Tonke Dragt was born in Indonesia in 1930. At twelve, she wrote her first book (with a friend) while interned in a camp run by Japanese occupiers. Her family moved to the Netherlands after the war. Dragt studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and became an art teacher. She published her first book in 1961, followed in 1962 by The Letter for the King, which has won numerous awards and has been translated into sixteen languages. Dragt was awarded the Dutch State Prize for Youth Literature and was knighted in 2001.