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Elena Ferrante gives Belle van Zuylen lecture at ILFU - Italian bestselling author receives Belle van Zuylen ring from Utrecht municipality

On Thursday 23 September, Italian writer Elena Ferrante will deliver the thirteenth Belle van Zuylen lecture at the ILFU International Literature Festival Utrecht. She will also receive the Belle van Zuylenring, an international honorary award of the ILFU in cooperation with the municipality of Utrecht. Elena Ferrante is the author of, among others, the four-volume bestseller De geniale vriendin (Edizione e/o; Wereldbibliotheek). Unique event... 

Carmien Michels, European Poetry Slam champion: 'I hope I can give many people that extra push to go on their own journey of discovery'

The best performers are a few heads taller on stage than in real life. This also applies to Carmien Michels. I knew the writer, performer, slam poet and jack-of-all-trades in cultural life mostly from her legendary performances at the 2016 NK Poetry Slam and the Night of Poetry in September 2017. Radiance and presence, which... 

Lounging spectators at TivoliVredenburg (Photo: author)

Poets are the stars in blistering #Night17 (why edition 35 was the best)

Don't let the numbers fool you. Sales figures and print runs of poetry collections say absolutely nothing about the popularity of poetry in the Netherlands. This is not only clear from research. You can also conclude it simply from the fact that there is a Night of Poetry in the Netherlands. So on Saturday, 16 September, this phenomenon turned 35. Of the recent editions... 

Research shows: 96% of Dutch people are hopelessly idiotic (of poetry)

We like to be touched, we Dutch. And if we are not touched ourselves, we want to touch others. These are the two main reasons why people seek out poetry. This memorable fact has come to light thanks to research by Utrecht scientist Kila van der Starre. She will soon receive her PhD on a quantitative study into... 

Until the Night of Poetry: can we do something with the hashtag #poezieverbindt?

Art has been utterly politicised. It has been creeping, and faster than I thought. Artists now make political speeches, conduct rounds of public participation in the service of lobbying organisations. They discuss identity instead of telling the stories that take us beyond the delusion of the day. That cultural funds are now gently starting to talk about social connection too,... 

Johan Harstad (l) and Arjen Lubach

Arjen Lubach saves his twin brother Johan Harstad #ILFU17

Writer and television presenter Arjen Lubach has been a fan of Norwegian writer Johan Harstad for years, whose mega-thick Max, Micha & the Tet Offensive has just been published in Dutch. He even visited him in Norway. Lubach: 'I was afraid we were so much alike that we had nothing to say to each other.' That turned out to be giant. Logical, then, that he... 

Jordi Lammers, or: the secret miracle of a Utrecht Literature Festival #ILFU17

And then there turns out to be a festival theme after all. Comes all by itself. Perhaps not thought of beforehand by the management of the International Literature Festival Utrecht (ILFU), but after three days of immersion crystal clear. Writing is about that about which we do not speak. During the last festival night, Saturday 13 May, I immersed myself for the occasion in a section that allows 'Utrecht' to... 

Translator Gerd Busse, Paulien Cornelisse and Arjan Peters

Millennials like to write about 'us' #ILFU17

Whereas at last year's IlFU you were tucked away airtight in the hermetic halls of the former post office on Utrecht's Neude, the expansive view of Tivoli/Vredenburg is a breath of fresh air. It seems to loosen everyone up a bit. The result is more humour and better conversations on the roof of the world. Voskuil's Office does not birthday.... 

Necessary and wonderful glimpse into the Chinese soul thanks to Utrecht festival #ILFU17

Good timing by the International Literature Festival Utrecht (ILFU) to put China at the centre of this year's edition. Just in time before the Chinese have connected the Betuwelijn to their own railway network on their own initiative, with their well-known decisiveness. High time to get to know the Chinese soul, it seems to me, and that does not succeed immediately.... 

