22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Connie Palmen

Portrait Connie Palmen
© Hartwig Klappert

Connie Palmen was born in Sint Odiliënberg in the south of Holland in 1955. After receiving pedagogical training she studied philosophy and Dutch literature in Amsterdam, completing her studies with a thesis on Cees Nooteboom in 1986.

Her first novel, »De Wetten« (1991; Eng. »The Laws«, 1992) – about a young woman who explores the approaches to life of seven different men, including a physicist, priest and artist – received the Gouden Ezelsoor, an award for a best-selling début novel. In her novel »De Vriendshap« (1995; Eng. »The Friendship«, 2000), which won various awards including the AKO Literatuurprijs, Palmen analyses the relationship of dependency between two female friends. Palmen examines the depths of interpersonal relationships to understand how addictive behavior originates and operates, and how authority is used to induce love. In 1998 she published the novel »I.M.«, which tells the story of her intense relationship with Ischa Meijer, her partner, a Dutch journalist and writer who died young: »For the first time in days he isn’t by my side, and I’m alarmed that I’m incapable of doing anything without him in an hour and a half […] and that I’m walk around like want personified.« In 2007 she published a novel titled »Luzifer« (tr: Lucifer), based on a true story – the unexplained death of Marina Schapers, the partner of composer Peter Schat, in July 1981. A couple, Lucas Loos and Clara Wevers, vacations in Greece in a last-ditch attempt to save their broken marriage. Clara gets drunk and plunges over a railing to her death. The author doesn’t make clear whether it was a suicide, murder or an accident, focusing more on how Lucas and the couple’s friends grapple with the news of Clara’s death, and how they mourn their loss. Palmen probes the chasms of the human soul without jumping to conclusions or making value judgments. The author processed the death of her second husband, the journalist and politician Hans von Mierlo, in a literary work published in 2011. In her »Logboek van een onbarmhartig jaar« (tr: Logbook of a merciless year), Palmen describes her mourning and its development in a manner that is both powerful and sensitive, managing »to contextualize her own burden of grief« with what others have written about the anguish of abandonment (»Frankfurter Rundschau«). Her most recent book »Jij zegt het« (2015; tr: So they say), a gripping novel about the most famous couple in modern Western literature, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, was nominated for the 2016 Libris Literatuur Prijs.

The author lives in Amsterdam.