Annejet van der Zijl

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Annejet van der Zijl
Annejet van der Zijl 2008 by Anja van Wijgerden.jpg
Annejet van der Zijl
Born Annajetske van der Zijl
(1962-04-06) April 6, 1962 (age 55)
Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Occupation Novelist
Nationality Dutch
Notable works Sonny Boy

Annejet van der Zijl is a Dutch writer. Born in 1962, she studied mass communication at the UVA in Amsterdam and did a MA International Journalism at City University in London. She worked in magazine journalism until 2000, meanwhile publishing her first book Jagtlust, about a ramshackle villa that in the sixties was a meeting place for many artists and poets. Annejet van der Zijl lives in Amsterdam with her husband, a journalist.


Jagtlust was followed by Anna (2002), the widely praised biography of the legendary Dutch children’s writer Annie M.G. Schmidt. This book was adapted into a TV mini-series called Annie M.G., directed by Dana Nechushtan.

2004 saw the appearance of Sonny Boy, a reconstruction of the forbidden love between a Surinamese student and a married Dutch woman against the backdrop of the 1930s and the Second World War. Based on a true story, the book became immensely popular, selling over half a million copies in the Netherlands alone. Also, it was published in six other countries. The film version, which was directed by Dutch filmmaker Maria Peters and premiered in January 2011,[1] will be the opening film of the Stony Brook Film Festival in New York in July 2011.[2]

Van der Zijl's fourth book, Bernhard – a hidden history, appeared in March 2010. With this detailed reconstruction of the unknown German background of the Dutch Queens’ father, she obtained a doctorate in History at the University of Amsterdam. Like its predecessors, this book was nominated for several historical and literary awards. In March 2011. Bernhard got the M.J. Brusse Award for the Best Journalism Book 2011. In 2014 she published Gerard Heineken, a biography of Gerard Heineken, founder of the Heineken beer company.

In her latest book, Van der Zijl traces the life story of Allene Tew, an American woman who made her way into European aristocracy in the 1930s. De Amerikaanse prinses ('The American Princess') was published in November 2015. The book was highly praised and became a huge bestseller in The Netherlands. It is number 1 on the Dutch bestseller list for already six weeks.[3] An English and a German translation will follow in 2017.


  1. ^ Beekman, Bor (20 January 2011). "Finesse ontbreekt in verfilming 'Sonny Boy'". De Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Sonny Boy". Stony Brook Film Festival. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  3. ^

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