Hugo Claus (1929) has been the wonder boy of Flemish literature for more than half a decade. He has written more than a hundred literary works, with which he has won more than forty literary prizes. To his credit he has poems, stories, novels, plays, libretti and film scripts. He is also renowned as a translator, painter and film director.
Influenced by surrealism, in the nineteen-fifties he made his name as a poet with a number of collections of experimental lyric poetry, of which De Oostakkerse gedichten (The East Acre Poems) (1955) is the highpoint. From the nineteen-sixties onwards topical events became more prominent in his work, which is illustrated by the explicit social commitment in volumes such as Van horen zeggen (Hearsay) (1970). At the same time, he started increasingly to include quotes from and references to other writers and artists.