Fred de Vries is a Dutch freelance writer/journalist, who has lived in Kenya,Uganda,South Africa and Eritrea. He holds a Masters in Geography of the Developing Countries from the University of Utrecht, and a did a post-Masters course in journalism at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, as well as part of a Masters course Themes in Advanced Writing at the University of Witwatersrand.
In 2003 he moved to South Africa for a second time, where he was awarded a writing fellowship with WISER at Wits University to do research for a biography of South Africa’s only Beat-poet Sinclair Beiles, who lived in the infamous Beat Hotel in Paris in de late 50s and worked with William Burroughs and Gregory Corso.
For three years he had a regular interview column for the now defunct Weekender. He is the South Africa correspondent for several Dutch publications, such as Elsevier and De Groene Amsterdammer. He has translated two books from English into Dutch, and has had several of his travel, music, fiction and non-fiction stories published in Dutch and South African collections.
In his previous life he worked as a correspondent and foreign editor for de Volkskrant daily newspaper in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Together with his colleague Toine Heijmans he wrote Respect! in 1998, a book about hiphop inEurope.
In 2006 he published the travelogue Club Risiko, a close and personal look at the underground culture of the eighties in seven cities (Jo’burg, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Berlin, Ljubljana, New York), focusing on the relationship between the city and the post-punk music scene . The book featured Sonic Youth, Crass, Laibach, Einstürzende Neubauten, the Ex, Leos Carax and the utterly obscure South African band Koos. Club Risiko was nominated for the prestigeous Belgian award De Gouden Uil.
Two years later he published a collection with the highlights from his interviews for The Weekender and Empire Magazine. The Fred de Vries Interviews; From Abdullah to Zille contains 39 interviews with more and less famous creative South Africans. One of the highlights is the disastrous 11.49 minutes interview with jazz giant Abdullah Ibrahim, a must-read spread out over almost 2500 words.
His most recent book, Rigtingbedonnerd, a book about the Afrikaners since 1994, was published by Nijgh & Van Ditmar in 2012.
Fred teaches the Allaboutwriting Travel Writing courses.
Respect!; rappen in Fort Europa (together with Toine Heijmans) – de Volkskrant/De Balie, 1998 ISBN 90 6617 218 5
Club Risiko; de jaren tachtig toen en nu – Nijgh & van Ditmar, 2006 ISBN 90 388 74588
The Fred de Vries Interviews – Wits University Press, 2008 ISBN 978 1 86814 469 3
Zes Beetwonden en een tetanusprik (translation of Six Fang Marks and a Tetanus Shot by Richard de Nooy) – Nijgh & van Ditmar, 2008 ISBN 978 90 383 9071 5
Serge Gainsbourg (translation of A Fistful of Gitanes by Sylvie Simmons) – Nijgh & van Ditmar, 2010 ISBN 978 90 388 9391