About Annet Huizing
When I was growing up, I had absolutely no idea of what I wanted to be. After graduating from secondary school I went on to study psychology, which I didn’t finish. For several years I worked as a cook in a children’s home. Then I took up another study, was a research worker and did some odd job as a project officer. It was here where I discovered my writing skills.
In 1997 (at the age of 37) I started work as copywriter. ‘Yes, this is it!’ I thought. I was now interviewing gardeners and revising other peoples work. I wrote articles about child abuse and prepared annual reports for a psychiatric institution. I was also the Editor in Chief for an exclusive magazine on houseboats. (Did I mention I live on a houseboat in Utrecht?)
It is many copywriters’ dream to one day write a book of their own; but it wasn’t my dream. Why did I start writing a children’s novel, you might ask? Well, I thought I had a pretty unique idea and I wanted to see if I had it in me to write a novel. I challenged my skills to see if I could create a story with characters and storylines.
So, I got to work! I read ten books on fictional writing, spent many hours at my desk (and even more hours cycling & thinking) and asked a friend for some editorial advice. In August 2013 I sent my manuscript to Lemniscaat Publishers in Rotterdam. In 2014, ‘How I accidentally wrote a book’ was published. In June 2015, my novel was prized the Zilveren Griffel (Silver Pencil) award.
‘Well, shall I become a writer now?’ I asked a friend.
To which she replied: ‘Annet, you already are!’
1960 born in Geldrop (near Eindhoven) | 1978 study psychology in Utrecht | 1997 start work as copywriter | 2004 Het BomenBloemenBeestenbuitenboek | 2014 Hoe ik per ongeluk een boek schreef (How I Accidentally Wrote a Book), Lemniscaat | 2015 Zilveren Griffel (Silver Slate Pencil award) | 2017 Golden Pear for the Slovenian translation of Hoe ik per ongeluk een boek schreef | 2017 De zweetvoetenman (The Sweaty-Feet Man), Lemniscaat | 2018 Nomination Woutertje Pieterseprijs for De zweetvoetenman
About How I Accidentally Wrote a Book (2014)
When 13-year-old Katinka tells people that her mum’s been dead for ten years, they get tears in their eyes, or put their arms around her. “What I don’t get is that other people don’t get that I’m completely used to it,” she says. But is that really true?
Then her dad meets a new girlfriend, Dirkje, it turns out that Katinka has hidden her grief away inside. Even though she doesn’t notice it herself, it comes bubbling up in the stories she writes for her neighbour Lidwien, a famous novelist who’s suffering from writer’s block and is now giving writing lessons to Katinka.
Huizing has created not only a powerful children’s book about overcoming grief, but also an inspiring course in how to write. In every chapter, a section printed in blue features the writing tips that Lidwien gives Katinka. She teaches her about rules such as “show, don’t tell” and “kill your darlings”, about incorporating your senses in your writing and about all the little details that make a story believable. These writing lessons show readers the possibilities of language, while revealing to Katinka the changes at home and in herself.
Suddenly Katinka starts to see her dad and Dirkje as characters in a book, subtly describing their behaviour and appearance. All the indications are that Dirkje is nice and kind. “She’s soft. You can kind of sink into her.” And, “She’s always touching you (…) perhaps it’s because she’s a physiotherapist and she spends all day pummelling people.”
But when a waiter thinks Dirkje is Katinka’s mother, something snaps and she yells, “She’s not my mum!” Lidwien then gives her a writing exercise that involves trying to get inside Dirkje’s head.
The tone is down to earth, often amusing, and poignant at the right moments. The part where Katinka sees her mother in an old video recording is really heart-breaking. “Touching your reader’s heart isn’t some kind of trick,” says Lidwien. And she’s right.
Dutch Foundation of Literature: ‘A sparkling debut about the grieving process and a writing course – all in one!’
Trouw: ‘The educational sections could easily have got in the way of the real story, but Huizing succeeds in combining everything in meaningfully.’
Kidsweek: ‘A story that’s both appealing and amusing.’
Translations of How I Accidentally Wrote a Book
Kako sem po nesreči napisala knjigo (Založba Zala, 2016)
Translated by Mateja Seliškar Kenda
Comment j’ai écrit un roman sans m’en rendre compte (Syros, 2016)
Translated by Myriam Bouzid
어느날작가가되었습니다 (Totobooks, 2017)
Translated by 전은경
Come ho scritto un libro per caso (La Nuova Frontiera, 2018)
Translated by Anna Patrucco Becchi
In preparation: Turkish, Russian, Turkish, Taiwanese and Vietnamese translations.
Nominations and awards for How I Accidentally Wrote a Book
- Zilveren Griffel (Silver Slate Pencil) 2015 (CPNB)
- Selection Children’s Books from Holland 2015 Dutch Foundation of Literature
- Nomination Vlaamse Kinder- en Jeugdjury 2015-2016 (10-12 jaar)
- Deutschlandfunk-Bestenliste september 2016
- Selection for Les Incorruptibles France (2016)
- Zlata Hruška (Golden Pear) 2017 Slovenian translation
About The Sweaty-Feet Man (2017)
Who would have thought the law could be so varied, funny and interesting? In a book full of exciting stories for children and adults, Annet Huizing, along with illustrator Margot Westermann, brings the rule of law to life. From rapper Typhoon, pulled over because he was driving an expensive car, to the unjust conviction of Lucia de B. and the man who shouted ‘f*ck the king!’, to whether young sailor Laura should be allowed to cross the ocean alone: based on famous and less famous cases the reader discovers how the law works, what happens in court, how laws are made and how difficult it is to judge, because every case had so many sides to it.
Does a dog have a right to a say? Cab you steal back your own bike? When are you allowed to clout someone? Why are there rules about chocolate sprinkles? Countless questions are touched upon, whether to make you burst out laughing, to amaze you or to make you think.
The stories are accompanied by cartoon-style drawings and lively infographics about, for example, what goes on in a courtroom, the difference between murder and manslaughter, and the role of the Supreme Court.
A book that shows that the law is everywhere, and belongs to everyone.