Maria Dermoût (1888-1962) was born on a sugar plantation in the Dutch East Indies and educated in Holland. She then returned to the Indies with her husband, a jurist, and spent thirty years living in, she later wrote, “every town and wilderness of the islands of Java, Celebes, and the Moluccas.” In 1951, at the age of sixty-three, Dermoût published her first book, a memoir called Yesterday
. Her celebrated novel The Ten Thousand Things
was published in 1955.