In 2019, he left Antwerp, the city where he had lived since 1986, and moved together with his partner Jonathan to the north of Antwerp — the woods and tranquility. Currently he is working on a novel that will be published in the Fall of 2023.
Here you will find my life story in chapters. If you need that whole biography at once, you can download it below.
Bart Peter Boudewijn Moeyaert, the seventh out of seven boys, was born in Bruges on June 9th 1964, where he grew up, in a big house on the outskirts of town. In the Moeyaert family he tended to disappear a little. He was the kind of child that draws a lot, likes to cut and paste and to build tree- and other houses. He read a great deal and all sorts of books.
When he was ten, Bart Moeyaert wrote his first longer story about a boy who’s ill. At the age of eleven he started a first book about a secret society. And though becoming a writer was not among his ambitions because his father had told him writing was not an actual profession, he still took the step towards a publisher with his next book.
Bart Moeyaert studied Dutch, German, and history in Brussels. He was barely nineteen when he made his debut (1983) with his autobiographical Duet met valse noten (Duet out of tune). The book was named the best Book of the Year in 1984 by the Belgian Children’s and Young Adult Jury and has been translated into German, Catalan, Japanese and Hungarian. It turned out to be a bestseller that became a classic, entering its second life as a play as well as a musical. After forty years the novel is still in print.
© Bart Moeyaert
After his studies, he moved from Brussels to Antwerp — to Nieuwstad 14, the address that would later become a poem. Bart’s house overlooked the theatre where his Kus me (Kiss Me, 1994), Broere (Brothers, 2000), Bremen is niet ver (Bremen Isn’t Far, 2001) and Café Geluk (Café Happiness, 2007) would later appear on the posters. He worked freelance for the magazine Flair, reviewed children’s books and translated articles. For years he wrote articles about design for De Standaard Magazine, the cultural supplement of the renowned paper, De Standaard.
In 1992 Bart Moeyaert became the editor of a magazine for young people. Three years later, he decided to dedicate himself full-time to writing. He left the publishing house where he had made his debut and moved to Querido, where Blote handen (Bare Hands) was published in 1995. The book has been translated into several languages, winning many awards, and marking the beginning of a new phase in Bart’s work.
After 1995, Bart Moeyaert no longer restricted himself to fiction alone. De Standaard Magazine commissioned him to write in-depth articles about design, two of his television screenplays were filmed, in 1998 he wrote his first play for Theater Luxemburg, Rover, dronkeman (Robber, drunkard), which was later translated and also performed in German.
He has published Dutch translations of German (by Christine Nöstlinger and Jürg Schubiger), English (by Carolyn Coman and Shaun Tan) and French books (by Chris Donner, Kitty Crowther and Frédéric Clement).
Several of his books, like De Schepping (Creation), Het Paradijs (Paradise) and De Hemel (Heaven) are projects where text, illustrations and music are combined. Performances and CDs accompany the books. Bart Moeyaert as the narrator, accompanied by renowned orchestras and performers, such as Janine Janssen, the Brussels Philharmonic and the Netherlands Wind Ensemble.
On stage, Moeyaert has a performative approach when giving lectures about his work. He performed at many international literature festivals, including Internationales Literaturfestival Berlin, Woordfees Stellenbosch, White Ravens München, Bath Children’s Literature Festival, and he was a keynote speaker at different conferences, among which FILIJ Mexico.
In 2003 the unpublished poems that Bart wrote over the course of many years were collected in Verzamel de liefde (Gathered Love). Because of the broad success of this collection of poems and his ability to bring several arts together, he was named the Poet Laureate of the City of Antwerp 2006-2007. His work as a Poet Laureate resulted in the anthology Gedichten voor gelukkige mensen (Poems for Happy People) in 2008. Bart then deliberately chose to spend some time out of the limelight.
From 2000 until 2021, Bart Moeyaert has been senior lecturer of Creative Writing at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp, division Word and Stage. In 2007, he was made Doctor Honoris Causa for his work by the University of Antwerp. In 2014, Bart was appointed artistic director of the guest of honour program for the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2016, where the Netherlands and Flanders were joint guests of honour. In 2022-2023 he was writer-in-residence at the University of Leuven, and lectured Creative Writing.