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Gustaaf Peek

Gustaaf Peek - foto Maria Hermes
Gustaaf Peek - foto Maria Hermes

(Haarlem, NL, 1975) received high praise for his debut novel Armin (2008), about a boy conceived in a 'Lebensborn' house during World War II, where a pure Aryan race was cultivated. Dover is about the 2000 tragedy in which 58 Chinese refugees perished in the cargo hold of a Dutch truck. In his third novel Ik was Amerika (I Was America) a Dutch POW ends up in a camp in the US during World War II, where he befriends a black man named Harris; 36 years later he looks him up again. For this book, he won the BNG Literature Prize and the F. Bordewijk Prize. Godin, held (Goddess, Hero) came out in the fall of 2014, a frank novel about mysterious and all-too-human love. Peek studied English and published poetry and short stories before his novel debut. In 2017 he published a pamphlet titled Verzet!: Pleidooi voor communisme (Resist!: Plea for communism).


Archive available for: Gustaaf Peek

  • Winternachten 2018 – Friday Night Unlimited

    Book of my life: Gustaaf Peek

    Writers talks about their favourite book - the book that inspires or moves them; the book that formed their aristic, moral or intellectual compass; the book that they would recommend to anyone.

  • Winternachten 2018 – Friday Night Unlimited

    Égalité! The Legacy of the Soviets

    Equality reconsidered: in the 20th century, the Soviet Union added a strange flavour to the second ideal of the French Revolution. Equality reduced to the repression and monotony of state socialism and the dullness of old Ladas.

    Writers Unlimited investigates the value of equality as a European ideal in the framework of the intellectual legacy of Karl Marx*. What can we learn from the socialist era in Central and Eastern Europe? Can Marx remain a fount of inspiration after the Soviet debacle?

    In his revolutionary pamphlet Resist! (Querido, 2017), novelist Gustaaf Peek proposes that, after thirty years of capitalist domination, it is high time to aim for equality and to reconsider and reevaluate a communist-style redistribution of wealth.

    He discussed this subject with the Georgian-German writer Nino Haratischwili and the Romanian poet and essayist Magda Carneci. Professor and essayist Paul Scheffer moderated the conversation. Classical accordionist Oleg Lysenko and his trio provided music.

    *More Marx? During Saturday Night Unlimited, Winternachten festival screened the Dutch premiere of The Young Karl Marx by Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck, whose earlier successful documentary I Am Not Your Negro focused on writer James Baldwin. His feature film is an intense reimagination of the birth of communism and the meeting of Marx and Engels.

  • Winternachten 2018 – Friday Night Unlimited

    Ode to Joy

    Schiller's idealistic poem about Europe and humanity, adapted to the here and now! Writers Unlimited asked seven writers and poets each to write their own Ode to Joy. This evening they presented their newly written works.

    Participants at this Odes 2.0 were Nino Haratischwili, Magda Cârneci, Sanam Sheriff, Efe Murad, Grazyna Plebanek, Gustaaf Peek. Ghayath Almadhoun and Charlotte Van den Broeck. They recited their work in their mother tongues, with simultaneous projections of Dutch and/or English translations. Classical accordionist Oleg Lysenko, Cellist Elisabeth Sturtewagen and soprano Jole De Baerdemaeker provided musical accompaniment.

    Originally written in 1785, Schiller's Ode to Joy lives on because Ludwig van Beethoven added one of its stanzas to the finale (for choir and soloists) of his Ninth Symphony. In 1985, the European Union Chose this particular segment - albeit in wordless form - as the official hymn of the EU. In the poem, Schiller transmits the ideal of a world in which all people live in brotherhood.

  • Winternachten 2018 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Marx Today

    Before the screening of the feature film The Young Karl Marx, don't miss a conversation with writer and screenwriter Gustaaf Peek, whose 2017 revolutionary pamphlet Resist! A Plea for Communism calls for a reintroduction of Marx's ideas, such as the fair distribution of knowledge, power and income. Why is this highly necessary? What does Peek share with Peck? Can words and images contribute to this redistribution? Moderator: Gerlinda Heywegen.

  • Writers Series

    Jens Christian Grøndahl meets Gustaaf Peek: Love, Lust and Literature

    With: Gustaaf Peek, Jens Christian Grøndahl

    Two authors, one theme: the mystery of love and lust. Both their recent novels are as ambitious as they are inspired: Jernporten (Iron Gate) by Jens Christian Grøndahl and Godin, held (Goddess, Hero) by Gustaaf Peek. Both are passionate lovers of literature who are driven to share their love of literature with others. Together, they attempt to fathom the mystery of love and lust. Two authors in conversation about love – of women and of books. In English.

