- Category : 1963-births
- Type : GE
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Split - Small (2,10,15,20,25,45,46)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Contagion 4
Dutch writer, poet, columnist and essayist.
Zwagerman started writing at age thirteen. He called his first work the Zwagergids (Zwager Guide). His parents were teachers and stimulated his interest in literature and cultural history. He had a happy youth, but felt lonely, as his peers did not share his interest in museums and literature. He called it parallel worlds in an interview given in April 2014.
Joost followed after the secondary school, the Pedagogic Academy. Thereafter he studied Dutch language and literature, without graduating. He wrote several articles as a student and followed a creative writers course with Oek de Jong (4 October 1952, Breda).
Zwagerman debuted in 1986 with "De houdgreep" (headlock), which got positive response from the critics. His third novel Gimmick! (1989) was put into drama. It dealt with the trendy artists life in Amsterdam. His work "Vals licht"(1991, false light) was filmed by Theo van Gogh (1993). His novel "Zes sterren" (2002, six stars) and essay "Door eigen hand. Zelfmoord en de nabestaanden, essays en interviews" (2005) dealt with suicide: he called it an option, for when things went wrong. His essay bundle "Americana 1 & 2, Omzwervingen in de Amerikaanse cultuur" (2013) dealt with his (anti-)heroes in the American literature he studied a s a youngster.
He also wrote also poetry: "Langs de doofpot" (1987) and "Roeshoofd hemelt" (2005). His essay bundle "Beeld verplaatst, gedichten bij kunstwerken van oa Erwin Olaf, Rineke Dijkstra, Marlene Dumas en Rob Scholte" were reflections on the work of in the Netherlands working artists. His Last poetry bundles were named "De wereld is hier" (2012, the world is here) and "Voor alles, gedichten" (2014, for all, poetry).
His work was translated in twelve languages, including Japanese. The novel "De buitenvrouw" (Die Nebenfrau) got a price in München. He was twice the major host in the evening filling television program "Zomergasten" (interviewing in 2008 Ayaan Hirsi Ali) and was seen by many established Dutch writers (including Mulisch) as the best young talent.
Zwagerman was married for twenty years and had three children. After his painful divorce (2010), he encountered the death of a sister-in-law, a youth friend and the wife of his best friend. In the rampant year 2011, he became clinically depressed and suicidal. He never got over it, but could hide it for others.
Zwagerman suffered from a severe form of ankylosing spondylitis (M.Bekhterev), a chronic inflammatory disease, he admitted in his last interview given on 3 September 2015 to Tom Kellerhuis of HP/De Tijd. Because of his backache, problems with sitting and eye inflammation, reading and writing became a torture. Before that diagnosis came in early 2015, he had heard from doctors that his fatigue was the result of depression and burn-out. He also talked about the suicide attempt of his father in 1998 and the impact it had on his mood. As he knew he had the same genes, he started gathering literature on depression and suicide. He nevertheless said 5 days before his death, that suicide was a no-go-area for him.
His last art book "De stilte van het licht" (The silence of the light) appeared on Tuesday 8 September 2015. That evening he did not appear on the planned television presentation of it in "De Wereld draait door" and the classical radio 4 station of the Netherlands, as he had committed suicide. For the classical radio broadcast, planned at 22h30, he had before presented a macabre wish list consisting of the medieval "media Vita in morte sumus" (In the midst of life we are in death), "Aussi bas que le silence" of Francis Poulenc’s "Figure humaine", Philip Glass’ "Closing" and "Der Tod und das Mädchen" of Schubert.