Winner of the 2018 Costa Book of the Year Award, The Cut Out Girl is Oxford University professor Bart van Es’ deeply moving and gripping history of WWII’s hidden children.

Described as the ‘gem of the year’ by the judges, The Cut Out Girl tells the extraordinary real story of Lien de Jong, who was hidden from the Nazis in the homes of an underground network of foster families (including Bart’s grandparents) in the Netherlands. Her parents didn’t survive Auschwitz. 

Bart joins us to discuss his profound investigation into the fate of the Jewish children his Dutch resistance grandparents sheltered, and their post-war estrangement from one.

Through this award-winning book, Bart tells a story about the ways our most painful experiences – so crucial in defining us – can also be redefined.


Bart van Es (United Kingdom )

Bart van Es

Bart van Es is a Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St. Catherine’s College. He is the author of Spenser’s Forms of History, Shakespeare in Company, and Shakespeare’s Comedies He was born in the Netherlands and now lives with his family in England.

Sarah Kanowski (Australian)

Sarah Kanowski

Sarah Kanowski hosts ABC Radio’s Conversations on Thursdays and Fridays. Before joining Conversations permanently in 2018, Sarah co-presented ABC RN’s Books and Arts. She studied English at the University of Oxford, where she wrote a thesis on the Mosley family. Sarah then spent a year in South America before heading to Hobart to edit the literary magazine Island. Grandparents and sunshine beckoned her back to Brisbane where she now lives with her husband and three children.