23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Margriet de Moor

Margriet de Moor was born in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, in 1941. She comes from a large Catholic family and grew up with nine siblings – six of them girls. The subject of sisterhood was to become a common theme in her work. She studied piano and voice at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, and was especially interested in the music of avant-garde composers such as Schönberg, Satie and Debussy, among others. She gave solo recitals regularly from 1968 onwards. Ten years later she resumed her studies again, this time in art history and archaeology at the University of Amsterdam. In 1984, de Moor founded an art salon in ‘s-Graveland, near Amsterdam, together with her husband, the sculptor Heppe de Moor, and made films and video portraits of the artists who performed there. One year later she started to write prose, which was characterized from the outset by complex structure and atmospheric density.

»Op de rug gezien« (1998; t: Rear views), de Moor’s first collection of short stories, was awarded the Gouden Ezelsoor for Best Selling Debut. She achieved international recognition with her first novel, »Eerst grijs dan wit dan blauw« (1991; Eng. »First Grey, Then White, Then Blue«, 1994), which has been translated into eleven languages to date. The murder of a young woman who vanished years ago is narrated from the perspectives of three different people. De Moor’s musical preference has always been modern – as is also true of her literary taste, inspired by avant-garde writers such as Beckett, Borges and Ionesco. »In my mind I create musical forms, but never attempt to translate a specific form directly into literature.« Against the backdrop of historical events and periods, her work often hinges on fateful forces that oppose the mankind’s urge to control life. The novel »De schilder en het meisje« (2010; tr. The painter and the girl), set in 17th-century Amsterdam, covers the last weeks in the life of a woman condemned to death, and the thoughts of the artist (who is never referred to by name, but quite clearly Rembrandt van Rijn) who draws her body, strung up on the gallows field and publicly displayed to serve as a deterrent. Her latest novel »Mélodie d’amour« (2014; Eng. »The Kreutzer Sonata«, 2014) connects four very different love stories with each other, reflecting on powerful emotions mostly through what the characters hear—the language of music. Weather conditions play a special role as they »communicate prevailing emotional states. By this sleight-of-hand Margriet de Moor succeeds in portraying the lovers’ psyches without having to explain or analyze them by using standard psychological explanations.« (Ursula März, Deutschlandfunk).

De Moor has been awarded many prizes, including the Lucy B. en C.W. van der Hoogtprijs and the Ako Literature Prize. She lives in Amsterdam.




München, 1995

[Ü: Rotraud Keller]

Erst grau dann weiß dann blau


München/Wien, 1995

[Ü: Heike Baryga]

Der Virtuose


Berlin, 2005

[Ü: Helga van Beuningen]

Der Maler und das Mädchen


München, 2011

[Ü: Helga van Beuningen]

Mélodie d’amour


München, 2014

[Ü: Helga van Beuningen]