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Chris De Stoop receives oeuvre prize for investigative journalism

Chris De Stoop © Lenny Oosterwijk
Chris De Stoop © Lenny Oosterwijk

Chris De Stoop describes himself as an ‘ex-journalist’. Nonetheless, the Flemish-Dutch Association of Investigative Journalists is honouring him for his entire oeuvre, citing among other works De Stoop’s latest, ‘The Book Daniel’. It is not only a meticulous reconstruction of the horrendous robbery and murder of his uncle, but also a nuanced portrait of the gang of youths responsible for it.

Chris De Stoop’s journalistic work always sets out to tell the story of those who are overlooked. In doing so, he wants to uncover the facts and – more importantly – the mechanisms and logic underpinning those facts. This has taken him literally and figuratively to the top of literary nonfiction in Flanders and the Netherlands. But his groundbreaking and socially relevant books have also sparked debate in other countries.

Literary highlights

The writing strategy that makes the books of consummate observer De Stoop so readable revolves around a personal perspective on social developments. What starts off as investigative journalism invariably results in highlights of literary nonfiction.

  • In Peace Be With You, Sister (2010) De Stoop tells the story of Belgium’s first female suicide bomber. The book is based on research that De Stoop carried out in 2008, but the full significance of it was not widely recognised until hundreds of radicalised young people set off for Syria.
  • This Is My Farm (2015) is his defence of the farms that are supposed to make way for nature reserves and sees him temporarily return to his parental farm to ensure its survival. ‘This Is My Farm’ has been translated into German and French, and a Chinese translation is in the works. The French version was awarded the Prix du Livre du Réel in 2019.
  • In When the Water Breaks (2018) De Stoop starts from the experiences of Vietnamese boat people to examine the lifelong impact of fleeing and migration on future generations.
  • The Book of Daniel is De Stoop’s most recent analysis of the brutal robbery and murder of his lonely, isolated uncle. It can also be read as a counterpart to the study into radicalisation.