Most recent novels in English

A Library to Flee

Translated by Henrietta Rose-Innes

ISBN: 9780624091059

In Love’s Place

Translated by Leon de Kock

ISBN: 9780143538134

  • Read the first chapter of Etienne van Heerden’s novel In Love’s Place here. [08.2013]

Also available in Afrikaans and Dutch.

30 Nights in Amsterdam [Click here for the full cover spread.]

Translated by Michiel Heyns

ISBN: 9780143026778

Also available in Afrikaans and Dutch.

Latest novels in Afrikaans

Die biblioteek aan die einde van die wêreld

ISBN: 9780624089216
Date released: November 2019

Literary award: UJ Prize for Literature

Click here for more content relating to this publication.

Die wêreld van Charlie Oeng

Tafelberg Publishers
ISBN: 9780624080527
Date released: July 2017

Tian Kilian’s parents were murdered in front of him on the night of the fireworks. Now he wanders from Amsterdam to the East, always on the trail of Charlie Oeng, alias Gelatenheid, alias Chinees, once a Hollywood extra but to Tian, the main player. Fact and fantasy are charmingly entangled in this ambitious, astounding novel.


Publisher: Tafelberg
ISBN: 9780624057796
Date released: September 2013

“Van Heerden is ’n stilis wat deurgaans met die taal speel soos Ludo klimtol speel. Hy ken al die trieks van vertel en benut hulle effektief.”
Review by Willie Burger: Van Heerden ken nes klimtolspeler die trieks [10.2013]

“Van Heerden se Klimtol is ’n pragtige, oortuigende en onthutsende roman met elemente van die speurverhaal, ’n verhaal oor die hardepad wat die lewe soms met mens loop, maar ook oor spel en ekstase, en die plek waar mens jouself vind as jy jouself verloor … daardie plek waar jy jou rede laat skietgee en blindelings vertrou. Dit is ’n konfronterende roman oor oorlewing, skuld en boete (individueel en gemeenskaplik), oor medepligtigheid en medemenslikheid. Klimtol, een van die hoogtepunte in Van Heerden se oeuvre, is boonop ’n mooi ode aan die eenvoud van die vissersdorplewe en die Weskus.” – Review by Annemarié van Niekerk: Van Heerden ken nes klimtolspeler die trieks [10.2013]

Klimtol is een rijk boek, een boek met diverse hoofdpaadjes en veel kurkentrekkerpaadjes.’ Een prachtige, sfeervolle roman.” –
Read the complete review by Evert Woutersen in Literair Nederland. [02.2014]

Literary award:

• WA Hofmeyr Award

30 nagte in Amsterdam

Tafelberg Publishers
ISBN: 9780624049326
Date released: 25 June 2008

Click here for more info on 30 nagte in Amsterdam.

  • Hertzog-prys 2010
  • UJ-prys vir beste skeppende skryfwerk in Afrikaans 2009
  • M-Net-toekenning vir beste oorspronklike roman in Afrikaans 2009
  • WA Hofmeyr-prys 2009

Also available in English and Dutch.

Other novels


Tafelberg Publishers
ISBN: 9780624045755
Date released: October 2007

Available in Afrikaans.

In stede van die liefde

Tafelberg Publishers
ISBN: 9780624043249
Date released: October 2005

Available in Afrikaans, Dutch and English.

“Liefhebbers van die Afrikaanse prosa koester hoë verwagtinge van Etienne van Heerden as die intellektuele prins van die Afrikaanse Tagtiger-generasie.”

In stede van die liefde: Etienne van Heerden se Gesamtkunstwerk
– LitNet – Andries Visagie

“Etienne van Heerden verwys op ’n keer in hierdie boek na ’n gebeurtenis, wat later dorpslegende sal word, as ‘’n storie wat in die jare wat voorlê vlerke sou kry; ’n storie wat al verder gaan draai, maar alyd huis toe kom; ’n swerm stories eintlik later, ’n hele bontspul klapperverhale wat op winde bons’.”

“’n Dieretuin van die onbewuste: Etienne van Heerden se In stede van die liefde  
– Die Vrye Afrikaan – Desmond Painter

In de plaats van liefde heet de nieuwe roman van Etienne van Heerden. Daarin compenseert kunsthandelaar Christian zijn gemis aan liefde en geborgenheid met cocaïne en prostitueebezoek. Christians kilte, verwarring en cynisme slaan ook over op de lezer. Dat is knap gedaan door Van Heerden, maar ook enigzins onbevredigend.”

“Niemand is hier nog veilig”  
– Trouw, 2 december 2006 – Annemarié van Niekerk

The Long Silence of Mario Salviati

Regan Books / HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780060529734  / 9780060530143
Date released: 2003/2004

Also available in Afrikaans, Dutch, German, Greek and Russian.

