I was born in 1984 and live in Antwerp, a Dutch-speaking city in Belgium.
Even before I could write, I invented stories. I taped these stories on cassettes because I wanted to keep them, but was afraid my head would explode if I’d try to remember them. When I finally went to primary school and learned reading and writing, a wonderful world of books opened.
At age fifteen, I wrote my first book, which was published one year later. It’s about two German child soldiers at the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944. I was fascinated by history and decided to study it at university. After my master’s degree, I got my Phd in History at the University of Antwerp.
I’m currently working for ‘Geheugen Collectief’, a historical research center.
My interest in history not only showed in my education. Most of my books are historical novels. I love to bring history back to live and to explore the lives of these forgotten men and women.
Both in Belgium, the Netherlands and abroad, my books are higly acclaimed. Many of them have been nominated for and have won important literary awards, national as well as international. The War Within These Walls (the US version of De kleuren van het getto), for example, has won the National Jewish Book Award, the Syndey Taylor Honor Award and the Batchelder Honor Award in 2014. It was named as one of the best books of 2013 by Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Review, two important literary magazines in the US.
My work has been translated into Arabic, Danish, English, French, German, Korean, Spanish and Swedish.
In 2017 I was selected one of the 39 best young European writers for children.
I’m not only intrigued by history. Languages fascinate me as well. Therefore I got a degree in Translating (German and English) and I translate novels from English or German into Dutch.