Latest Articles, Columns, Short Stories

On a still summer night in Amsterdam’s old quarter, Pia de Jong gives birth to a delicate, bright-eyed baby girl with a riddle on her back―a pale blue spot that soon multiplies. Soon, a doctor reveals the devastating answer: it is a rare and deadly form of leukemia, often treated with chemotherapy, a cure nearly as dangerous to a newborn as the disease itself. Pia and her husband Robbert decide not to subject Charlotte to chemotherapy. Instead, they transform their canal house into a sanctuary where Charlotte can live surrounded by love, where Pia can give her a chance to live. In return, Charlotte gives her mother the greatest gift of all: purpose.

Share this article

The Perfect Egg

Thrive Global

-Screen Shot 2017 05 14 At 4 32 28 Pm

Every morning at breakfast, ever since the day she first started using sentences with a verb, my daughter has told me her dreams. Breakfast is always an egg, cooked to her preference of six-and-one-half minutes. That is, if the egg has been out of the refrigerator long enough. If I forget to take the egg out the night before, I try to gauge the extra twenty seconds it needs to get it just the way she likes.

Share this article

I'm Nobody! Who are you?

US 1 Newspaper

-Emily Dickinson Eliane
Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

The exhibition I’m Nobody! Who are you? about the poet Emily Dickinson in the New York Morgan Library is deceptively simple. In just a few steps you can cross the small room that contains it. But this is an exhibition that slows down space and time. Just like her poems.

Share this article

Parting Shot: The Invisibles

The Princeton Echo

-The Invisibles Eliane
Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

Princeton has a large Latino community. But none of the white elite knows their stories, or even their names. These are the invisible Princetonians. How would the town function without them?

Share this article

Pia de Jong is a well-known Dutch writer, now living in Princeton and writing for appreciative readers here in the United States. Her acclaimed family memoir, Saving Charlotte, tells of her newborn daughter’s battle with leukemia and the startling decision that led to recovery. De Jong will be in conversation with Sally Magnusson about their shared experience of writing intimate memoirs of family life and illness, and how their stories have had a far-wider impact.

Posted in: Events
Share this article
-Science March Eliane
Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

"What will my child’s world look like in 30 years?” That’s the resonant question asked by a speaker at the Mall in Washington at last weekend’s March for Science. She is under a roof. I’m not, and I am drenched. I look around. A girl is wearing a blue poncho on which is written, I wear this because science told me it was going to rain today. Next to me stands a man holding a hand-scrawled sign: Keep the oceans clean. On his chest, wrapped in a yellow towel, a baby licks the rain off his lips.

Share this article
-X 20170329 1150110357
Charlotte and Pia de Jong (Photo courtesy of Benoit Cortet)

Latino garden workers waiting to be picked up, suburbanites planning summer seaside vacations, young mothers scurrying from SUVs to Pilates class— in a story recently published in The Antioch Review, Pia de Jong nails the details of life in America. The Dutch native has only lived in the U.S. for five years, but so keen are her observational skills that shortly after arrival on American shores, the best-selling Dutch novelist was asked to write a weekly column about life in the U.S. for Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad.

Posted in: Media
Share this article
-Springsteen Eliane
Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

Along the streets near my childhood home in the Limburg region of the Netherlands are roadside chapels with statues of the Virgin Mary. The most devout Dutch will pause in these places of reverence to offer their Hail Marys before going on to work or to play. So, too, in Princeton and in many towns across New Jersey, roads are festooned with statues honoring the Garden State’s own patron saint. People press their fingers on these statues as if they are holy relics.

Posted in: Newspaper Columns
Share this article
Saving Charlotte: A Mother and the Power of Intuition

Now Available for Pre-order

Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-A-Million iBooks IndieBound
Pub Date: July 11, 2017
Sign up to receive occasional updates from Pia about her books, articles, and appearances.