At age 12, he had written a novel, Vaargeulen (in English, Channels). His father, who himself wrote the novel Gepantserde beschaving (Armoured civilization), sent his son's novel to Stijn Streuvels, who returned the novel unread, but with an accompanying letter full of recommendations. The manuscript was lost during an air raid in 1943, which devastated their house. He wrote a number of poems and stories, some of which were published in the daily Het Vlaamsche land.
After he finished high school in 1947, he attended the University of Ghent to study Germanic philology. He dropped out after a year, as the death of his older brother in 1948 affected h im deeply. He wrote five poems on this occasion, and which were distributed among family and friends as a souvenir.
He had worked as a translator, for a traveling agency and at an oil company, he was appointed curator of the picture collection of the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp. He married Alice Burm, and together they have one son, Chris.
His collection of poems, Fanaal in de mist (1956), was awarded the Poëzieprijs der Algemene Kunstkamer in België. In 1957, he published the short story De ontaarde slapers, about one of his main themes -- the unequal battle between individuals and their communities.
His most read book Wierook en tranen (Incense and tears) was published in 1958. In 1961, with the novel Het dal van Hinnom he broke with church and society. In 1964, he moved to Pulle, and wrote the novel Het reservaat about the illusion of individual freedom. He won the Prijs voor Letterkunde van de Vlaamse provincies for this work. In 1966, he wrote the bittersweet fairy tale Golden Ophelia.
During the sixties and seventies he traveled a great deal, to research magazine articles, and visited Poland, the Soviet Union, Canada and Argentina. In 1975, he became a member of The Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium, and he became its President in 1985. In 1980, he is awarded the first Europalia prize for his entire oeuvre.
Ward Ruyslinck retired in 1984. After his wife died in 1990, he moved to Meise. He lives there now with Monika Lo Cascio, and together they wrote De speeltuin in 1992.
Ruyslinck's work combines social commitment with a pessimistic view of life, and humor and satire. Several of his works were adapted for theatre. De slakken, Golden Ophelia and Wierook en tranen were made into movies.
EBERTIE: DE LOST CHAPTER; in a Major Exclusive (with Tongue Firmly in Cheek), the Mail Publishes a Missing Chapter from Bertie's Memoirs in Which He Details with His Customary Modesty His Role as an International Peacemaker
Oct 17, 2009; Byline: by Iar Nortsoide Taoiseach ONE Monday mornin in October 1998, I was woken by de sound of de phone ringin. De bedside...