About Bart

Bart Van Lierde (1974) is a Flemish author. He has written several novels and thrillers, and also a Dutch version of the non-fiction book Een bestseller schrijven voor Dummies (Writing a bestseller for Dummies). Bart studied jazz singing at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, and has written several songs and theatre plays.

– Work


The Polish author Witold Gombrowicz states in his Diary 1953 – 1969 that in the 19th century composers have modernised the classical music in order to be in the spotlight, but the public lost interest as the music lost its natural form and sound. Van Lierde reflects this opinion in his two historical novels: the deformed protagonist in Violist van de duivel (Violinist of the devil) uses his musical inventiveness to gain the acceptance of the people, while in Een sprong naar de hemel (A jump to heaven), two musical brothers struggle against each other for the love of their parents.

According to J.R.R. Tolkien, literature has several levels; the highest level is a fictional story set in a fictional world. In his diary Gombrowicz advises writers to exaggerate situations in order to give them symbolic proportions. Influenced by both authors, Van Lierde studied the biographies of classical composers, made a personal mix of the most fascinating parts and exaggerated all situations and relationships, resulting in his two historical novels. Inappropriately Van Lierde was given De Slechte Seks Prijs (The Bad Sex Prize) by the TV magazine HUMO for a scene from Een sprong naar de hemel, in which the protagonist, who has an incestuous relationship with his mother, tears out the womb of his brothers fiancé and devours it.


In his youth novel De dief met duizend gezichten (The thief with a thousand faces), Van Lierde uses the structure that characterizes most films of Alfred Hitchcock; the main character, though innocent, becomes the accused. He then flees from the police in order to find the culprit. But as he’s tailing the real offender, he’s seen in places where more crimes occur. The police try to shoot him rather than capture him, and the real offender also becomes a threat because he wants to avoid capture. The content of this youth book was inspired by the books of Marten Toonder about Tom Puss and Mr. Bumble; Van Lierde creates a similar imaginary world. The story is situated in historic Venice, all the characters behave in a modern manner, and the protagonist has a ‘stone eater’ as a pet; a beast that gets stolen by a crook to bite a hole in the wall of the treasury room of the San Marco Basilica.


Milton H. Erickson was an American hypnotherapist who laid the foundations for NLP. Van Lierde studied his works, learned to hypnotize and applied this knowledge in the crime novel Luister niet naar Robert Blake (Do not listen to Robert Blake). Thanks to the switch between the chapters in which the hypnosis is explained, and the chapters in which these techniques are used for selfish reasons by the main character, the reader is learning unconsciously, which is the goal of hypnotherapy.


Van Lierde stops enlarging situations and characters in his psychological novel 160 kilo (160 kilos) and writes for the first time about street characters. In this book a fat woman goes to a hypnotherapist to lose weight. But she has a blind spot; because she was abused as a child, she believes that the fatter she is the less likely a man would find her attractive. She overlooks that her state only attracts men who want to abuse her, and that each kilo less would increase her chances to enjoy a normal life. Van Lierde borrowed the idea to use a blind spot that conflicts with the main goal from the literature on the formal structure of American Hollywood movies, as interpreted by the authors Syd Field and Robert McKee.


As a child Van Lierde followed lessons at the Rudolf Steiner School. In Mokerslag (Sledgehammer) the young protagonist wants to murder his father, but as he doesn’t dare, he decides to abduct the boy next door for ransom; with the money he could flee the country with his mother to start a new life elsewhere. However, as the ransom letter contains many spelling and grammatical errors, the investigators suspect a child, more specifically, a student of the Steiner School. In the historical novels the dialogues have the humour that characterizes the plays of Neil Simon, the verbosity and eloquence of Fyodor Dotsoevsky, and also the raw aggression as in the books of Charles Bukowski – three authors who influenced Van Lierde at his early stages as a writer. However, in Mokerslag Van Lierde no longer draws attention to his language, as he does not want the inner visualization of the reader to be interrupted.


The TV series 24 starts with an incident that threatens world peace, and 24h later the danger has passed; every minute is filmed. Based on this idea Van Lierde wrote his thriller 0110. On the 1st of October 2006 Tom Barman, the frontman of rock group dEUS, held a concert against the radical political party ‘Vlaams Belang’ to influence the outcome of the elections. Van Lierde took this incident as a starting point. The thriller stays within a time frame of 24 hours, there’re always at least four story lines running simultaneously.


Van Lierde translated the ideas of Syd Field and Robert McKee into a writing course for authors. Writing a bestseller for Dummies is a book about how to structure a story to get a page turner. Only in his second historical novel does Van Lierde not follow this Hollywood rule himself. While the musical brothers renew the classical music by altering the traditional techniques and natural structures, Van Lierde allows the shape of the book to develop without formal structure.


Van Lierde also translated his ideas about structure into the biography of the Flemish boxer Jurgen Haeck, who became Champion of the European Union in 2002. He wrote the story in such a structured way and in such a thoughtful language that it reads like a novel. To obtain this result he enlarged certain episodes of Haeck’s life to stress them, and he skipped other parts. Van Lierde derived the idea to write a biography that does not follow the facts, but is true to the spirit of these facts, from the fictionalised biography Summertime by J.M Coetzee.

Operatie Solar (Operation Solar) is a crime novel based on the characters of the popular Flemish TV series Witse. To build tension Van Lierde uses the same techniques as in his thriller 0110Zot van A (Crazy About Ya) is a Flemish hit movie, which Van Lierde adapted to a romantic novel. In both books he tries to evoke the same atmosphere as seen on screen. To do so he uses Flemish instead of Dutch, while occasionally he adds some Antwerp dialect.

– Bibliography

– External links