Hylke Speerstra was born on a farm near the Frisian village of Tsjerkwert in 1936. He went to agricultural college, but started a career in journalism with a Frisian agricultural journal – a career that would eventually lead him to become editor-in-chief of Friesland’s most important newspaper, the ‘Leeuwarder Courant’. Speerstra admired the ‘new journalism’ and oral history projects of authors like Truman Capote and John Steinbeck and published his first collection of stories (about freight skippers on inland waterways) in 1968.
Speerstra continued to find inspiration in the extraordinary stories of ‘ordinary people’ such as doctors and veterinarians, emigrants and war veterans.
Speerstra writes in Frisian and Dutch. He is one of the most acclaimed authors writing in Frisian today.