Bart van Es was born in the Netherlands and grew up in Norway, Dubai, and Indonesia as part of an expatriate family, being schooled in both English and Dutch. Having moved to the UK in 1986, he went on to study English Literature at Cambridge and is now Professor of English at Oxford. His academic books include Shakespeare in Company, which traced the original actors of Shakespeare’s plays, and Shakespeare’s Comedies.
In 2014 Van Es began to look into his family’s wartime history, knowing that his grandparents had been part of the Dutch resistance. He also knew of a Jewish girl, Lien, who had lived in hiding with the Van Es family during the occupation. In December of that year he first met Lien, now aged 82, who was by then living in Amsterdam. He began the first of a series of interviews that formed the basis for a reconstruction of her life.
The Cut Out Girl is the outcome of Bart’s quest to recover Lien’s story. It won the Costa Book of the Year 2018 and the Slightly Foxed First Biography Prize. Translations are out or forthcoming in fourteen languages. Bart and Lien are still in regular contact and they and their families have become close friends.