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|Born||Paarl, South Africa|
|Pen name||Leo Bekker|
|Occupation||Author, Playwright, Composer, Copywriter, Film reviewer|
François Bloemhof is a South African author, playwright, composer, copywriter and film reviewer. He writes mostly in Afrikaans and has won a number of prizes for his work.
François Bloemhof was born in the town of Paarl in the Cape Province, South Africa. His writing career was activated in grade 9 when his English teacher awarded him 97% for a short story. Since then he has become the only author in the world to write so extensively and successfully for the adult, teenage and youth markets.
He didn’t attempt writing a novel until some years after leaving school, chiefly because he believed there was no room for “his type of story” in what was a rather conservative Afrikaans market. When he did write it, his vision was fully formed, titled Die nag het net een oog, a Gothic novel set in a small (and totally un-Gothic) rural community. For this in 1991 he won the coveted De Kat prize, at that time the country’s most prestigious literary award.
Many books for adults have followed, as have many awards and nominations. This prolific writer’s adult work explores thriller, supernatural and more conventional dramatic themes. He is also credited with creating a secret agent (Rooi Luiperd) series as well as one starring a female detective, Alma van der Pool, both being the first of their kind in the Afrikaans publishing field. To date he has also written a cabaret as well as award-winning stage plays, radio dramas and serials.
Because teenagers took a liking to his adult work, he started writing especially for them with the controversial Slinger-slinger, 1997 prize-winner in the Tafelberg/Sanlam Youth Novel Competition, in which the manuscripts are judged anonymously. More teenage novels also garnered prizes – though the author says the greatest prize is just getting your work read.
A “scary story” series for young readers, Rillers (translated in English as Chillers), comprises eight titles. These were regular winners in the annual ATKV-Veertjie Competition, in which there is no academic panel but a hundred readers of the relevant age evaluate the books. The author considers this kind of competition “the most official of recognitions”.
François Bloemhof still is the first Afrikaans author to publish a comic strip series, the highly successful Agent Snoet books in which a hapless secret agent is aided by his faithful yet domineering Siamese cat, Felino.
World-firsts by this author were an interactive newspaper serial (in Rapport); a youth novel with its own PC game; a Flipom which is a two-in-one book with two covers that can be read first from either side, both stories (one in a horror vein, the other with a sci-fi slant) having the same characters; and a novel that includes an author-composed soundtrack CD performed by renowned South African musicians and singers.
All in all, the author has now published more than 60 books. He likes to misquote Alfred Hitchcock by summing up his writing as follows: “Some people write slices of life. I have always preferred slices of cake.”
In his spare time (of which he insists he has lots) he does copywriting and editing work, writes film and book reviews for diverse publications, collects CDs and Blu-Rays and of course has the very demanding job of attending to the needs of four cats. He has also branched out into script- and song-writing.
- Die nag het net een oog (1991)
- Die duiwel se tuin (1993)
- Koue soen (1994)
- Bloedbroer (1995)
- Storieboek (1996)
- Mooidraai Basuin (1997)
- Nagbesoeker (1997)
- Hostis (1998)
- Klipgooi (1999)
- ’n Tweede asem vir Jan A (2001)
- Spinnerak (2006)
- Jagseisoen (2007)
- Rooi Luiperd (2008)
- Harde woorde (2009)
- Afspraak in Venesië (2009)
- Die onbekendes (2010)
- Die Genesis-faktor (2010)
- Donker plekke (2011)
- Helse manier van koebaai sê (2011)
- Jy-weet-wie (2012)
- Moord in die beloofde land (2013)
- Pad na jou hart (2013)
Fiction For Teenagers And Younger Readers
- Sakkie en die Toffiewolf (1994)
- Die dom towenaar (1994)
- Dinnie Kaboef (1997)
- Middernagland (1996)
- Die vrou met die pers oog* (1996)
- Donderwoud* (1996)
- Die waterding* (1997)
- Slinger-slinger (1997)
- Kamer 13* (1998)
- Die wit huis (1998)
- Die speletjie* (1999)
- Kry vir jou, ou Langklou* (2000)
- Die dae toe ek Elvis was (2002)
- Hospitaaltyd* (2002)
- Agent Snoet en die Botterdiamant (2002)
- ’n Dag om te vier!/A day to celebrate (2003)
- Wie wil wat wees?/Who wants to be what? (2003)
- Spinnekoppe in die huis/Spiders in the house (2003)
- Blink gedagtes/Great ideas (with Johan van Lill) (2003)
- Vampiere in Londen* (2004)
- Nie vir kinders nie (2005)
- Agent Snoet en die Kattekwaad (2005)
- Stad aan die einde van die wêreld/City at the end of the world (2007)
- Moenie dat die grootmense hoor nie (2009)
- Agent Snoet en die Hondelewe (2008)
- Flipom (2009)
- Agent Snoet en die Groen Genugtig (2010)
- 13 spookstories (2010)
- Die land verby donker (2012)
- Vreeslike versies (2012)
- Nog 13 spookstories (2012)
- Koue rillings (2013)
- K-TV Holiday Fun (fun and activity book) (1997)
* in the Rillers/Chillers series (only Afrikaans titles are given)