In an inimitable style, Booker Prize Nominee Jaap Robben tells the story of a fly, from the moment it enters the world as a larva right up to its deathbed. Fly befriends a buzzard and throws himself into life with gusto, however short it may be. The story was initially written for a Dutch literary festival. A small story in 25 short chapters that were turned into posters at bus stops or in the street that you could read while walking or biking throughout the city of Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Biography of a Fly is a story of discovery, friendship and transience. The first print of 3000 copies was sold in less than 2 months in the Netherlands, when bookshops weren't even open! Different covers exist for the title, as Loopvis and the binder used residual linen material from previous binding. Review newspaper Trouw: `A fly isn’t born; a fly wakes up somewhere in the middle of its life.’ This is just one of the wonderful sentences from this brilliant biography of a fly, for children aged between 9 and 99. Told via a series of bus stop posters displayed throughout various cities, the story is now available as a beautifully designed mini book with striking illustrations in black and ice blue. Robben convincingly inhabits the role of fly, who is dubbed Poopyfeet by a haughty buzzard. Through the witty dialogue you get a sense that the bird is becoming increasingly fond of fly. Buzzard even whispers something in Fly’s ear about breeding. ‘”Me?” asked fly. “Already? But I’m only two weeks old.”’ But than he meets a female butterfly who smells deliciously like a compost heap. Readers will be moved by the tragedy of this fly’s life -he will never meet his children- and especially the beautiful death scene. He slowly shrinks and his legs retract towards his thorax: `A fly can’t hug itself, but perhaps that was what he was trying to do.’ Ultimatly, this turns out to be a story about how we are all alone in life, and yet also together.


  • 64 pages
  • 12.2 x 17.4 centimeters
  • 2 colors
  • Hardcover and clothbound, with linen cover

Rights available for...

  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Spanish
  • French
  • English
  • Portuguese (Europe)