Louis Paul Boon (15 March 1912 - 10 May 1979) was a Flemish journalist and novelist who is considered one of the major 20th century writers in the Dutch language. He forsook the literary Dutch of the Netherlands for regional Flemish words and expressions with which he colored his writing.
Born Lodewijk Paul Aalbrecht Boon in Aalst, Belgium to a working-class family, Boon left school at age 16 to work for his father as a carriage painter. During evenings and weekends he studied art at the Aalsterse Academie voor Schone Kunsten but soon had to abandon this because of lack of funds.
Boon discovered he had a talent for writing and found work as a journalist, first for De Rode Vaan (1945-1946), Front (1946-1947) and De Vlaamse Gids (1948). Later he contributed to the newspaper Vooruit after which he established himself as a freelancer. In subsequent years, Boon divided his energies between a constant stream of novels and journalistic pieces for Het Parool, De Zweep, Zondagspost. and other newspapers and magazines.
In 1969, he stopped with writing -- except for his "Boontjes" columns -- and devoted himself to painting in his home in Erembodegem, where he died in 1979 at age 67.
Boon's literary legacy is a varied one, ranging from journalistic pieces on Belgian politics and society to erotic novelas. In historical novels such as De Bende van Jan de Lichte, De zoon van Jan de Lichte, De Zwarte Hand, and Daens, he depicted the oppression of the working class in 19th century Flanders; in his controversial Geuzenboek, he wrote of the Spanish domination of the Low Countries in the 16th century. Nearly all of Boon's work was infused by his profound commitment to socialism; in experimental, modernistic works such as Vergeten straat, Boon projected an ideal society but at the same time shared his doubts as to whether human nature could achieve utopia.
Boon was thought to have been shortlisted for a Nobel Prize in Literature in the late 1970s. Very little of his writing has been translated into English.
De voorstad groeit (1941)
Abel Gholaerts (1944)
Vergeten straat (1946)
Mijn kleine oorlog (1946)
De Kapellekensbaan (1953)
Zomer te Ter-Muren (1956)
De zoon van Jan de Lichte (1962)
Dorp in Vlaanderen (1966)
Geniaal, maar met korte beentjes (1967)
Wat een leven (1967)
Over mijn boeken (1969)