Hester Velmans Literary Translation

An award winning translator specializing in modern fiction, Hester has translated over a dozen Dutch and French novels into English. She won the Vondel Prize for Translation in 2001 and a 2014 NEA Fellowship to translate Herman Franke's Slow Light.
These books are not children's books.

2014 NEA Literature Translation Fellowship recipient


The Darkness that Divides us

by Renate Dorrestein

Coming in April 2015
World Editions


Slow Light

by Herman Franke

NEA Translation Fellowship 2014



Between Two Homelands

Letters across the borders of Nazi Germany
Ed. Hedda Kalshoven

University of Illinois Press/2014


The Hormone Factory
By Saskia Goldschmidt

Coming in November 2014
From The Other Press



The Angelmaker

by Stefan Brijs

Weidenfeld & Nicholson/Penguin Books
USA 2008

IMPAC 2010 Longlist

“The Angel Maker, first published in Dutch in 2005 and now available in a superb translation by Hester Velmans, is one of the most complex novels I have read in a long time, and also, not coincidentally, one of the most satisfying.”
— Paul Kincaid, Strange Horizons


The Voyage
of the Short Serpent

by Bernard du Boucheron
Overlook/Duckworth 2008

IMPAC 2010 Longlist

“Hester Velmans, the literary translator, has moved her translation forward to the creative illumination of a kind of co- authorship, jointly with the author. Reading the tale of the frozen wasteland of New Thule, with the French original book, Court Serpent, alongside, this suggestive, often insightful, translation fills the reader (and this critic) with nothing less than a great awe of Velmans`s magical professionalism."
– Dinda Dorlee, American Book Review



Without Mercy

by Renate Dorrestein
Black Swan 2003

“Even after only a few sentences, it's quite clear that Velmans writes well. There is a playful suppleness to her work, an engaging lightness of touch that moves in and out of everyday speech, advertisement cliche and literary prose. Her style shows all the deftness of a true writer.”
— Ron Butlin, The Sunday Herald (Scotland)



The Lily Theater

by Lulu Wang
Nan Talese Doubleday/ Sceptre 2000

NY Times Notable Book of the Year

“Not every novel can hook you with a translator's note, but try this one: The novelty of a book written in Dutch by a young Chinese immigrant took the Netherlands by storm in 1997, catapulting The Lily Theater to an almost permanent place at the top of Holland's best-seller list.' …The note, by the gifted translator Hester Velmans, is an oddly relevant primer to Wang's novel, which turns out to be an honest, sprawling, sometimes frustrating, avowedly fictionalized account of the author's childhood during the Cultural Revolution.” – John Burnham Schwartz, NY Times Book Review

Lulu Wang


The Dream Merchant

by Isabel Hoving
Walker Books/Candlewick Press 2005
(ages 12 and up)

“Here's the evidence we should be publishing more books in translation.
Brilliant." — Michael Morpurgo


A Heart of Stone
By Renate Dorrestein
Doubleday UK 2000/Viking Penguin 2001

Winner of the Vondel Prize
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection

“Heartbreakingly unsentimental and rib-achingly hilarious by turns, this book is a double triumph, both for the author and for the translator, who has managed to translate memory into a vivid, continuous present.”
– Amanda Hopkinson, The Independent (UK)

A Heart

Anne Frank

My name is Anne,
Anne Frank, she said
by Jacqueline van Maarsen
Arcadia 2007

“Simply written, but powerful.”
—The Sunday Herald (Scotland)


A Crying Shame
by Renate Dorrestein
Black Swan 2003

“...The pace and energy is compelling, owing to Hester Velmans's fine translation."
—The Lady (UK)



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