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Sani van Bussum (1876–1933)

Author of Een bewogen vrijdag op de Breestraat

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Short biography
Sani van Bussum was the pen name of Sientje Prijes, born to a Jewish working class family in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her parents were Moritz Prijes, a watchmaker, and his wife Marianne Speijer. After leaving school, she became a seamstress, much to her disappointment. In 1897, she joined the SDAP (Social Democratic Workers' Party), and became active in labor union politics. She was finally able to develop her writing talent after the seamstress's association merged with the tailors' association and started a publication, which she served as editor. In 1901, she married Frerich Schmidt, a teacher, with whom she had a daughter. By 1906, she had written some short stories for the labor publication De Proletarische Vrouw (The Proletarian Woman) and other periodicals. She published her first novel, De lamp van den meester (The Lamp of the Master) in 1927, using the pseudonym Sani van Bussum. Her second book, Een bewogen vrijdag op de Breestraat (An Eventful Friday on the Breestraat, 1930) was a well-received historical novel set in the 1870s. Three years later, she published Het Joodsche bruidje (The Jewish Bride), a novel based on the life of her uncle and aunt. Sani's literary fame was overshadowed in her last years by the death of her 24-year-old daughter and by a debilitating disease. She died in 1933, a few days after publication of The Jewish Bride. An autobiographical work called In de Gouden Klok (In the Golden Bell) appeared posthumously later that year. In 1995, a private archive held by her niece was revealed to contain many unpublished poems and short stories, as well as a large-scale philosophical-literary work called Frigga and Loki.
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