Winter, Leon de 1954-

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Winter, Leon de 1954-


Born February 26, 1954, in Hertogenbosch, Netherlands; married Jessica Durlacher; children: two. Education: Studied at Netherlands Film Academy.


Writer, producer, and director. University of California, Berkeley, guest lecturer, 2005.


Eerste Amsterdamse Filmassociatie (cofounder).


Reina Prinsen Geerligsprijs, 1978, for De (Ver)Wording van de Jongere Dürer; Buber-Rosenzweig-Medaille, 2005, for fighting against anti-Semitism and racism.


Over de Leegte in de Wereld: Prozateksten, Uitgeverij in de Knipscheer (Haarlem, Netherlands), 1976.

De (Ver)Wording van de Jongere Dürer, In de Knipscheer (Haarlem, Netherlands), 1978.

La place de la Bastille: Vertelling, In de Knipscheer (Haarlem, Netherlands), 1981.

Kaplan (novel), Bezige Bij (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1986.

Eergisteren, overmorgen, In de Knipscheer (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1990.

Hoffman's honger (novel), De Bezige Bij (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1990, translation by Arnold and Erica Pomerans published as Hoffman's Hunger, André Deutsch (London, England), 1995.

Een abessijnse woestijnkat, In de Knipscheer (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1991.

Supertex (novel), De Bezige Bij (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1991.

De ruimte van Sokolov (novel; title means "Sokolov's Space"), Bezige Bij (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1992.

De verhalen (short stories), De Knipscheer (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1993.

Zionoco (novel), Bezige Bij (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1995.

Serenade, De Bezige Bij (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1995.

Lady Di in een bevallige pose, In de Knipscheer (Amster-dam, Netherlands), 1996.

De hemel van Hollywood (novel; title means "The Hollywood Sign"), Bezige Bij (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1997.

God's Gym (novel), Bezige Bij (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2002.

(Author of foreword) Johan Boef, Ariel Sharon: Koning Van Israel, Aspekt (Soesterberg, Netherlands), 2005.

Author of television and screenplays, including De Verwording van Herman Dürer (and director), 1979; Dr. Faustus, 1983; Bastille, 1984; De Grens (and director), 1984; Zoeken naar Eileen (and producer), 1987; Bij Nader Inzien, 1991; De Johnsons, 1992; Hoffman's Honger (and director), 1993; The Hollywood Sign (and producer), 2001; and Supertex, 2003. Contributor to periodicals, including Trouw, Elsevier, Welt, and Spiegel.


Leon de Winter is a Dutch writer and a film producer and director. Born in Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, on February 26, 1954, he was a founding member of the Eerste Amsterdamse Filmassociatie. De Winter studied at the Netherlands Film Academy but pursued other options instead of finishing his degree. Along with his wife, Jessica Durlacher, he served as a guest lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2005. That same year, he also received the Buber-Rosenzweig-Medaille for fighting against anti-Semitism and racism. He is a contributor to a number of periodicals, including Trouw, Elsevier, Welt, and Spiegel.

De Winter published his first book, Over de Leegte in de Wereld: Prozateksten, in 1976. This was followed by De (Ver)Wording van de Jongere Dürer in 1978. He received the Reina Prinsen Geerligsprijs for this account in 1978. In 1981 de Winter published La place de la Bastille: Vertelling. In 1986 de Winter published the novel Kaplan. This was followed in 1990 with the publication of Eergisteren, overmorgen.

De Winter published the novel, Hoffman's honger, in 1990. The English translation by Arnold and Erica Pomerans was published in 1995 as Hoffman's Hunger. Marking the first novel of de Winter's to be translated into English, Hoffman's Hunger uses food as an analogy for emotional hunger. Dutch diplomat Felix Hoffman finds himself achieving his professional goal of being named ambassador in Prague, but beneath the surface of his career success, he hides the fact that he sees himself as a failure in life and a perpetual outsider. After the death of his twin daughters, his relationship with his wife Marian declined, and he is still haunted by terrible memories from living through the Holocaust. Hoffman finds solace in food initially but later looks to the philosophies of Spinoza. His affair with Czech journalist Irena Nova, who works as a double agent, seals his political fate as he is easily enticed to share state secrets with his substitute lover.

A contributor to the Midwest Book Review, who "highly recommended" the account, wrote that it "is a sophisticated novel that is an extraordinary work of articulate fiction." A contributor to Publishers Weekly observed that the author's "original slant on a straightforward plot of Eastern bloc intrigue creates a resonant portrait of a conflicted man in a conflicted era." A critic writing in Kirkus Reviews commented that "the pre-Velvet Revolution Czech setting is an effective backdrop for 20th-century angst and alienation." The same critic proposed that, "hopefully," this novel will be "the first of many works in English from this talented novelist." Emily Benson, reviewing the novel in Library Journal, "recommended" the novel, noting that "this book will prove a satisfying read for anyone who has an appetite for Spinoza with their spy thrillers."

In 1991 de Winter published the novel Supertex, which was turned into a screenplay in 2003. The story centers on the Jewish businessman and Holocaust survivor Simon Breslauer and his two sons, Max and Boy, who live in Amsterdam. Simon teaches his sons the importance of a formal education and managerial skills, despite not having finished school himself. The family splits, however, after Max branches out on his own after finding out that his father is having an affair, his brother has something similar to a breakdown after a tragic business trip to Morocco, and his own ideas and plans to modernize the family business enterprise are rejected flatly. Max's girlfriend disagrees with his choice to leave, and he comes to face his personal reality, learning about who he is, his faith, his ethnic background, and his projected path for the future.

Eddie Cockrell, writing in Variety, called the movie version of the novel "a Euro-made, English-lingo pic that doesn't get lost in translation," adding that it is also "a richly layered and precisely crafted generational drama imbued with whimsical grace." Cockrell pointed out that the "economic decision to shoot in English hasn't dulled the witty wordplay, which gives no hint of being translated from the original Dutch (and is at its best zinging faith based barbs)."

De Winter also published Een abessijnse woestijnkat that same year. In 1992 he published De ruimte vanSokolov, a novel whose title translates to "Sokolov's Space." De Winter published a set of short stories in 1993 called De verhalen.

De Winter published two books in 1995, Serenade and the novel Zionoco. The following year he published Lady Di in een bevallige pose. In 1997 de Winter published the novel De hemel van Hollywood, whose title means "The Hollywood Sign." When the screenplay was made, he served as a producer for the film. De Winter published another novel, God's Gym, in 2002. In 2005 he wrote the foreword for Johan Boef's book, Ariel Sharon: Koning Van Israel.



Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2007, review of Hoffman's Hunger.

Library Journal, October 1, 2007, Emily Benson, review of Hoffman's Hunger, p. 58.

Midwest Book Review, December 1, 2007, review of Hoffman's Hunger.

Publishers Weekly, September 24, 2007, review of Hoffman's Hunger, p. 44.

Spiegel, February 2, 2006, "The Dutch Are Not Afraid of Islam."

Variety, October 20, 2003, Eddie Cockrell, review of Supertex, p. 46.


Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature Web site, (July 9, 2008), author profile.

Internet Movie Database, (July 9, 2008), author profile.

Leon de Winter Home Page, (July 9, 2008).