Anne Provoost

Provoost, Anne

Anne Provoost was born in Belgium in 1964 and studied literature at the University of Leuven (Louvain). She writes in Dutch. Her first novel, My Aunt is a Pilot Whale (1991), was written whilst living in Minneapolis, USA. It was awarded the Book Lion and the Interprovincial Prize in 1991 - two main Belgian Awards. The novel was translated into Danish, English, German, Norwegian, Portuguese, Polish and Swedish. It was the first book on sexual child abuse for a young audience produced in the Low Countries.

Her second novel, Falling (1994) deals extensivley with the pitfalls and allurements of extreme right-wing rhetoric. The book received five major awards in Belgium and the Netherlands. It was translated into English by John Nieuwenhuizen in 1997, and was made into an English spoken feature film that came out in the autumn of 2001, starring Jill Clayburgh and Alice Krige. It has been translated into numerous languages and was selected for the honor list of IBBY, and in December 2000, received the Lavki Award.

In 1997 Provoost retold the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast in The Rose and the Swine, transforming the familiar story into a saga of guilt and penance, mercy and justice. This book was again selected for the honor list of IBBY. It received the two main awards for literature in the Low Countries: The Golden Kiss in the Netherlands and the Book Lion in Belgium. It was translated into Danish, Swedish, German, Polish and Norwegian. It received the Luchs-award of Die Zeit in Germany and the Award of Young Readers in Austria (May 2001).

Provoost received the Nordrhein-Westfalen Award in Germany in recognition of her work as a writer in 2000.

She again retells a familiar story in De arkvaarders (2001, The Shadow of the Ark). It recounts the experiences of Noah and the ark, seen from the perspective of a young woman who was not 'chosen' to be on the ship. Widely translated, it was longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, 2006.

Provoost also writes essays on literature in general and on literature for children. The Child as Antagonist conveys her thinking about literature for the young. In February 2008 her essay on atheism, Beloved Unbelievers. Atheist Sermon was published.

Her latest book, Looking into the Sun is the story of a girl living on a farm in Australia. The novel received the Woman & Culture Award in The Netherlands in 2008 and the triannual Culture Award of Flanders, 2009.

Provoost was elected a member of The Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature in 2003. She is an ambassador for Hans Christian Andersen 2005 and is a member of PEN. In June 2007, she was a candidate for the Senate for the Green Party Groen!. 

Anne Provoost lives in Antwerp, Belgium, with her husband and three children. She is currently working on a new novel on the arrival the first Huguenots in 17th century South Africa.