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Hans Koning

The Netherlands/USA

Hans Koning, born in Amsterdam in 1921, came to the US in 1951 and established himself as an American writer with his first novel, The Affair (1958).

Koning was born Hans Koningsberger. He was educated at the University of Amsterdam, Zurich and the Sorbonne. Escaping the occupied Netherlands with the Resistance, he was one of the youngest sergeants in the British Army, working as an interpreter during the allied occupation of Germany at the end of the war.

He was editor of De Groene Amsterdammer, a Dutch weekly, before moving to the United States. There he began to devote time to writing fiction. His first novel, The Affair, was published in 1958. A series of novels followed, written in a characteristically terse and lucid style, dealing with failed love, political intrigue and the clash of ideologies. During the Vietnam War he turned his attention to protest, helping to found the still-active ‘Resist’ organization in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with Noam Chomsky among others. In 1958 three translations by Koning appeared, amongst which The Ten Thousand Things by Maria Dermoût.

Koning wrote fiction and non-fiction and was a two-time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship for creative writers, for fiction. Four of his novels were made into films. He died in Easton, Connecticut, at the age of 85.

Hans Koning