Lesson 1 of a Literature Festival: translators are really nice people. #ILFU17

Dutch, ladies and gentlemen, is just about the most difficult language in the world, and any committee that wants to improve it only makes it worse. As a professional language user, I have thought so for years, and it has now been happily confirmed by people who really know about it: translators. The first day of the International Literature Festival Utrecht (ILFU)... 

5 hidden gems in Holland's top literature festival #ILFU

Of course: Hugo Borst, Suzanne Vega, Herman Koch. Enough reason to travel to Utrecht between 11 and 13 May. But there is much more to experience at the International Literature Festival Utrecht. And it doesn't even always have to do with books. I will show you a few things I am definitely looking forward to in festival palace TivoliVredenburg. The... 

Ingmar Heytze on Joni Mitchell: 'Crushed at seventeen' #ILFU

'Stop it. The fewer awards people give each other, the better.' Ingmar Heytze, poet, is clear: 'Within every conceivable genre, there are already big enough prizes. If you ask me, they should restrict that Nobel Prize to science from now on.' So on the final evening of the International Literature Festival in Utrecht (ILFU) next Saturday, it will be all about those... 

Ode to the office man. The brand manager is still a mystery. #ILFU17

Arjan Peters talks 12 May 19.30 during ILFU in Utrecht with Paulien Cornelisse, author of the office novel De verwarde guia, and Gerd Busse, who translated Voskuil's ultimate office novel Het Bureau into German. There, office workers are usually not portrayed too positively. High time to change that. Office worker and writer Suzanne Brink takes... 

Bazart on Night of Poetry

Female poets dominate unprecedentedly captivating Night of Poetry #night16

'Have you really been listening to poems for three hours?' Asaf Avidan had not yet experienced anything like that. The musical headliner of the 34th Night of Poetry has yet another story to take with him on his tour. In the Netherlands, you can quiet a full hall by reading a poem. This year, that even succeeded ... 

Piet Piryns: 'TivoliVredenburg is main character of The Night of Poetry'

It has been eagerly awaited for weeks: the Night of Poetry. For the thirty-fourth time next month, poets and audience gather around the stage for a night of verses and music. Regular presenter Piet Piryns, now fused with the event, looks back and ahead. He remembers it well, his first... 

The Linda. but about beheadings and suicide bombings

That there is an extremist magazine about burnings and beheadings, and that rich Britons have four-storey basements built under their houses for a private cinema or bowling alley - we learned a lot last night at the International Literature Festival Utrecht (ILFU). The programme of the Saturday night of the ILFU was as richly varied as that of the first evening. The... 

Filter Translation Award 2016 to translator Günter Grass

Jan Gielkens has won the Filter Translation Prize 2016 for his translation of The Words of Grimm by Günter Grass. The prize of ten thousand euros rewards the most exceptional translation achievement of the past year. Grass's novel, published last year by Meulenhoff, places high demands on the reader and the translator, the jury felt. 'Deftly navigates Gielkens'... 

Harvey's hand only half full

Visitors either thought it was 'very cool' or they thought it was 'absolutely nothing' - PJ Harvey's reading, the opening act at tonight's International Literature Festival Utrecht, evoked totally opposite reactions. Rock diva PJ Harvey is not only a musician, but also a visual artist and poet. At ILFU, as the festival has been called since this year, she read from her... 

Down with the novel pessimism

In times of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, what power does the novel still have? Every so often, fiction is declared dead, but the International Literature Fesitval Utrecht (formerly City2Cities), which takes place this coming weekend in the former post office on the Neude, wants to show that novel pessimists are completely wrong. Nine highlights from the programme. PJ Harvey The Literature House, like last... 

The deeper caverns of an adult film festival. Sven Schlijper on safari during IFFR 2011

The International Film Festival Rotterdam celebrates its fortieth edition with a fitting XL programme. That Roman numeral XL not only indicates respectable age. It also says something about size: this fortieth also bursts with the intiguing programme, with screenings at no less than forty locations throughout the inner city of Rotterdam. Inside the festival walls is... 

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