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Everything to do with letters

Sensitive and scintillating: Sholeh Rezazadeh's beautiful new novel is one not to forget

After her acclaimed and award-winning debut novel The sky is always purple, Sholeh Rezazadeh impresses again with her second book. I Know a Mountain Waiting for Me is a tender, delicately sensitive and sumptuous novel. Stunningly sensitive It is hard to believe that Iranian-born writer and poet Sholeh Rezazadeh (1989) has only lived in the Netherlands since 2015. Her command of language and manner of... 

Floris Kortie on Podium Klassiek's new webpage

TV Sunday night is fun again for people who don't like farming and baking. 

The old domain of VPRO, established in decades of Meticulous and Desperate Simplism, Tegenlicht and Zomer- dan Wintergasten, languished for quite a while. Viewer terror fragmented the safely elitist offerings. BNNVARA searched for a tone and didn't find it. Cultural omnivores like yours truly could no longer turn on the TV to 2 with impunity and then, after an evening of content, turn it against... 

Jonas Staal (left) during his speech. Audience members from left to right: neske Beks, Charles Landvreugd and Karin Amatmoekrim. Photo: Wijbrand Schaap

Becoming a member of NSC? - Academy of Arts stage of desperate search for engagement

"The vote for Wilders may be a dissenting vote, but apparently explicit racism is not a dealbreaker for all those people. That's terrible for someone of colour." In the stately Trippenhuis, seat of the Academy of Arts, this high word from Karin Amatmoekrim sounded extra emphatic. She was responding from the stage to a late-arriving audience member, who felt that "we... 

Turbulent Greek history. 'Niki' by Christos Chomenidis is a captivating family chronicle

In his award-winning novel Niki, Greek writer Christos Chomenidis tells the turbulent story of his mother and her family. But above all, he tells the reader about 30 years of troubled Greek history.Family chronicle With the captivating family chronicle Niki, awarded the Prix du Livre Européen two years ago, Greek writer Christos Chomenidis (1966) tells two histories: that of his mother Niki and... 

Writer Javier Zamora ©Apollo Fields

Writer Javier Zamora fled motherless alone from El Salvador to the US as a child: 'Only now do I sometimes feel happy'

When he was nine, Javier Zamora (33) travelled with the help of people smugglers from El Salvador to the United States, where his parents had been living for several years. For two months, he had no contact with his family and no one knew where he was. The deep marks this journey left only healed two decades later, partly through the writing of his memoir Solito.... 

The dark backrooms of the mind. Masterfully Philippe Claudel dissects human behaviour in his new novel 'Twilight'

In his new novel Twilight, Philippe Claudel dissects man's dark motives as usual. French author Philippe Claudel does not have an overly cheerful view of man, as his compellingly told novels show. Twilight is the latest shoot on the impressive tree of his oeuvre, and fits in seamlessly. As he did in previous novels such as Grey Souls (2003), The Report of Brodeck (2007)... 

Writer Federico Falco

Digging in the earth to dispel grief. The Plains is a beautiful, wistful novel by Federico Falco

In The Plains by Argentine writer Federico Falco, a writer returns to life in the country after breaking up with his lover. This makes for a beautiful, wistful novel about grief, origins and the nature of life itself. 'No single word tames grief. No word dispels it. No word can truly express it.' Those thoughts... 

Joris Linssen, photo by Jerney Hakkenberg

'I need others to flourish.' Six life insights from TV presenter Joris Linssen

In his life and work, the well-known presenter Joris Linssen (1966) experiences a lot and meets many special people. He has compiled the life insights he gained in his recently published book If you go with the flow, you will stand still. 'If you dare to choose adventure, you will be rewarded for it.' 'From taking risks, you get... 

Thérèse Cornips Stipend - Submit your application now!

Are you a writer of literary works, literary translator and/or playwright? Then apply now for the Thérèse Cornips Stipendium. One or more scholarships are awarded annually. The maximum annual amount of the Thérèse Cornips Stipend is € 12,500. This amount can be divided over several projects. Which projects are eligible? An activity, or series of... 

cover I Say Sorry Anyway

'I say sorry' is now a book. Go read it, together. 

"Listening, not always understanding, but trying to go along with (the black) voices ensured that, in my opinion, there was a beautiful text at the heart of the performance Ik zeg toch sorry." If a short preface to a play has as much meaning as this quote by Raymi Sambo, the text itself must offer much more.... 

graph sales figures children's book week 2019-2023 (source: KVB Boekwerk)

Children's Book Week figures drop, but KVB Boekwerk likes to tell it otherwise.

"Sales of children's books during Children's Book Week edition 2023 are higher than in 2019, 2020 and 2021. This applies to both sales through physical shops and e-commerce." KVB-Boekwerk, the research institute of Dutch Booksellers, has been publishing trend reports on the book market for a few years now. This year, for the first time, these include figures on sales of children's books,... 

Gerda Havertong during the Night of Poetry. Photo: author

Fortieth Night of Poetry shows what programming fun can make for 

"I actually want to shout, 'Waaaa! That I'm standing here!" It is nearing noon when Babette Foncie Fotchind shares this with the TivioliVredenburg, still filled to the brim. It is met with loud, assenting cheers. It is one of the many highlights and highlights at this 40th edition of the Night of Poetry, the rather unique party that Utrecht... 

