Writer (August 13, 1967)
Amélie Nothomb was born in Japan in 1967, while her father Baron Patrick Nothomb was Belgian Ambassador there, and her childhood was spent following her father’s diplomatic appointments in China, the USA, Laos, Bangladesh and Burma. She first set foot on Belgian soil in 1984, when she attended her final year of school at the Institut Marie Immaculée Montjoie in Brussels, before reading for a degree in Philology at the Free University of Brussels. After graduation, she returned to Japan and worked for a year as an interpreter for a large industrial company, writing her first novel, Hygiène de l’assassin in her spare time. On her return to Europe, her novel was published in 1992 and won the René-Fallet and Alain-Fournier prizes. Since then, she has been a full-time novelist, spending four hours every day writing, and publishing at least one novel each year. Her books have been translated into 37 languages and she has written the screenplay for the film versions of Hygiène de l’assassin (1999) and Stupeurs et tremblements (2003). Her apparent omnipresence on television chat-shows and in the pages of literary magazines, and her eccentric personal style have drawn criticism, but her novels sell in large numbers and she has many loyal fans. Her novels Métaphysique des tubes, Le Sabotage amoureux and Biographie de la faim, draw on her childhood experiences, especially the contrasts between Japan and China.