Enne Koens writes plays, songs, and books for all ages, but especially for children.
Her first collection of short stories for adults, Stamina, was published in January 2020 and received rave reviews.
Nevertheless, most people know Enne from one of her many children’s books – I am Vincent and I am not afraid (Ik ben Vincent en ik ben niet bang) for instance. A touching story about bullying and friendship, told in a lighthearted way. Or That summer with Jente (Die zomer met Jente), which recently received a prestigieus Dutch children’s literature award.
Enne has written many more, like Hotel Bonbien, about Siri and her bonkers family and Sammie and grandpa (Sammie en opa), which tells the story of the fierce friendship between Sammie and his adventurous, imaginative grandfather.
Besides books, Enne writes (musical) theatre for adults and children. She has written for companies like Ausdauer, Maas, Toneelmakerij, Gasthuis and Artemis. And during two summers Enne and her musical theatre group Het Paleis voor Volksvlijt filled tent Studio 7 at the Dutch theatre festival De Parade. In 2004, she won a Dutch playwright award (Hollandse Nieuwe Toneelschrijfprijs) for her play Skills.
From the jury report: ‘From here you can see the whole world can best be described as if you were watching a movie. An adventure disguised as a travel guide through an average Dutch city district. Enne Koens awaits us to give us a tour of the area. She opens doors and introduces us to residents from various cultural backgrounds. Gradually, a touching, multi-voiced story takes shape.’
In Italy, this beautiful book is nominated for the Premio Letteratura Ragazzi di Cento and has already won the Premio Microeditoria di qualità.
The jury of this important German award selected I am Vincent and I am not afraid as one of the six best children’s books in the world in 2020. From the jury report: `Enne Koens consistently writes from Vincent’s perspective, thereby very impressively visualising the mechanisms of bullying.’ The winner will be announced on the 16th of October.
On the 28th of August the Griffel Jury announced that they had awarded That summer with Jente a Vlag and Wimpel. ‘Koens subtly shows Marie’s internal conflict through observations and side remarks or little lies, so you can really tell how she, in that sultry sunshine, feels trapped in something you could call a friendship.’
We are not going home today is about a boy who finds himself in a strange country and must build a new life there.
Ten-year-old Mirza is abruptly taken by his father to their country of origin, where a recent civil war had taken place. They move into the remote house of Mirza’s deceased grandparents, which is in a state of disrepair. At night, Mirza often wakes up to shouting from the mountains. At his new school, he’s unfamiliar with the rules and constantly makes mistakes. Mirza yearns for only one thing: to go back home, to return to his best friend Lucas. At that point he makes a shocking discovery. Is there still a way back?
A poignant yet hopeful story filled with subtle observations, beautifully illustrated by Maartje Kuiper.
While his parents are at the parents evening, Mo experiences a big adventure. A woman with a giant moustache is sending Mo on a mission. He will travel, all on his own to Planet X. If Mo succeeds in his mission the planet will be named after him. Planet Mo, right next to the moon. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
This book is part of the series Ezeloortjes: Beautifully illustrated books, without long or complex words, especially written for the young reader. Een kleine groene puddingplaneet is illustrated by Margot Westermann.
Vanaf hier kun je de hele wereld zien (From here you can see all of the world) is a beautiful fictional novel about identity and family, which was awarded a Bronzen Griffel in the summer of 2o22.
Nine year old Deetje lives with her mother in a block of flats. One day, she finds a letter on the pavement outside. The name and address are crossed out. The letter is written by someone who misses somebody terribly. Deetje knows this feeling very well. She is nothing like her mum and Deetje thinks she is, in fact, adopted. She is determined to deliver the letter to the person who was meant to receive it and asks for help from her friend Vito, who is very clever. They discover clues everywhere around them and it seems that every answer brings up new questions – until it eventually hits her: who is she, herself, missing?
Form here you can see all of the world is illustrated by Maartje Kuiper (winner of the Dutch Vlag en Wimpel 2020)
In January 2020, Stamina was published, a collection of short stories for adults. About Alma who is dying, Klaas who secretly dances when his girlfriend isn’t home, and a disoriented elderly man who keeps looking for coffee, to no avail: these are only a few of the colourful characters that grace this collection with their presence. The subtly interwoven stories in Stamina are about people who want to connect with each other, but are unable to. About the intense hatred that can dominate a long-term relationship. About losing mothers, children and love. About fear. And about bravely living on against the odds: stamina.
STAMINA is part of a fabulous series of short stories by publishing house Podium (in which previously Keret, Nors, Harstad, Blees, Wuck and Capote were published).
‘Tragic-comical descriptions that remind one of the books by Griet Op de Beeck.’ HEBBAN
‘In Stamina, a thematically strong collection of stories, the characters stumble their way through life (…). NRC
Against her will, Marie moves to a new neighbourhood. She leaves Zoë behind, but befriends a new girl on her first day in the polder: Jente. A summer ensues where they swim daily, have sleepovers, spy on boys, grow up. With Jente, the days are full of adventure, but sometimes she suddenly gets angry, and at times even mean. As the summer goes on, doubt starts to niggle. Should you always be able to trust each other, like Marie trusted Zoë, or can a friendship be completely different as well?
‘Koens shows a different talent here: the reader feels how things are getting out of hand, the smut, the scratches, the nettle stings, the bruises and the danger of stomping through marshy grassland, sneaking out at night and walking around high buildings without railings.’ Volkskrant
‘That summer with Jente is a sweltering and atmospheric book with which Koens transfers her status of promising to an established author of psychological children’s books.’ Jaapleest.nl
School is like a daily survival trip for Vincent: you never know which disaster to expect and you better be well prepared. So, he knows the SAS Survival Handbook by heart. And he always carries a tin with handy survival gear. But the worst is yet to come: the school camp. He still has seven days to prepare. But then a new girl joins his class. And that changes everything…
Nominated for the Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis.
