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Writers Unlimited

The other writers' festival: four days in January dedicated to writers from the most unexpected corners of the world. We are experiencing Winternachten.

Winternachten 2018 ended up being a beautiful ode to anger. #wu18

She is 14, heavily veiled and bespectacled, with a voice that can be heard in the farthest corners of The Hague. She wants to be a surgeon but first she wins the preliminary round of the school competition for young poets at Winternachten. What anger there is in that person. What maturity sounds from her cry... 

Is Emmanuel Macron's long arm sowing discord at a Hague Literature Festival? Just barely. (But should we all speak French again someday?) #wu18

Leïla Slimani, the Moroccan-French author whose novel A Soft Hand won the prestigious Prix Goncourt, has cancelled at the eleventh hour for Winternachten. The reason was not Thursday's storm. THE reason was personal. But could also be due to something else. The chief guest of the International Literary Festival in The Hague, Alain Mabanckou,... 

Opening Night at Winternachten celebrates the power of perseverance, and supports writers in captivity. (Why sometimes a cardboard TV can help)

'Writing and reading, like sex, are a form of fusion. Literature is the practice of impurity'. Pakistani-American author Mohsin Hamid can formulate. In his Free the Word speech at the opening of Winternachten in The Hague, the man, who wrote an international bestseller with The Fall of a Fundamentalist, made a case for impurity. 'Purity,' he told the... 

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... 

When words become weapons, listening is pointless. Frank Westerman at festival Winternachten on negotiating with terrorists.

In the 1970s, a wave of terror swept through Europe. A wave that claimed far more victims in our regions than the Islamic violence to date. During literature festival Winternachten, from 18 to 22 January in The Hague, it is about the struggle for freedom, about us against them. On Saturday afternoon 21 January, Frank Westerman and Mohsin Hamid will discuss the... 

Winternachten Festival offers the best chance to see great writers up close. And Francis Broekhuijsen.

From 18 January, The Hague will be all about Winternachten. We think this is the most fun literature festival in the west of the Netherlands. This year, it is about Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood, the motto of the French Revolution, among other things. But also about Karl Marx. Under the motto 'we the people', Winternachten is therefore about populism and secession,... 

Leila Slimani and Fatma Aydemir: two young writers who are really changing my view of the world. You can meet them at Winternachten 2018

Tijdens de komende editie van Writers Unlimited/Winternachten in Den Haag komen twee schrijfsters langs die met hun werk en hun succes voor spannend nieuws zorgen. Fatma Aydemir, journaliste uit Berlijn, schreef met ‘Ellebogen‘ een schurend debuut over een Turkse meid die wat minder goed op haar toekomst voorbereid is dan iedereen zou willen. De Parijse auteur Leila Slimani won in… 

Mira Feticu interviews Mircea Cărtărescu: 'My readers deserve a medal'

Earlier this year, Mircea Cărtărescu, Romania's greatest writer, was a guest at the Winternachten festival. Writer Mira Feticu, who was born and grew up in Romania and even received lectures from Cărtărescu as a student, interviewed her former compatriot and professor for A Quattro Mani. A beautiful conversation about their homeland, truth, literature and poetry. 'My books are... 

Holland on the sofa: 'I suffer from strong mood swings' #wu17

'In schools, you have to feed children literature like they feed geese in France.' With his witty remarks, Tommy Wieringa got the laughs as he lay on the sofa as the personification of the Netherlands with psychiatry professor Damiaan Denys. 'The Netherlands on the sofa' was one of the first programmes of the Saturday evening literary festival Winternachten in... 

Salena Godden: 'This city is a pigeon, hobbling with one mangled foot'

During the Winternachten festival this Saturday, seven writers shared their story about their 'Secret City'. Mircea Cartarescu, Rodigro Hasbún, Hanna Bervoets, Piotr Ibrahim Kalwas, Olga Grjasnowa, Maarten van der Graaff and Salena Godden wrote about the city they don't see when they walk out the door, but encounter once in a while, suddenly, unexpectedly. They wrote fiction, or stayed closer... 

Salena Godden on #wn17: 'This city is a pigeon stumbling along on one mutilated leg'

In 'My Secret City' on Saturday at the Winternachten festival, seven writers recited a story about 'their own hidden city': Mircea Cartarescu, Rodigro Hasbún, Hanna Bervoets, Piotr Ibrahim Kalwas, Olga Grjasnowa, Maarten van der Graaff and Salena Godden wrote about the city they don't see when they walk out the door, but encounter occasionally and unexpectedly. In fiction,... 