The empty modern life of two digital nomads

Living and working in a metropolis as a digital nomad or creative professional, on a terrace with your laptop and a latte macchiato. A dream for many people, doing well on social media. Around that fact revolves The Perfections, the short novel with which Vincenzo Latronico made the longlist of the Premio Strega, the most important Italian literary prize. The... 

FILTER TRANSLATION AWARDS 2023: Two major translation awards for as many as four translators

Filter is pulling out all the stops: the two 2023 Filter Translation Prizes, including the brand new one for children's and youth books, have been awarded to no fewer than four translators! The regular prize goes to Yond Boeke & Patty Krone for Luigi Pirandello's Lucky Birds (Van Oorschot). The prize for the most extraordinary translation of a children's and children's book was awarded to Lies Lavrijsen and Els Dumez-Blocken.... 

The Virgin Mary as a woman of flesh and blood. Handsome debut novel by Dieuwertje Mertens

It is sometimes said of reviewers that they actually wish they were writers themselves. A cliché, of course, but perhaps also somewhat true. Dieuwertje Mertens (1983), literary critic for Het Parool, laughs affirmatively. "Yes, look, I have written a book, so it is clear that I also want to be an author. But not instead of. I like very much... 

Great little novel 'Malacqua' more topical than ever after 50 years

Extreme weather - the novel Malacqua, about how the city of Naples is ravaged for days by heavy rainfall, is more topical than ever not only because of its subject matter. The book may date from 1977, but Nicola Pugliese's tantalising and unusual writing style, also thanks to Annemart Pilon's excellent translation, is still surprising, fresh and modern today. Quirky author The... 

Moving story about the marginalised existence of Argentine 'transvestis'

In False Bitches, Camila Sosa Villada grants the reader an intimate and moving glimpse into the colourful, but also harsh and lonely existence of (Argentine) transsexuals. And thus holds a merciless mirror up to the intolerant, judgmental society. A 'party' 'Being a transvesti is a party' was the motto of Angie, one of Camila Sosa Villada's transgender friends. An incantation... 

A full Pandora at the Poetry Slam photo by Wijbrand Schaap

Utrecht is a warm bath for those who love imagination, thanks to #ILFU

113 decibels. That's what the elated audience managed to pull off with Nicole Kaandorp (no relation to Brigitte, but at least as talented) at the Pandora. It happened in the first round of the semi-finals in the NK Poetry Slam 2023, the unofficial opening of the International Literature Festival Utrecht, which we call ILFU in English.... 

Nicole Kaandorp with the other finalists. Photo: Ilfu.

Nicole Kaandorp wins NK Poetry Slam 2023

Nicole Kaandorp has become Dutch Poetry Slam 2023 champion. After preliminary rounds across the country, eight poetry slammers competed in the 21st edition of the NK Poetry Slam on Saturday night 23 September, during the International Literature Festival Utrecht. Nicole took on Eelco Couvreur in the final battle and captured the national title. The new national slam champion won the... 

Writer Laura Restrepo ©Elena Restrepo

'The Queen of Saba was a migrant.' 'Song of old lovers': a rich, engaging and intelligent novel by Laura Restrepo

The work of Colombian writer Laura Restrepo (73) has long been forgotten in the Netherlands. With her new, impressive novel Song of old lovers, she makes a well-deserved comeback. She already has 13 novels to her name. Yet Colombian writer Laura Restrepo, who lives mostly in Spain, is a rather unknown to most Dutch... 

Powerful and moving novel about the price of freedom by Najat el Hachmi

Raw and moving is Catelan-Moroccan writer Najat el Hachmi's new novel, Monday We Will Be Loved. An impressive story about the meaning of true freedom, and the price you have to pay for it. 'Monday, Monday, Monday... Monday we will be different. Monday we will be loved.' Every week, young woman Naïma tries to... 

logo ilfu

Utrecht authors Koos, Mari and Urai receive C.C.S. Cronestipendia 2023

Falun Ellie Koos, Arja Mari and Max Urai will receive a C.C.S. Cronestipendium this year. This is a grant from the municipality of Utrecht for promising Utrecht authors. They will each receive 3,000 euros to enable their next publication. "A number of submissions stood out immediately because of the surprising addition the authors make to current Dutch fiction: in narrative voice,... 

Babs Gons, Photo by Anneleen Louwes

Poet Laureate Babs Gons on tour with 1,000 poets

On Sunday 24 September, Babs Gons will be installed as Poet Laureate in Utrecht. This is also the starting signal for a two-week tour of Gons through the Netherlands and Flanders, together with a thousand other poets. The poetry caravan '1000 Dichters' will travel by tour bus to a different city every day, returning to Utrecht on 7 October..... 

cover Friesland My Love by Oeds Westerhof.

One region, one love: Oeds Westerhof's political declaration of love

In Zutphen, I attended Jeroen den Herder's congenial small-scale cello festival. There, two young Portuguese students gave a lecture/recital on their research project on the music of the fado singer and composer José Zeca Afonso, an important voice in the 1974 Portuguese Revolution. At home, I looked up that music. It turned out to be the perfect background when reading "Friesland, my... 

Salman Rushdie - Photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Salman Rushdie speaks at ILFU

Salman Rushdie will give his first interview in the Netherlands on 30 September during the ILFU (International Literature Festival Utrecht) after the attempt on his life last year. Journalist Chris Keulemans and writer Abdelkader Benali will speak to Rushdie at TivoliVredenburg via a livestream connection about his new novel Victoria City and his extensive body of work. Rushdie last appeared live on stage in 2018 

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