Fiction. Translated from the Dutch by Susan Ridder. THE INSTITUTE is a beautifully written boarding school novel about a boy who is searching for his identity and a sense of security. It is both hilarious and moving, and paints a frank picture of the 1970s, when 'everything had to be tried out.' Otto Iking is an outsider, at home as well as at the boarding school for the blind, but he is also an observer. Otto looks at the world around him with an unpitying sense of humour. He observes the other children as well as the carers and teachers, who aim to prepare their pupils for the able-bodied world which 'can be very tough.' He discovers his feelings for Sonia, a fellow student, and he makes plans for a rescue mission to liberate hostages in the notorious Moluccan hijacking case in Bovensmilde. But most of all, he wants to escape from the institution for the blind to a school for sighted children. Otto doesn't want sympathy. He can see a future: working for the radio. In short, a novel about a boy with remarkable powers of observation.
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Vincent Bijlo is a Dutch stand-up comedian, columnist, musician and author. Many appearances on TV, radio and in the theatre have made him a household name in the Netherlands. He studied Dutch language and literature at the University of Utrecht, and in 1988 he won the public's prize and the best personality prize at the Cabaret Festival in Leiden. This was the start of Bijlo's successful career as a stand-up comedian. He wrote many theatre shows, from Made in Braille in 1989 to his current tour of Het nieuwe nu (The New Present). In 2016/17, he appears together with The Rosettis, his wife Mariska Reijmerink is one of its members, in Op Woeste Hoogte (Wuthering Heights), a musical theatre production about the Brontë family. Vincent is a well- known radio presenter and columnist for one of the Dutch national newspapers. Dutch publishing house De Arbeiderspers published his four novels: Het instituut in 1998, Achttienhoog in 2001, De woordvoerder in 2003 and De Ottomaanse herder in 2009. Vincent Bijlo was born blind.Author City: BUNNIK HOL