‘I am Vincent and I am not afraid is a book that offers comfort to every child that is being bullied.’ Leesfeest
Bullying is a common theme in children’s literature, but rarely has it been described as intensely and oppressingly as in Enne Koens’ I am Vincent and I am not afraid. Jaapleest.nl
Siri is ten years old and lives in Hotel Bonbien along the N19 in France. Bonbien is a hotel for travellers. People who want to move on, as Siri’s father puts it. Usually they only have a cup of coffee, or use the loo. Sometimes they stay for a night. Siri thinks it is the most beautiful place on earth and never wants to leave. But her parents are arguing more and more. She is afraid they might get a divorce and that they’ll have to sell the hotel. Only a miracle can save them. And that miracle arrives, but in a very different shape than Siri had imagined…
Enne Koens wrote a funny and touching story about Siri and her bonkers family, it was nominated for the Boekenleeuw in Belgium.
‘After the wonderful “Sammie and granddad”, Enne Koens delights again with “Hotel Bonbien”. An accessible, warm-blooded book (…) full of humor, an original adventure and depth.’ Trouw
‘Some books you close shut with a smile that lingers.’ Jaapleest.nl
Sam’s granddad used to be a truck driver and before that a sailor and he always had the most amazing and dirtiest of adventures. When Sam asks if everything really happened, granddad says: `True or not true is for boring people, not us!’ But some things Sam just really wants to know. What happens to you when you die? How do we know which colours dinosaurs were? Where does the wind start? And will granddad get better when he ends up in hospital?
Awarded the Vlag en Wimpel 2013.
‘Enne Koens is cooler than Kuijer and Kuyper and has modernised the genre. (…) Enne Koens temporarily makes you forget about the grandmasters.’ De Volkskrant
‘Sammie and grandpa has a relaxed writing style, the natural dialogue flows, and there is a pleasant kind of crazy to the story.’ Trouw
Berre is eight when her parents get divorced. Her mother has lost herself and needs time to refind herself. This news comes as a shock to Berre, who loves her father to bits. In the years after the divorce, her mother seems to become increasingly more unhinged. She takes her daughters to live in a women’s commune, brings exorcists to the house and falls in love with the wrong men. Berre’s anger grows with the years. She leaves home on the day of her last school exam and finds a room in the city where she will start uni after the summer. She wants to put her past behind her once and for all.
Awarded the Jonge Jury debut prize.
Koens writes dreamy, naive prose with the occasional, unexpectedly painful observation. She evokes a dark atmosphere of neglect that is hard to shake. Volkskrant
The best children’s books of 2011: ‘It’s rare that a Dutch young adult debut has such technical craftsmanship, with such a composed style.’ Vrij Nederland
When it transpires that Michel is no longer allowed to see his two-year old daughter, he panics. He wants to see Josja grow up. That same day, he collects her from her nursery and flees across Europe, away from her mother Liesbeth. On their journey, getting used to being together with Josja, he tries to interpret the cracks in his relationship with Liesbeth. In the meantime, Liesbeth tries everything she can to find Michel and Josja. Will she ever see her daughter again?
‘Koens handles the heavy subject matter with surprising humanity and gives equal space to both parents. The book in general comes across as balanced. Koes writes with an admirable steadiness and stays on topic.’ De Groene Amsterdammer
‘Despite it being a debut, the novel comes across as grown-up. Few things are scarier than the fear of a mother whose child has disappeared. And few have described that fear this poignantly.’ AD/UN
by STT produkties in collaboration with Rob Vriens and Enne Koens.
The play Sammie en opa has its première in 2025. Enne plays a part in it too! For more information and current performance dates, see the STT website (in Dutch).
Enne teaches at Buitenkunst, the Schrijversvakschool, the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, and she teaches children who need a bit of help with the Dutch language via De Schoolschrijver. Her classes are fun, a curious investigation into language, story and inspiration.
During lockdown, Enne opened her writing cafe. It was an overwhelming success.more info
Once a month, you could join us in our De Utrechtse Kinderboekenwinkel living room for an inspiring writing class. About, for instance: seeking inspiration, story perspective, thinking of a good plot.
For more information or to register, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call +31 (0)30 2322057. The costs are € 17,50 per class.
April 7th to 10th, ’24 (arrival and departure on April 6th and 11th)
Next Spring, I’m hosting a four-day writing retreat focusing on technique. I’d love to welcome you to the Le Grippault country house in the Loire region: Peace, space, and a clear mind to write. Each day, we’ll work on a different theme. In the morning, we’ll start with a writing warm-up and various exercises to inspire fresh material. In the afternoon, we’ll delve deeper into one theme: character, time, space, or the writing process. Additionally, you’ll have more time to work on your own text and there will be opportunities for one-on-one questions and feedback. Immerse yourself in the joy and struggle of writing, gain a fresh perspective on your work, and receive assistance in structuring your story. I’ll send you home equipped with enough tools to continue writing inspired. The masterclass is suitable for beginners, intermediates, and professionals.
The price: €775 shared double room, €900 single room, includes 5 nights’ accommodation, 5 times breakfast, lunch and dinner, excluding travel costs and extra drinks. NB. Single rooms are limited.
Transport: There is a TGV from Utrecht to Tours, the journey takes 6 hours. You will be picked up from the station. By car, it is an 8-hour drive from Utrecht. If you go by train, it is nice to take an early train on 6 April so that you have time to arrive and explore the area. When you sign up, you will receive travel advice so that everyone can be picked up from the station at the same time. For more information see: www.legrippault.fr