Amélie Nothomb

Amélie Nothomb, whose real name is Fabienne Claire Nothomb, is a well-known Belgian writer. She was born in Etterbeek (Brussels Capital Region) on July 9th, 1966, and is the daughter of two Belgian diplomats.

At the age of two, she discovered Japan and lives there until she was five, and then subsequently lived in China, New York, Banglasdesh, Burma, Coventry and Laos. She is from a distinguished Belgian political family, the grandniece of Charles-Ferdinand Nothomb, a Belgian Foreign Minister (1980–1981), and great granddaughter of writer and politician Pierre Nothomb.

Amélie's first novel, Hygiène de l'assassin, was published in 1992. Since then, she has published one novel every year, including Les Catilinaires (1995), Fear and Trembling (1999) and Métaphysique des tubes (2000, published in English as The Character of Rain). She has been awarded numerous prizes, including the Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française. 

While in Japan, Nothomb attended a local school and learned Japanese. When she was five, the family moved to China. "Leaving Japan was a wrenching separation for me", she wrote in Fear and Trembling. Nothomb moved often, and she did not live in Europe until she was 17, when she moved to Brussels whe she studied philology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. She returned later to Japan to work in a Japanese company in Tokyo. Her experience of this time is told in Fear and Trembling.

A documentary was directed by Laureline Amanieux about Amélie's return to her native Japan, the country of her childhood where she finds the beauty of the landscapes, the peace of the rites of the country, the sadness of Fukushima, but especially, the arms of her Japanese nursemaid, Nishio San.

Georges Simenon (1903-1989)

Georges Joseph Christian Simenon was a Belgian writer born on February 13th, 1903 and who died on September 4th, 1989.

Simenon was one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century, writing up to 80 pages per day. He wrote nearly 200 novels, over 150 novellas, several autobiographical works, numerous articles, and scores of pulp novels written under more than two dozen pseudonyms. Altogether, about 550 million copies of his works have been printed and he is, according to the UNESCO's Index Translationum, the seventeenth-most-often-translated author and the most-translated Belgian author.

He is best known for his 75 novels and 28 short stories featuring Commissaire Maigret. The first novel in the series, Pietr-le-Letton, was published in book form in 1931, while the last one, Maigret et M. Charles, appeared in 1972.

The Maigret novels were translated into all major languages and several of them were turned into films and radio plays. Two television series have been made in Great Britain, one in Italy and two in France starring Jean Richard (1967-1990) and Bruno Cremer (1991–2005).

While he was in America (1945-1955), Simenon reached the height of his creative powers, and several novels of those years were inspired by the context in which they were written: Trois chambres à Manhattan (1946), Maigret à New York (1947), Maigret se fâche (1947).

Simenon also wrote a large number of "psychological novels" (what the French refer to as "romans durs"), such as The Strangers in the House (1940), La neige était sale (1948), or Le fils (1957), as well as several autobiographical works, in particular Je me souviens (1945), Pedigree (1948) and Mémoires intimes (1981).

In 1966, Simenon was given the MWA's highest honor, the Grand Master Award.

In 2003, the collection La Pléiade (inspiration for the Library of America) has included 21 of Simenon's novels, in 2 volumes.

Bob Morane, created by Henri Vernes

Bob Morane illustrated by Felicísimo Coria.

Bob Morane is a series of adventure books in French, featuring an eponymous protagonist, created by Belgian novelist Henri Vernes, whose real name is Charles-Henri Dewisme. More than 200 novels have been written since his introduction in 1953.

Bob Morane appeared in a movie in 1960, a television series in 1965, a computer game in 1988, an animated series in 1998 and a long-running series of comics books, roughly 80 since 1959, which has featured the artwork of artists such as Dino Attanasio, Gérard Forton, William Vance and Felicísimo Coria, under several publisher labels.

Bob Morane's novels started as a straight adventure fare but quickly included elements of espionage, crime fiction, science-fiction and fantasy. Bob Morane is a Frenchman and a young RAF pilot volunteer during World War II. Claimed to be the highest decorated officer of the Free French Air Force under Général de Gaulle. After the war, he becomes a full-time explorer, freelance reporter for "Reflets" magazine and adventurer. 6 ft 1 in-tall and athletic, Bob Morane is proficient in many forms of hand-to-hand combat as well as with many weapons. He speaks a wide variety of languages and most books usually start with him traveling to some exotic location.

His adventures over the years brought him in contact with numerous highly placed figures of the world's intelligence community, Herbert Gains of the Central Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gros-Jean of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Sir Archibald Baywater from Scotland Yard, and they often ask him for help in some difficult business.

Bob Morane is described as a modern-day knight without fear or reproach, always ready to rescue the needy and the oppressed as a modern Don Quixote, especially if they happen to be young ladies in distress, which apparently is often the case, but is however described as being as chaste as Sir Galahad. Bob Morane is a sometimes an agent of the Time Patrol, an organization from Earth's future that polices the time stream and stops time travelers from disrupting history.

The iconic covers of the books were illustrated by artists such as Pierre Joubert, Henri Lievens and William Vance.