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Burnout Diary (Burn-out dagboek)



Original Language: Dutch | 291 pp. | April 2018

2 Seas Represents: French & Portuguese Rights

Full English translation available

Over 2,500 copies sold

Selected for the Spring 2018 ’10 Titles from Holland’ brochure of the Dutch Foundation for Literature

Nijgh & van Ditmar


‘Hartjes’s style often moves the reader, and she infuses her simply-drawn characters with a wonderful depth of emotion, perhaps thanks to the familiar situations.’ —

‘Her completely individual style and the way she is building a consistent and self-contained oeuvre makes Maaike Hartjes a unique comic artist. Her trademark is a style that can best be described as expressive minimalism. In a period when the comic world was still a thoroughly male stronghold, she stole all the laughs.’ Jury report Stripschapprijs 2016

One of Holland’s new wave of autobiographical cartoonists explores what it means to have work-related burnout. She sets out to understand how things got to that point and how it might be possible to lead a more balanced life in the future. Burnout Diary is an appealing and instructive personal study of a difficult period, similar to the works of Roz Chast and David Small. In this graphic novel, Hartjes seems to have found the ideal form to explore a heavy subject with a light touch.

A raw and honest graphic novel about a workaholic’s process of recovery.

After a long, frustrating assignment, illustrator Maaike Hartjes suddenly finds herself unable to do anything anymore. Even the thought of work is too much for her. When a month of rest bring little improvement, she tries to motivate herself by keeping a diary, but in her own, unique way: with drawings and collages.

In Burnout Diary, Maaike Hartjes gives the reader a look at this diary. We read about her panic attacks, fatigue and depressive feelings, but also about her search for solutions. Because why can’t she ever turn work down? Why is nothing ever enough for her? And why does she suffer from a burnout, while others don’t? Maaike talks to friends and colleagues about how they deal with stress and she analyses her own thoughts and feelings honestly. She tells her story with humour, imagination and perspective, in colourful drawings.

Burnout Diary is not a self-help book, but an appealing and informative personal account of a difficult period, which Maaike overcomes through optimism, support from her close circle and self-reflection. The unique, graphic representation is not only pleasing to the eye, but it gives some air to this heavy subject and makes it clear and understandable.

Maaike Hartjes (1972) started drawing her autobiographical comics in Kindergarten. During her studies at HKU, she compiled Old Cake Comix, a book with comics by female artists. Together with Barbara Stok and Gerrie Hondius she gained the nickname ‘the Big Three (of the autobiographical graphic novel). Hartjes drew for many magazines and newspapers Trouw and De Volkskrant. More than ten collections of her comics were made. In 2016, she won the Stripschapsprijs, the only Dutch oeuvre prize for graphic novelists.