Kris Van Steenberge

(1963) is an author, playwrighter, director and lecturer. Stories of the Great War told by his at one time live-in grandfather spawned his debut novel Woesten.
Winner of the Bronzen Uil Debute Prize 2014, the Bronzen Uil Publieksprijs 2014 and the Vlaamse Debuutprijs 2014.

  • 25,000 copies sold
  • Sold to Germany (Klett-Cotta), Spain (Quaderns Crema), South-Africa (Protea) - English sample of the first 50 pages and German sample of the first chapter available.
  • Film and tv-rights sold (Cri de Coeur)
  • Audio Book (HKM & Rubinstein, Amsterdam)
  • Theatre Tour

Foto: Johan Jacobs

About Woesten: 
‘Heart-warming. A strong debut. Enlightening. Cleverly done.’ — De Standaard 

‘It is not ink in Van Steenberge’s pen, it’s gunpowder. Enchantingly beautiful. Wonderful.’ — Boekhandelspanel DWDD

‘Almost Beckettian beauty.’ —  Knack Focus

Woesten recounts a suffocating story full of village gossip about a family in which fate strikes with a heavy hand, leaving no-one unscathed.
The nineteenth century is coming to its end. Elisabeth, daughter of the smith in Woesten – a tiny village near Ypres – marries young doctor Guillaume Duponselle. It is not a happy marriage. When Elisabeth gives birth to twins eight months later, the firstborn turns out to be a beautiful son, Valentijn. The second child is so deformed that Guillaume refuses to give him a name. Nameless survives nevertheless. His appearance makes his father and the villagers recoil, so Nameless wanders around veiled. Then World War I breaks out. The future no longer looks the same for anyone.

Woesten tells its compelling tale from alternating perspectives of protagonists Elisabeth, Guillaume, Nameless and Valentijn. It portrays a realistic, almost naturalistic image of a typical rural village in the early 20th century and offers a nuanced view of the psychology of intriguing characters. The story of Elisabeth and her family is set in the lead-up to World War I, but the war constantly remains in the background, like a black backdrop for an even darker play.

Klett Cotta Herbst 2016