It's not America here... or is it? #WN17 #WU17

Whether the end of communism and beginning of capitalism influenced his writing? Mircea Cartarescu, one of Romania's greatest writers, parried the question with a joke. 'That is far too small an event to change my style and novels.' Is this the real life? That is the theme of the literary festival Winternachten this... 

Michel Faber: 'Writing is an act of protest' #wu17

It was a beautiful and disarming lecture by Australian-Dutch writer Michel Faber, yesterday at the Friday Night Unlimited of the literary festival Winternachten, in his hometown The Hague. His lecture was on 'Fiction in times of fake'. 'Before I start making lofty statements about literature and what literature is capable of in today's world, I want to be open with... 

Ten reasons to go to literary festival Winternachten

Writers Unlimited could hardly have chosen a more appropriate theme for this year's literary festival Winternachten: Is this the real life? That question will be on many a mind when the new president of the United States is inaugurated on Friday. Fortunately, some eighty writers who do have something meaningful to say about the state of... 

Winternachten gives audience a bigger voice

International literary festival Winternachten wants to involve the public more in its programmes next year. 'Audiences increasingly want to have a say,' says director Ton van de Langkruis. 'That can be done in all kinds of ways, we are now brooding on that.' Winternachten attracted some 7300 visitors this year, equalling last year's attendance. Last edition's theme was 'Hello Darkness', and... 

susan neiman

The Access. Winternachten chief guest Susan Neiman on David Bowie (among others) #wn16

The last bit is always the most exciting. After a nice conversation with festival presenter Francis Broekhuizen, chief guest Susan Neiman suddenly joined us. It was nearing twelve, quite a bit of wine had actually already been poured into presenter and guest, but still. Suddenly you find yourself talking to a great philosopher and writer about David Bowie. This was the last session at Winternachten.... 

connie palms

A Saturday night with Connie Palmen, Adriaan van Dis and Socrates. #wu16, #wn16

Next time, there will be 10 people queuing for a hotseat, 100 online viewers and dozens of live spectators in the foyer. At least I hope so, because only then will experimenting with new forms, apps and devices make sense, of course. At the second Winternachten night, Saturday 16 January at the Theater aan het Spui, we had slightly fewer viewers than... 

Queues to the door for Knausgård at Winternachten #wu16 #wn16

Lots of audience and wonderful stories made the Saturday of the literary festival Winternachten a party. For the visit of Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgård in the afternoon, queues stretched from the auditorium to the front door of the Theater aan het Spui. The festival's evening programming was also well attended. While American-German philosopher Susan Neiman spoke in... 

blab.im

Forget Jinek. The conversation about art can go to a new dimension: blab.im at #wu16

On Friday 15 January, we conducted a first experiment with the platform 'blab.im'. During festival Winternachten, we reported live, via the internet. We did so in English, because most of the viewers we had were English-speaking. We could see that. That is already the most striking difference between something like Blab.im, and ordinary television. Blab.im in the Netherlands is still... 

Winternachten: a fascinating and amusing evening of talking about Evil #wu16

Literature is not a means to bring about political change, but to change people. That is exactly what he aims for with his books, Egyptian writer Alaa al Aswani said yesterday at Winternachten, where his new novel The Automobile Club of Cairo was presented. That is probably how visitors to the literary festival at the end of the evening also came to... 

winter nights on blab

On the sofa with The Signature Hunter, The Translator and Abdelkader Benali

Three and a half hours of streaming video from a seating area at The Hague's Winternachten festival. I won't blame you if you didn't follow everything. I wasn't quite there myself at the end. Still, it was a success. If only because it hasn't been done here in the country before. Blab is so new that... 

winter nights opening: debate

'Western writers are part of oppression'

The annual presentation of the International PEN Awards during the opening of Winternachten in The Hague is never a truly convivial affair. After all, every year at least one of the awardees is unable to receive the prize herself. Because she has been captured, because he is missing, or ill. This year, Thursday 14 January at the Theater aan het Spui, could... 

Winternachten is about something

Hello Darkness is the theme of the international literary festival Winternachten, this coming weekend in The Hague. It takes guts, in a time when everything has to be fun and cosy and we prefer not to spend our free time dealing with misery or 'heavy topics'. That is why we love Winternachten, because that festival really goes... 

Susan Neiman chief guest at Winternachten 2016: Why the atomic bomb really fell on Hiroshima

Propaganda is not just something that occurs in, say, Russia, but also in the West - more so than we ourselves realise. For example, is it widely believed today that the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to force Japan to capitulate and thus end World War II, nothing could be further from the truth. In that respect, Germany goes... 

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