Zwagerman made his debut with the novel ''De houdgreep'' in 1986. His second novel, ''Gimmick!'' (1989), was adapted as a play, and reached a much wider audience. He wrote his third book, ''Vals licht'', in 1991 and was awarded the [[ECI Literatuurprijs|AKO Literatuurprijs]]. ''Vals Licht'' was the basis for a movie by [[Theo van Gogh (film director)|Theo van Gogh]] (1993).
More novels followed, including ''Chaos en Rumoer'', ''Zes Sterren'' and ''De buitenvrouw''.
Besides books, Zwagerman also published gedichten en essays. His first collection of poems was published in 1987 ''Langs de doofpot''.
Besides his work as a writer and columnist, he also frequently appeared on Dutch national television, in the program [[De Wereld Draait Door]],<ref>[http://dewerelddraaitdoor.vara.nl/ dewerelddraaitdoor.vara.nl]</ref> broadcast by [[VARA]],<ref>[http://vara.nl/ vara.nl]</ref> where he often held mini-lectures on art-related topics. As an amateur art lover himself, Zwagerman enjoyed transmitting his love for art to a wider audience.