I was born in Belgium and have lived in Melbourne (Australia) since 1978. I have worked as a teacher and lecturer in education; and as a policy adviser and project manager in child protection and public mental health. I now work as an independent writer and as a part-time volunteer, teaching English to recently arrived migrants and refugees.
My debut novel, The Best of Intentions (2018), is a tale about young people at risk. Set in Melbourne in 2009, it tells the story of Kurt, a disillusioned case worker struggling in an under-resourced child protection system. When he takes on the case of Gecko, a sixteen-year-old with a traumatic past and a shaky future, he is determined to make a difference. But the best of intentions are not enough.
My short stories explore events from my youth in Belgium. I am interested in how memory and language can revitalise or constrain story telling. I like to restore energy to significant events that have become shallow from frequent re-telling.
I am married and have two adult daughters. I love animals — cats and goats in particular. My family is my anchor, writing my passion and Zen my compass. Buddhism, for me, is not about religion, but about the transformation of unhelpful behaviours. People can change, no matter how difficult their circumstances, just like the lotus plant can transform the murkiness in which it is rooted into a stunning flower.
Gilbert F. J. Van Hoeydonck