Erik Vrij

Biography

I have been a banking and investment lawyer with global banks since 1997, having worked out of Amsterdam, Singapore and currently Abu Dhabi. My wife is a lawyer as well and we have a wonderful miniature dachshund dog and a horse. During my time as a law student, I became active as a director and editor of a few publications of ELSA, a large European association of law students. The creative process of developing and producing books and other publications made me passionate about writing and publishing. 

My legal work in international investment management and wholesale banking inspired me to take on the challenge of writing a legal thriller, set in the world of business instead of the more common court room thrillers. I gave it the title WITTE INKT (White Ink) and worked on it for a very long time, writing much of it on my mobile phone underway to work. Later on I decided to take it more seriously and aimed to have it published. I took a course on making my literary debut with a leading literary agent, read about writing techniques, corrected a lot of what I had written, sent a proposal to three publishers and was rejected by them. Early 2013 I unexpectedly found a leading law publisher – Sdu Uitgevers –  interested to publish the book as part of its criminal law portfolio that same year. I went through a quick process of finishing the story and editing. I was thrilled that my book was being published as first work of fiction ever published by this reputable former publishing house of the Dutch government and royal family in its 200 years of history, founded by the first King of the Netherlands.

My Dutch language business thriller debut WITTE INKT was published in September 2013. It became one of the ten most remarkable thriller debuts of 2013 in the Netherlands on the Netherlands leading thriller website crimezone.nl (currently Hebban.nl). I self published a professionally translated English edition in cooperation with Sdu Uitgevers – WHITE INK – in 2015. It was crowdfunded on Kickstarter.com where it reached the number 1 position in the fiction publishing project category for some time, supported by people in over 30 countries.

In 2018 I relocated for work to Abu Dhabi. I became inspired by the view from my apartment over two magic looking palaces, and by the famous 1001 Arabian Nights to write fairy tales, a genre I wanted to try out at least once in my life. I wanted to produce a wonderful looking classic fairy tales book with a financial setting that would be a tribute to my time in Abu Dhabi. Ideally with my home and palace view included on the cover in Arabic calligraphy. An Emirati friend referred me to calligraphy artist who turned out to be the Gulf Region’s most celebrated calligraphy artist according to Vogue Arabia – Wissam Shawkat. He was immediately as enthusiastic as I was to work on a classic fairy tale book and to design the title and calligraphy I had in mind. I meanwhile wrote about 25 short financial fairy tales, turning many of the Arabian 1001 Night and other famous fairy tales’ narrative into a financial setting. The book was written, edited, designed, crowdfunded on Kickstarter again and self-published in a little over a year, in November 2020.