Orphaned at eight, at the dawn of WWII, and labelled an enemy of the state

Birgit Treipl (1965) is a Dutch Canadian author, who was born and raised in the Netherlands. Her background in communications, coupled with experience in the advertising world, has honed her storytelling abilities. She is an outdoor enthusiast and currently splits her time between Nelson, British Columbia, and Seabright, Nova Scotia.

Published in Dutch

Birgit’s debut novel was published by HarperCollins Holland in August 2020. The novel was praised by Dutch readers as a page-turner. 

Since then, Birgit took the opportunity of translating her novel into English. Collaborating with Canadian freelance editor Margo LaPierre, they embarked on a substantive, stylistic edit. This effort has resulted in a revised, enriched version of the novel tailored to a North American audience. The English title has yet to be determined. 

The genesis of this book symbolizes the exceptional journey she embarked on alongside her father, Victor. Over six months, they conducted interviews via Skype, forming the bedrock of Birgit’s creative process.

In November 2021, Victor passed away peacefully in his home in France. He was in his 91st year of life.

 

Historical fiction

Hiding behind Bamboo (the literal translation of the Dutch book title) draws from Birgit’s father’s life story, however it artfully weaves together elements of fiction and non-fiction.

It is the compelling story of an Austrian boy called Victor growing up on Java, Indonesia, and orphaned at eight years old, at the dawn of WWII. His world is upended not only by losing his parents but also by being labelled an enemy of the state, which leads to the confiscation of all family possessions. At the heart of the novel lies the relationship between Victor and his aunt—a bond marked by secrets and her desire to reclaim the family’s luxury hotel.

A narrative written in the present tense, through the eyes of the protagonist, that immediately draws you in. It explores themes of survival, resilience, hope and courage, and offers a unique historical perspective.