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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... 

A trip around the world, a bike, a cat and her bodyguard Dean: 'Nala makes my life a lot more exciting'

When he left Dunbar over two years ago for a round-the-world bicycle trip, Scottish Dean Nicholson (32) could not have suspected how much his life would change. When he rescued a kitten a few weeks old from a ditch in Bosnia, his life took a completely different turn. Since then, Nala and he have been inseparable, cycling together... 

Alaa al Aswani: 'Literature doesn't change politics, it changes people'

Four years ago at the Winternachten Festival in The Hague, we spoke about it with Egyptian writer Alaa al Aswani, who was disarmingly upbeat despite the fact that he can barely publish in his own country. On lack of freedom of expression and fiction in times of fake, this year's theme, Al Aswani could have a word. 'Freedom of expression is even worse now than under dictator Mubarak.'

Down with the veil! Three gutsy girls found Iranian Women Composers Union: 'We want to form a global home front'

Things can change. In 1979, Iran changed from a Western-oriented secular state to a spiritual dictatorship, where Islamic leaders call the shots. Women must henceforth go through life veiled and music is banned as extremely sinful. Four decades later, three women founded the Iranian Female Composers Association. In America, though. 'Music is like a drug, those who feel... 

Oerol hit on tour in the Netherlands: Uniform, about the longing for commonality

Dance performance Uniform by creator Nastaran Razawi Khorasani, a huge success at Oerol 2018, is being remade. The performance will be re-created, premiere on Saturday 15 February 2020 at Maaspodium, Rotterdam and tour the Netherlands until 10 April 2020. Uniform is a dance performance about the desire for commonality, an ode to the follower. Uniform What is the power... 

Open your eyes, watch and reflect, engage in conversation. Opening IDFA 2019 showcases the sublime extremes of documentary.

The 32nd edition of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam has opened with Sunless Shadows. Confessions of young women jailed for complicity in the murder of their father or other man in the family grow into a haunting statement about oppressed women in a male-dominated society. The only Dutch film in the international competition is Rotjochies by Maasja Ooms.

Iranian Turandot disarms with engaging music. But Puccini remains undefeated

It is quite daring. To take a classic Italian opera and give it a 'primal version'. I know a small army of militant opera critics who would prefer to take up arms against that. If that comes from Iran, you soon have the puppets dancing. To get right to the first... 

Morgan Knibbe does not shy away from heavy subjects: 'film is an empathy machine.'

In 2014, Morgan Knibbe (1989) made the short film Shipwreck, about the aftermath of a horrific shipwreck on the coast of Lampedusa in which 350 refugees drowned. Shortly afterwards, he made his first feature-length documentary, also about refugee issues: 'Those Who Feel the Burning'. This very impressive, original and visually strong film was one of the best Dutch films of the last... 

Walking around a bazaar full of exclusive merchandise: new exhibition at Drents Museum on Iran as the cradle of civilisation

The feeling of walking around in a bazaar straight out of one of the fairy tales of a thousand - and - one nights. Your eyes feast; colourful Persian carpets, atmospheric lanterns and exclusive 'merchandise'. With the new exhibition Iran- Cradle of Civilisation, the Drents Museum takes visitors to one of the oldest civilisations in the world. For the... 

Rainer Hofmann (SPRING): 'After the populist attack from the right, the performing arts now face an attack from the left.'

Thursday 17 May opens SPRING Performing Arts Festival in Utrecht with, among others, Sic Transit Gloria Mundi by Dries Verhoeven and to come (extended) by Mette Ingvartsen. Over ten days, over twenty-five international dance and theatre productions, installations and performance works will be on show in public spaces and urban environments. A week earlier, festival director Rainer Hofmann looks relaxed. 'Until now... 

Karim makes Ducky, the successful wooden brother of that Utrecht bunny.

It is a rainy Tuesday. Walking distance from Utrecht Central Station, just behind the always lively Kanaalstraat in the Lombok district, I see a windmill on my right. That's where I will meet Karim Eharruyen today. Mill Park 10. Photo: author Karim's studio is in a hidden idyllic spot in Utrecht. On the unusual site, I first look at one by one... 

Cello Biennale full of highlights: 'Cellists are just nice people'

It no longer buzzes, hums, sings, saws and buzzes in the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. The cello caravan has left. The sixth edition of the Cello Biennale Amsterdam is over, leaving the thousands of cello and music fans with a feeling of emptiness. Nowhere else does such an amazing festival of cello take place in ten days, where the audience feels like... 

#IFFR Tigercheck (3):Thai alienation and moving Iranian radio poetry

Sexual abuse, alienation and the emptiness of existence are the ingredients of Motel Mist by Thai debutant Prabda Yoon. A #IFFR Tiger Award worthy film. In tightly directed storylines, Yoon gently critiques Thailand's social and political climate. For instance, Motel Mist refers to the well-known paedophile sex tourism. Moreover, Yoon makes an attempt to capture the emptiness and alienation... 

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... 

New: a Blab with playwright Nassim Soleimanpour.

Next week sees the start of festival Dancing on the Edge. Unlike its name suggests, this festival, with performances in The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam, is not only about dance, but also about film, theatre and politics. The 'Edge' it is about, the festival looks for in its theme: an urgent artistic dialogue with the Middle East. More needed now than... 

The Impact of Art, fierce conclusion to three-day conference

How can you write about a three-day conference, part of which took place behind closed doors, the closing night of which looks very neat on vimeo, but where the tension in the room was palpable? With a completely open mind and not much more background than an average newspaper reader, but with a firm belief in the power of the arts,... 

We had coffee with the uncrowned king of Iranian war photography

Moshen Rastani (1958) grins broadly, looks at me penetratingly, gestures, and puts his hand on his heart. "What is happening now, here, between you and me, in this conversation. That's what matters to me. We meet face to face. We communicate. Through each other's faces, we can visit the other's secret world. Such a camera is just a tool to make that contact."

Rastani was thrown into photography by the outbreak of the Iraq-Iran war. He emerged...

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PEN Award for Iranian founder 'Stop Stoning Forever' campaign #wu12

Asieh Amini She now lives in Norway, after she had to leave her homeland Iran because of her own opinion. She was detained for five days, and in Tehran's notorious Evin prison, that is an eternity. Now Asieh Amini is free in a foreign land, and Oxfam-Novib is presenting her with the PEN Award. A great opening for the Writers Unlimited Winternachten Festival, which with... 

IFFR 2011 - Slotted screening of high-profile Egyptian drama 678

With a last-minute added screening of the Egyptian drama 678, which caused quite a stir in Cairo in December, Rotterdam was still able to catch up a little on Egyptian current events. 678 dispenses with the myth that Egyptian women can protect themselves from handsome men by wearing a headscarf. 678 by Mohamed Diab In the... 

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