Tonke Dragt was born in 1930 in Jakarta. When she was twelve, she was imprisoned in a Japanese camp during the war, where she wrote her very first book using begged and borrowed paper. After the war, she and her family moved to the Netherlands, where she became an art teacher. In 1962 she published her most famous story, The Letter for the King, which won the Children's Book of the Year Award and has been translated into sixteen languages; its sequel, The Secrets of the Wild Wood, followed in 1965, and both are published by Pushkin Press. Dragt was awarded the State Prize for Youth Literature in 1976 and was knighted in 2001.