About

I am Martine, a writer, photographer and researcher who envies the pace of poets and potters. My story is filled with comings and goings; travelling between Kabul and Maastricht, between poetry, fiction and analysis, between complexity and calm.

I’ve spent most of my professional life fascinated by Afghanistan. After a childhood in pre-revolutionary Iran, I returned to the region as an adult and felt like I re-discovered a home I’d forgotten I’d lost. I ended up dividing my time between the Netherlands and the rest of the world.

I worked as an aid worker in Grozny, Chechnya, and in Taliban-ruled Kabul, as a diplomat in Tehran for the Dutch Foreign Service during 911 and its aftermath, and as an analyst and adviser in Afghanistan; first as a political adviser to the EU Special Representative in Kabul and independent analyst advising the Netherlands Embassy on their work in Uruzgan, then in 2009 I co-founded the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) in Kabul, where for many years I was co-director and senior analyst. I am currently back working with AAN, after a break of a few years.

I started writing my novel while still working in Afghanistan. It grapples with thorny questions of aid, intervention and conflict, and what to do when what you’re trying isn’t working, but leaving will also make things worse. The book is finished and looking for a home.

If you need a more formal bio, have a look here.

You can reach me here if we need to talk and you can sign up for my newsletter below (which at some point will come out), if you simply want to follow along.