Dimitri Verhulst comes from a broken home and spent his childhood in foster homes and institutes. As a writer, he made his debut in 1999 with a collection of stories about his youth, De kamer hiernaast (in English: The Room Next Door). The novels Niets, niemand en redelijk stil (English: Nothing, Nobody, and Reasonably Quiet) (2000) and De verveling van de keeper (English: The Boredom of the Goalkeeper) (2002) cover the same topic. In 2001, Dimitri Verhulst published Liefde, tenzij anders vermeld (English: Love, Unless Otherwise Stated), a collection of poetry.
His breakthrough to the general public was in 2003, with Problemski Hotel (translated as Problemski Hotel), about residents of an asylum-seekers’ centre in Arendonk (Belgium). In 2006 his novel De helaasheid der dingen (translated as The Misfortunates) was published, and also the novella Mevrouw Verona daalt de heuvel af (translated as Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill). In 2008 Godverdomse dagen op een godverdomse bol (E: Goddamn Days on a Goddamn Globe) was published, for which Verhulst won the 2009 Libris Prize.