Bloem is a second generation Indo immigrant born in a family of 4 children. Her parents, Alexander and Jacqueline Bloem, repatriated from Indonesia in 1950. Her father is a survivor of the Junyo Maru disaster. Bloem, herself a psychologist, is married to Dutch author and physician Ivan Wolffers. She has 1 son named Kaja and 4 grandchildren.
Next to her career as an author and film director, Bloem is also a painter who exhibits around Europe.
Bloem's first short story was published in 1968 when she was only 16 years old. Bloem made her bonafide debut as a writer in 1976, with the book ‘De overgang’ (The transition). She continued to write several more books, including the children’s book ‘Matabia’ in 1981, which received the 'Smelik Prize' by the ‘International Board on Books for Young People’, when in 1983 she published her literary acclaimed breakthrough novel ‘Geen gewoon meisje’, which describes the duality and paradox of an Indo (Eurasian) girl. Followed in 1989 by the novel ‘Vaders van betekenis’, loosely translated to ‘Fathers of importance’, which describes the relationship of an Indo girl towards her Indo parents and Indo father in particular. She continues to write successful books, often around the topics of (Indo) identity and immigration. In 2009 she wrote ‘Vervlochten grenzen’ (Woven borders) about the triangular relationship between the Dutch East Indies, the Netherlands and Indonesia. For this book she received an 'E. du Perron Prize' nomination.
Since her husband was confronted with prostate cancer she developed an interest in this subject and did research amongst couples who had to deal with this disease. The result ended up in the book 'Als je man verandert' which she wrote together with the urologist P.Kil, published in 2010. Her latest novel is 'Meer dan mannelijk' which is a natural consequence of this particular interest.
Her writing style is influenced by the Indo verbal storytelling tradition and the pasar malay language.
Bloem also produced a considerable number of movies and documentaries that have received several cultural awards and nominations. Her 1983 documentary ‘Het land van mijn ouders’ (Land of my parents) received both critical and commercial success. In 2008 her feature film ‘Ver van familie’ (Far from family) was released at the international film festival ‘Film by the sea’ in Vlissingen and the Jakarta International Film Festival. Based on her book of the same name, she wrote the screenplay and directed several Indo icons, including the famous singers Anneke Grönloh and Riem de Wolff (Co-founder of the group the Blue Diamonds). The movie is placed in the USA and Netherlands of the mid-80s and shows the trials and tribulations of an American Indo girl searching for her (family) roots.
Indo identity Much of Bloem's work evolves around an artistic and sincere exploration of Indo identity and culture, which makes her one of the foremost 2nd generation Indo authors and puts her in the tradition of the legendary Tjalie Robinson. Like Robinson who explored and benchmarked his Eurasian identity from a global perspective, Bloem also puts her personal search for (Indo) identity in the broader perspective of immigration and integration.
“Being Indo is just a metaphor for being different.” Marion Bloem, 1983.