A nation of readers


The success of national literature depends largely on the willingness of the population to read it. Research by Stichting Marktonderzoek Boekenvak (a market research organisation for the book trade) in 2008 showed that 90 percent of Dutch people read books. Moreover, studies by this same organisation show that around two thirds of all books read are works of fiction. So the Dutch are a nation of readers. Whether what they read can be classed as Literature is another question. The most popular Dutch writers do not always find favour with literary critics. For example, an entire school of ‘literary thrillers’ led by Dutch authors such as Saskia Noort and Simone van der Vlugt has proved to be a great commercial success despite their lukewarm reception by critics. Writers such as Kluun and Heleen van Royen also churn out bestsellers, but the literary value of their work is the subject of much debate. So which Dutch writers do in fact produce Literature with a capital L?