23 Oct Surprise Party: Celebrating 66 Translation Rights Deals for Hendrik Groen
During Marleen’s recent European tour, Dutch publisher Meulenhoff organized a surprise party to celebrate the incredible number of translation rights deals for their bestselling author Hendrik Groen!
By Marleen Seegers — Article first posted October 2019
Little did I know what was waiting for me when I arrived at the Meulenhoff Boekerij offices in Amsterdam mid-September. I had a meeting planned with the editorial team to discuss their titles, which 2 Seas Agency represents internationally, as well as to inform them about the must-read titles whose translation rights 2 Seas Agency represents in the Netherlands.
It was the very first day of meetings of my six-week European tour, and my head was still in jetlag-land. I did vaguely notice some Hendrik Groen flags in their cafeteria, and a few international editions of his books that were on display. But my foggy brain didn’t really draw any conclusions. During our meeting I was suddenly called out, and one of the editors asked if I fancied meeting Hendrik Groen. What?!
And so it happened: the entire Meulenhoff-Boekerij team was waiting in the cafeteria with bubbles and cake to celebrate the (then) 65 translation rights deals concluded for Hendrik Groen’s books. That on itself was already an amazing surprise, but the icing on the cake was the presence Mr Groen himself!
Meulenhoff’s press release dated October 14, 2019
[Dutch version — note: the number of translation rights deals had grown to 66 by then]
Right before the Frankfurter Buchmesse kicked off, American publisher Grand Central (part of Hachette US) acquired translation rights to Hendrik Groen’s Een kleine verrassing. German publishing house Piper Verlag also recently acquired translation rights to Hendrik Groen’s fourth novel. Groen’s four publications now add up to a total of 66 international deals in 37 different languages. The Dutch Literature Foundation has subsidized translations into 24 foreign language editions. Meulenhoff sells these rights internationally in collaboration with Marleen Seegers from 2 Seas Agency.
In Germany, Italy, Poland, Japan, Estonia and other countries, Hendrik’s first book Pogingen iets van het leven te maken reached bestseller lists. Worldwide, enthusiastic initiatives sparked around Groen’s books. For example, his Slovenian publisher organized a congress devoted to the care of elderly citizens when the book was first published. In Poland, an Omanido-club (Omanido = an abbreviation of Old But Not Dead in Dutch) was formed including famous Polish members. In Finland, book clubs were organized in care homes, and in Norway, booksellers wore Hendrik Groen T-shirts.
Hendrik Groen published his first diary in 2014. Pogingen iets van het leven te maken became a great success: the book was listed in de Bestseller 60 for 155 weeks and translation rights were sold to 37 countries. Groen’s second diary, Zolang er leven is, also became a bestseller. More than 700.000 copies of the diaries have been sold in the Netherlands and Flanders. Both diaries have received the NS Publieksprijs and have been adapted into both a theatre play and a television series. In June 2019, Groen’s fourth book Een kleine verrassing was published. As of October 14 of this year, the second season of the TV-series Het geheime dagboek van Hendrik Groen airs on NPO1, lasting 12 weeks. The name Hendrik Groen is a pseudonym.