2016) refers to the true story of Russian scientist Ilya Ivanov, who tried to cross-breed humans with apes in the 1920’s. The novel, however, is set in 90s New York, during the AIDS epidemic. In this modern day Frankenstein tale female scienist Helena Frank tries to repeat Ivanovs experiments in order to find a cure for HIV – but when things get out of hand, ethical questions are put aside.
In Fuzzie (2017) Bervoets explores the mechanisms behind our need for affection. Four lonely people each encounter a fluffy little ball, Fuzzie, that talks to them, soothes them, lets them pet him - or is Fuzzie female? Can a fluffy little ball really be a substitute for love, and if so, what does that tell us?
One of the recurring themes in Bervoets work is the way scientific change and new technologies reshape human relationships and behaviour. But her novels also focus on our thinking about society: who or what decides what is ‘normal’?
In her latest theater play CarryMe (2018) Bervoets explores the implications of our gig economy; CarryMe is set in a near future where couples can hire a surrogate mom through an app. Young, mostly low educated woman end up in the homes of the rich to carry their children: does that stimulate inequality or is it empowering for all women involved? Like in most of Bervoets’s stories the answer isn’t unequivocal.
‘Bervoets stretches the boundaries of literature.’ – De Groene Amsterdammer
‘She’s a writer who in a short time has built up a very idiosyncratic body of work, composed of science fiction-like novels of ideas, which are most welcome in our literary landscape. The pleasure of her novels lies primarily in their always surprising, sharp observations, as well as the irresistible narratives skill.’ – Trouw
‘Bervoets combines speed, suspense, and cunning plot twists with introspection and abstract ideas. At times philosophical, at other times psychological, and sometimes both. Taken together, it makes for quite a unique body of work. Novels suitable for a wide audience, yet also for hardboiled literary snobs. Or, to borrow a film comparison: Bervoets’ novels are suited for both the art-house connoisseur and the popcorn guzzler who just wants to be entertained for an hour and a half.’ – HP/De Tijd
‘With Hanna Bervoets speaks a writer that always accurately formulates, constructs limberly, is full of imagination and never becomes roaming or explicit.’ – Jury Frans Kellendonk Award