“… spellbinding …”
The Northern Echo, UK

“Hauntingly rendered …”
The Good Book Guide, UK

“Perfect portrait of the makings of a rainbow nation … breathtaking … from the first page to the last …”
Lincolnshire Echo, UK

“Van Heerden brings the people, the spirits and even the terrain of Yearsonend to gorgeous life … a rich novel … (which) manages to encapsulate the tumultuous history of South Africa … The sprawling story, eccentric ghosts and plucky heroine make The Long Silence of Mario Salviati as compelling as any page-turner, but Van Heerden’s rich prose and nuanced explorations of race, greed, passion and the history of South Africa elevate the novel into the realm of lasting literature.”
The San Franciso Chronicle, San Francisco, USA

“Spanning wars, lives, and continents, this novel unites readers through its beauty as well as the moments of pain and glory in which the characters find themselves, in every chapter and on every page.”
– The Daily Iowan, Iowa City, USA

“A compelling story. The sort of book a reader can get lost in … It is a novel washed in history and lingers afterward like a memory of a place one might have visited.”
– Mike Nicol, author of The Ibis Tapestry.

“A candidate for the Great South African novel … Van Heerden controls his craft like no other.”
De Volkskrant, Amsterdam, Netherlands

“Van Heerden’s words blast the reader’s mind through a clear, blue African sky.”
The Telegraph, London, UK

“Dazzling storytelling magically weaves the fantastical with the everyday and lends a compelling power to the author’s meditations on history, art and life.”
The Guardian, London, UK

“With his latest novel, translated from Afrikaans, van Heerden has lived up to his reputation as the South African Marquez. … This is a wondrous tale, weaving magic realism and history, in which van Heerden captures the stark beauty of the Karoo and its people.”
The Times, London, UK

“If ever a book captured the static charge of a sunbaked landscape, it’s Etienne van Heerden’s magical fifth novel set in a fictional town in the South African Karoo desert … The tales (Ingi) hears are romantic, tragic, funny and bloody, preserved like fossils in sandstone: richly packed but often distorted.”
Daily Telegraph, London, UK

“Professor van Heerden weaves many a spell in this engrossing tale.”
Choice magazine, UK

“A new literary star is emerging.”
OK! magazine, UK

“The novel is a complex tale, full of richly drawn characters from the last 150 years of South African history … You are drawn in to the secrets of Yearsonend and its people as Ingi loses her outsider’s perspective and learns to see events through the villagers’ eyes.  It’s a fascinating transformation.”
The Big Issue in the North, USA

“It is, indeed, a magical book.”
PopMatters, USA

“There is every chance the reader will fall in love with everything about this book and its characters …”
– Lincolnshire Echo, USA

“Rich in insight and hope … an impressively colorful picture of a fascinating and contradictory country … As writers like Marquez gave a rich artistic depth to South America – and Alasdair Gray defined the imaginative landscape of Scotland in Lanark  so Van Heerden has created an ‘artistic map’ of South Africa …”
Scotsman, UK

“Fantastical and outrageous … Exuberant and imaginative …”
Independent, UK

“It’s easy to see why Van Heerden is being described as an Afrikaans Marquez … an exceptionally gifted writer.”
Scotland on Sunday, UK

“Rich and absorbing …”
Sunday Herald, UK

“Immaculately constructed, well-told and evocatively rendered …”
Sunday Times, South Africa

“This sinewy novel ambitiously covers a great swathe of history — the Boer War up until the election of the first post-apartheid government in South Africa and everything in between — and it sets out, too, to map the human heart. Van Heerden succeeds by presenting a glittering array of characters with often symbolic names whose pasts and presents intertwine, often with disturbing results …”
The New Zealand Herald, NZ

Ancestral Voices

Viking / Penguin
ISBN: 9780140122145  / 9780670828319 / 9780143528531
Date released: 1989/1992/2012

Also available in Afrikaans (Toorberg), Dutch, French, German, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish.

“It reminds one of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Garcia Marquez: The history of a country and a
nation told in the form of a family chronicle – realistic but visionary, fantastic, mythical.”
– JA Dautzenberg, De Volkskrant, Netherlands

“The hand of a master.”
NRC Handelsblad, Amsterdam, Netherlands

“Etienne van Heerden is the brightest light in the firmament of younger Afrikaans writers and his exploration of personal relations and private lives under the pressure of historical and political forces makes him an eloquent witness of this moment of profound social change in the country.”
– André Brink, author
of The Rights of Desire


ISBN: 9780795700798
Date released: 1 January 2002

Also available in Afrikaans and Dutch.

Kikuyu is a deeply moving account of the influence of family in the making of an identity and a novel. Its sensitive depiction of the ordinariness of our sorrows, of the banality of our hopes and sufferings, places it among the very finest novels produced in this country.”
The Sunday Times, South Africa

Leap Year

ISBN: 9780140262162 / 9780143528524
Date released: 1997/2012

Also available in Afrikaans and Dutch.

“Etienne van Heerden has a glittering track record … the novel is a courageous, sophisticated engagement with that diseased Hydra, South Africa in transition.”
Mail and Gaurdian, South Africa

Casspirs and Camparis

ISBN: 9780670844739
Date released: October 1993

Also available in Afrikaans and Dutch.

“A brilliant exposé of our present day society.”
Cape Times, Cape Town, South Africa

“A consummate feat of fictional architecture … a masterful work …”
The Weekly Mail, South Africa

“A brilliant twist of history …”
The Sunday Times, South Africa


ISBN: 9780628014481
Date released: 1978

Only available in Afrikaans.

Om te awol

Tafelberg Publishers
ISBN: 9780624020899
Date released: 1984

Only available in Afrikaans.