Photo Credit: Malu De Bont

Photo Credit: Malu De Bont

All Ships Follow Me.jpg

Additional Writing:
Best Travel Writing 2011

Norton’s Flakes: An Anthology of Psuedo-Interviews, Faux Lectures, Quasi-Letters, “Found Text,” and Other Fraudulent Artifacts

A Book of Uncommon Prayer

Winner of the Walton Sustainability Essay Award, and featured as a notable essay in Best American Science and Nature Writing 2015.

Mieke Eerkens

Mieke Eerkens was born in Los Angeles, California to Dutch parents and has spent her life in hyphenation. She considers herself lucky to have dual citizenship and has a unique understanding of both cultures. Perhaps because of this sense of being a "citizen of the world", Mieke spent her life exploring and learning in many corners of the planet, from drama school in London (Mountview) to running away with the circus in New York (Cirque du Soleil and Big Apple Circus.) She has lived in Greece and Amsterdam at various times, spent a decade in the San Francisco Bay Area where she got her BA in English, got an MA in English Literature in Leiden, and made the move to Iowa City for a position at the University of Iowa's MFA program in Creative Writing in 2011. She now divides her time between Amsterdam and California. She teaches writing for UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program online, and is a visiting instructor for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

Mieke’s work has appeared in outlets such as The Atlantic, Creative Nonfiction, Los Angeles Review of Books, Catapult, The Rumpus, and Guernica, among others. Her work has been anthologized in Best Travel Writing 2011; Norton’s Fakes edited by David Shields; and A Book of Uncommon Prayer. Her book, All Ships Follow Me: A Family Memoir of War Across Three Continents, was released on April 2, 2019 from Picador, and moves from Indonesia to the Netherlands to the United States as Mieke recounts her parents' lives during and after the war, and travels with them in the present day to the sites of their childhoods in an attempt to understand their experiences and how it formed them. All Ships Follow Me is a deeply personal, sweeping saga of the wounds of war, and the way trauma can be passed down through generations.

Eerkens’ poignant book sheds new light on the history of World War II.
— Kirkus Reviews

Eerkens has written an epic account of her family’s colonial and wartime past that reckons with the often mysterious and misunderstood legacy of intergenerational trauma. Lyric, meditative, and deeply reported, this is an essential book that reveals so much about what we need to know about being human.
— Jennifer Percy, author of DEMON CAMP: A SOLDIER'S EXORCISM
[Eerkens] takes an unflinching and riveting look at the complex histories of both sides of her family and the persistent if invisible legacies of World War II and colonialism that followed her to her childhood home in Southern California.
— Robin Hemley, author of NOLA: A MEMOIR OF FAITH, ART AND MADNESS
Mieke Eerkens asks what it means to be at once a victim, a colonist, and a collaborator. All Ships Follow Me is an important work of literary nonfiction and essential reading for Americans wondering about the responsibility they bear in the modern age.
— Kerry Howley, author of THROWN
A war memoir that reads as hauntingly and movingly as a novel...[A] fresh and courageous look at Dutch, and indeed global, history, and as importantly, at her parents, whose personal growth, strength, and perseverance are nothing short of marvelous. Highly recommended.
— Historical Novel Society
Eerkens’s self-awareness and desire to honestly grapple with the history in front of her is worth every sentence. Reality is never an absolute, and truth is always messy.
— Book Riot
Setting her book within the chaotic and tragic aftermath of World War II, Mieke Eerkens has composed a provocative and beautiful story in All Ships Follow Me that boldly tightens its aperture on a single family’s experience, and unflinchingly exposes the welts of history that can affect us all, and the inheritance of a sorrow we share.
— John D'Agata, author of ABOUT A MOUNTAIN