The Girl With Nine Wigs

“The author, now healthy, renders her tale with a poignant awareness of the joy that is possible even in the most dire circumstances. Readers will swiftly be drawn into this beautifully written story of a brave and quite fascinating young woman.” ―Publishers Weekly (US)

“An extraordinary book from an extraordinary girl.” ―Marie Claire (France)

“[Sophie's diary] will give you goosebumps.” ―Elle Girl (Italy)

“The grandeur of this book does not rest only in the description of pain that Sophie suffered but also the courage with which she suffered it. What Sophie van der Stap has written is truly a masterpiece; she has managed to seize the lightness in the gravest of situations.” ―Der Spiegel (Germany)

Nothing about my first book was planned. I was 21, I got sick - cancer - and in the hospital I learned to write. Somewhere in the midst of this struggle, I picked up a pen and couldn’t put it down. After a year of chemo & wigs, my diary was quite voluminous. It became a book and I became a writer. From the hospital I sent out a few pages to a newspaper and I actually found a publishing house.  Wearing wigs wasn't fun at the beginning. However, as some bad things do, my wigs turned into something good. They gave me the space to explore who I was, or at least, didn't want to be. They helped me cope and forget. 

I was young, 23, when my debut was published and when I was freed of the hospital. I thought I had the worse behind me, and for sure I did, but I wasn’t prepared for the mental challenge that comes with the threat of cancer and death at this age. For many years I lived with the fear that the illness could return; my doctors were not the most optimistic. Looking back I think this made me hold on to the writing more as a lifesaver than as a vocation; for writing stories I didn’t need to follow a programme of carefully chosen career opportunities that required the naturalness of living a full life. Years passed, years in which I forgot more and more about my illness and years in which my writing did become a vocation. I published six more books. I found stories everywhere, and felt an increasing necessity to write them. And since I found a way to speak for and about nature through my storytelling, I feel this urge even deeper. 

The Girl With Nine Wigs has been published in 25 countries and was made into a German movie. The book was nominated for a Dutch Literary Award and Sophie has received several heroic awards for her story. On a TEDx conference she spoke about her story.