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Winternachten festival The Hague, 18-21 Jan. 2018: longing for the collective experience with writers Leila Slimani, Mohsin Hamid, Efe Murad,

Leïla Slimani won de prestigeuze Prix Goncourt 2016 voor Een zachte hand, een roman over een killer-nanny
Leïla Slimani won de prestigeuze Prix Goncourt 2016 voor Een zachte hand, een roman over een killer-nanny

Some eighty writers, poets and upcoming literary talents from all parts of the globe gather in The Hague. During the four atmospheric days of the Winternachten international literature festival The Hague, they discuss from their own perspectives and imaginations the current renaissance of collective idealism. The 23rd festival edition, carrying the motto We the People, focuses on the desire for a collective experience and the resurgence of social movements.

Dates, programme and box office
Winternachten festival takes place from Thursday 18 until Sunday 21 Januari 2018 in Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis Den Haag. The full programme - all performances of the writers, poets, thinkers and musicians - will be available on www.writersunlimited.nl by the end of November 2017. Tickets for the grand festival evenings Friday or Saturday Night Unlimited sell until 26 December for the Early Bird reduced price of 20 Euros; from 27 December the regular ticket price will be 28,50 Euros. Reduced prices apply for students.

Theme: longing for a decisive collective experience
Shervin Nekuee, programme curator of Winternachten festival says about its upcoming edition's theme: "Winternachten 2018 will be a literary, poetic and musical story about longing for a decisive collective feeling. By speech, words and poetry, our writers will speak about social movements; about the current status of 'freedom, equality and fraternity' in revolutionary Europe; about how Europeans deal with the world that surrounds them. It is going to be a scintillating festival with a lot of recitations, conversations, films and music. Winternachten festival brings together top writers, top poets and upcoming talents from The Hague, The Netherlands and from - among others - Pakistan, Republic of Congo, France and Georgia."

Meetings and conversations with top writers
Winternachten 2018 will welcome some eighty writers and poets, among which:
- Georgian theatre director and novelist Nino Haratischwili,
- writer Adriaan van Dis on the sofa of psychiatrist Damiaan Denys,
- Moroccan-French writer and Prix Goncourt 2016 laureate Leïla Slimani,
- Pakistan writer Mohsin Hamid of best seller Exit West,
- publicist and university professor Paul Scheffer,
- writer and Wageningen University CEO Louise O. Fresco,
- Congolese-French writer and celebrated essayist Alain Mabanckou,
- Poet, playwright, novelist and children's books writer Anne Vegter,
- Palestinian-Syrian poet and filmmaker Ghayath Almadhoun,
- Romanian poet, novelist and art historian Magda Cârneci,
- The Hague-based poet and performer Max Lerou,
- Upcoming Turkish poet, essayist and critic Efe Murad,
- Writer and NRC columnist Bas Heijne,
- Writer and theatre director Marjolijn van Heemstra,
- Haïtian film director and political activist Raoul Peck (to be confirmed)
- Upcoming The Hague-based talent and youngest columnist of biweekly Dutch news magazine De Groene Amsterdammer Hizir Cengiz,
- And many others.

Four days of literature, books, films, music and awards
- Winternachten festival kicks off Thursday 18 January with its Opening Night, featuring among others the Free the Word! Speech by Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid and the Oxfam Novib PEN Awards Ceremony celebrating writers and journalists dedicated to the freedom of speech.

- The festival's main events are Friday Night Unlimited and Saturday Night Unlimited. During both evenings, one ticket allows to enter all programmes between 20.00 and 01.00 hours. Each visitor follows her or his own route, choosing their favourites among the twenty events. Each event lasts from 30 minutes to an hour. Performances and discussions will be 50/50 Dutch or English spoken.

- The matinee programme ofSaturday 20 in Theater aan het Spui includes Leesclub Live - during which Dutch writer, NRC columnist and P.C. Hooft Award winner Bas Heijne discusses a literary classic with his audience - and Boeken van de Wereld, during which three Dutch prominents from the world of arts and culture as well as with a migration background, pitch books that were important to them and which they recommend for translation into Dutch.

- Sunday morning 21 January, Dutch national broadcaster VPRO presents its popular radio programme OVT live from the Winternachten festival. That afternoon, the Schrijversfeest (Writers' Party) celebrates the winners of the literary awards from the City of The Hague in collaboration with the Jan Campert Foundation.

Winternachten festival goes The Hague neighbourhoods
Winternachten festival organises writer meetups in several The Hague neighbourhoods. To support neighbourhood inhabitants and students to meet with international writers from the festival, Winternachten organises storytelling meetings on Saturday 20 January 2018. Conversations will be in Dutch at Escamp neighbourhood-based Theater Dakota and in English with students from the International Institute of Social Studies.
Also the Public Libraries Schildersijk and Nieuw Waldeck will host Winternachten events on Saturday afternoon 20 January 2018: here, writers from The Netherlands and abroad will perform and speak with those attending.

Youngest generation of poets to perform during Winternachten festival
Students from four The Hague-based secondary schools will participate this Fall in poetry workshops given by the Haags Dichtersgilde, the local The Hague initiative promoting new poetry. During Winternachten festival, the students read their poems during the Spot on Young Poets-programme. Sunday afternoon 21 January 2018, the best student poet will be awarded with the Young Campert Prize during the Schrijversfeest (Writers' Party).

Meet writers and have your book signed at Van Stockum's pop-up book store
The Hague-based Van Stockum Boekverkopers will be on hand during Winternachten festival in Theater aan het Spui's foyer with a pop-up bookstore. New and older works by writers and poets in attendance will be for sale. Authors will drop by at the bookstore to sign their works and to meet with the festival audiences.


Writers Unlimited brings writers, poets, thinkers and scientists from all over the world to The Hague for public conversations and debates about literature, arts, science and society. Writers Unlimited organises in January the yearly Winternachten international literature festival. Throughout the year, Writers Unlimited presents the programme's of B-Unlimited - The Hague centre for literature, science and debate - in collaboration with Bibliotheek Den Haag (Public Library The Hague).

Winternachten festival is supported by the City of The Hague, Nederlands Letterenfonds, Jan Campert-Stichting, VSB Fonds, Lira Fonds, Fonds 1818, Oxfam Novib, VPRO, PEN International en PEN Nederland. With thanks to hotel Novotel The Hague City Centre.

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published on: Thursday 14 September 2017