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Arnon Grunberg

Arnon Grunberg - foto Bob Bronshoff
Arnon Grunberg - foto Bob Bronshoff

(1972, Amsterdam, NL) is a novelist, columnist, essayist, poet and scriptwriter. Since 2010 he has written a daily column for the Volkskrant newspaper, and is also a columnist with Vrij Nederland, Wordt Vervolgd, the VPRO Gids and Humo. He's also a staff member at NRC Handelsblad newspaper. At this time he lives and works mostly in New York. Grunberg's breakthrough came with Blauwe maandagen (Blue Mondays), an autobiographical novel featuring the traumatic war experiences of his German-Jewish parents, among others. The novel De geschiedenis van mijn kaalheid (The Story of My Baldness) by Marek van der Jagd appeared in 2000 and immediately scored prizes. Later it turned out to have been authored by Grunberg. His 2006 novel Tirza, about the deep love of a father for his rebellious daughter, was heaped with awards and turned into a film and a play. His latest novel Moedervlekken (Birthmarks), in which a psychiatrist asks a suicidal patient to look after his mother, came out in 2016.

(WU 2017)

Archive available for: Arnon Grunberg

  • Winternachten 2017

    VPRO O.V.T. Live

    With: Arnon Grunberg, Bart Funnekotter, Bas Heijne, Eric Vloeimans, Ian Buruma, Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Jos Palm, Karin Amatmoekrim, Nelleke Noordervliet, Paul van der Gaag

    NO TICKETS LEFT - Every Sunday morning, the relevance of history is the focus of one of the most popular radio programs in the Netherlands. This edition of OVT will be broadcast live from the festival's cozy Wintercafé in the Theater aan het Spui. Come watch and listen!

    Writers from the Winternachten Festival will join this programme for interviews: Ian Buruma, Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Bas Heijne, Karin Amatmoekrim and Arnon Grunberg. Writer Nelleke Noordervliet will read her column. Bart Funnekotter presents the book reviews this week. With live music by trumpet player Eric Vloeimans. Programme in Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2017 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    IS: The Counter-Narrative

    The so-called Islamic State is more than a band of rebels or a terror network. Their campaign of terror in conquered villages and cities, their terrorist attacks in Europe, and their written and visual propaganda looks and sounds like a coherent horror story of "the enemy" as well as a recruitment campaign for potential international jihadists. IS publish a glossy magazine and put masses of energy into the recruitment of sympathizers among youth who are seeking identity and meaning in the virtual world. And they don't limit themselves to Muslim youth. In short, IS understands the power of the word and greatly emphasizes the imagination.

    In IS: The Counter-Narrative, Hassnae Bouazza directs the conversation about how to counteract the horror campaign and propaganda machine. Dutch-Kurdish Beri Shalmashi offers up a video essay about similar groupings, visual representation and propaganda. Frank Westerman takes us into the past and shows how we in the Netherlands have reacted to extremist acts, and how we could now choose the right words and actions to win the battle of ideas. Arnon Grunberg gets under the skin of jihadists from the West, and wonders whether their existential motivation diverges fundamentally from that of an average Western military on a mission. Rodaan Al Galidi shows us the bigger picture of the relationship between Europe and the Middle East and presents his vision of how to understand IS as a symbol of today's transnational world. He also provides the night's finale in the form of a performed poem; the musical epilogue is by Jeanine Valeriano and her Spoken Beat Night.

  • Winternachten 2017 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    IS: The Horror Show

    A late-night show about a daring subject: today's campaign of terror by the Islamic State within and outside the Arabic world. Iraqi-born writer Hassan Blasim - The Guardian called him "perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive" - reads from his short story collection The Corpse Exhibition (2014) in which he pictures daily life in contemporary Iraq not only by vivid, lurid and violent scenes but by showing the surreal, humoristic and enchanting sides of his characters. The collection is published in its Dutch language version titled Lijkententoonstelling during Winternachten Festival 2017.

    Journalist Hassnae Bouazza discusses the subject with Hassan Blasim, with highly esteemed political essayist Ian Buruma and with Dutch top writer Arnon Grunberg.

    How should one analyze staged and theatrically planned murderous acts? What is the relationship between IS's bombastic horror-pathos and the fascist European propaganda of the 1930s?

    Spoken Beat Night accompanies Hassan Blasim during the reading from The Corpse Exhibition

  • Winternachten 2017 – Friday Night Unlimited

    This Is Not America (Part 2)

    The unexpected election of businessman Donald Trump as president of the United States will be signed and sealed in Washington this Friday, 20 January. The choice of Trump is seen primarily as a protest by citizens against the established political elite, and a sign of broad discontent among the American public. Is the USA our role model - will voters stand up against the political establishment here as well? In Europe in 2017, significant elections will take place in the Netherlands, France and Germany; the Dutch will be first to go to the ballot box on 15 March to elect their members of parliament. Should we expect a surprise?
    In This is Not America, writers and journalists will compare the USA and the Netherlands under the knowledgeable direction of Stephan Sanders. Margriet Oostveen wrote a column for NRC Handelsblad from the US about daily life there; currently she does the same for the Volkskrant about the Dutch from the Netherlands. Bas Heijne offers a broader cultural context for the general discontent; Ian Buruma, a citizen of and expert on both countries, makes comparisons; and Arnon Grunberg reflects on what he hears and sees in the streets of New York and The Hague. Jeanine Valeriano and her Spoken Beat Night finish up the evening with a sparkling performance.