Marian De Smet
The Belgian children’s and young adult author Marian De Smet was born in 1976 in Mechelen. She studied art in Hasselt and then completed her training to become an educator in Heverlee. She started writing after the birth of her first child. Her work as an educator has also provided inspiration for her picture books for toddlers and children.
Marian De Smet made her debut in 2001 with the book »Op slot« (Eng. »Anna’s Tight Squeeze«, 2003) about a little girl who gets locked in the library toilet with a stack of books. After releasing a number of other picture books, De Smet released her first young adult novel »De woorden van zijn vingers« (tr: The Words in his Fingers) in 2008. The story follows the relationship between a girl and a deaf boy and won first prize in 2010 from the Kinder en Jeugdjury Vlaanderen. De Smet’s young adult novels are characterized by short, colloquial dialogue and focus mostly on strong characters that have to prove themselves in difficult situations. In her 2011 thriller about fear, loneliness, and friendship, »Geen bereik« (tr: No Reception), two eighteen-year-old friends, Leo and David, go camping in the French Alps. While Leo loves the mountains and wants to hike as far as possible, David gets tired of climbing rather quickly. Leo eventually sets out alone on the mountain, gets lost, and falls into a cave in which his cell phone has no reception. He is discovered by Nanou, a shy girl who lives with her mother on the mountain side and who Leo finds strange. She cares for his wounds and brings him food, but does not get help. Over time, however, Leo and Nanou get so close that they realize that they need each other. The novel »Rotmoevie« (2012; Eng. »French summer: a fucking great road trip«, 2016), for young people ages twelve and up, won the Dutch youth literature prize Gouden Lijst. The story tells not only of an odd couple’s road trip across France, but also of how they both want to use the road trip as a way to run away from their problems and feelings: »A touching summer story about friendship, love and death« (Deutschlandfunk). In her latest book »De jongen die niet gaat verhuizen« (2016; tr: Henrik does not move), written for children aged seven and up, the protagonist Hendrik pushes back at his family’s plan to move because he wants to continue living close to his best friend Berkan. The two friends pack a suitcase and take off. On the way, they save a dog and experience many small adventures in a big city. De Smet’s child-friendly book focuses on the importance of home and the experience of being on your own.
The author lives in Tongeren.