    Jens Christian Grøndahl (Denmark, 1959) is one of the most successful contemporary authors. He has written a multitude of novels, essays, plays and radio scripts. His work has appeared in more than thirty countries and has been nominated for and won various literary awards. His new novel Jernporten is an ode to love. Grøndahl studied philosophy and lives in Copenhagen.

    Gustaaf Peek (Haarlem, Netherlands, 1975) has written four novels. His major breakthrough came with his most recent book Godin, held. Apart from being an author, he is the editor of the Dutch literary magazine De Revisor. Peek read English Language and Literature at the University of Leiden and lives and works in Amsterdam.

    This evening is organised by Writers Unlimited in cooperation with The Hague Public Library and J.M. Meulenhoff publishers. Language: English.

  • Winternachten 2015

    NRC Reading Club Live: Familieziek (Repatriated), by Adriaan van Dis

    With: Bas Heijne, Elsbeth Etty, Gustaaf Peek, Michel Krielaars

    An honoured festival tradition: the NRC Reading Club Live. The panel, made up of editors Elsbeth Etty, Bas Heijne and writer Gustaaf Peek, discusses Adriaan van Dis' novel Familieziek (Repatriated). The NRC Handelsblad newspaper's book-section head Michel Krielaars moderates. As reader of the book, you too can add your two cents to the discussion!

    A boy is prepared for the future under the threat of the Cold War. He must learn to get by in an evil world. The bomb is also ticking at home... his father and educator, Mr Java, is a war-damaged man who increasingly draws his son into his delusional world. The son is a silent witness, seeing everything and forgetting nothing. Madness sweeps through the house and his mother and sisters form a skeptical chorus commenting on events. Familieziek (Repatriated) is a moving novel about a boy who breaks free of his parents' grip and yet cannot escape the curse of their past.

    Afterwards you can attend the programme in which Hans Goedkoop talks to Adriaan van Dis about his new novel Ik kom terug (I'm Coming Back, 2014).

  • Winternachten 2015

    Indonesian Winter Kumpulan

    With: Adriaan van Dis, Anna Montan, Bodil de la Parra, Dinar Rahayu, Gustaaf Peek, Karin Amatmoekrim, Michaël Olbrechts, Nadja Hüpscher, Patrick Lauwerends, Reggie Baay

    A convivial gathering where you can sample Indonesian delicacies while listening to talk of Indonesian literature.

    A special programme to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the festival, which was launched in 1995 under the name Indonesian Winternacht. Kumpulan refers to the typical Indonesian "coming together, getting together" with family, friends, and others. Performing writers Karin Amatmoekrim, Reggie Baay, Adriaan van Dis, Gustaaf Peek, and Dinar Rahayu (Indonesia) will talk about moments of Indonesian togetherness
    inspired by an object, photo, music clip, or story. We also look forward to the contribution of young Belgian graphic novelist Michael Olbrechts, whose debut De allerlaatste tijger (The Very Last Tiger) draws on the history of his great-grandmother in Java. This cheerful evening is hosted by actresses Bodil de la Parra and Nadja Hüpscher, who toured with the hit play Ouwe pinda's (Old Peanuts). Toko Zwijndrecht will cater Indonesian treats during the intermission, and Anna Montan and Patrick Lauwerends will set the mood with jazzy kroncong. Aduh, such fun!

  • Winternachten 2015 – SATURDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    The Text of My Life: Gustaaf Peek

    In the Filmhuis Studio the festival's guest writers present their favourite literary texts and explain why a particular poem, novel excerpt, or song lyric influenced their life and work. Which memory, what feeling does this text call up for them? A continuous interview programme, in which the audience also talks with the writers. Hosted by Wim Brands and Fidan Ekiz. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2012

    A tribute to Hella S. Haasse & Jan Campert Awards

    With: Arjan Peters, Benny Lindelauf, Ellen van Lelyveld, Elsbeth Etty, Erik Spinoy, Gustaaf Peek, Kees 't Hart, Loes Luca, Margot Dijkgraaf, Marijn van Lelyveld, Matthijs Ponte, Maxim Februari, Patricia de Groot, Pieter Steinz, Rudi Wester, Willem Nijholt

    In cooperation with the Haasse Estate and Publisher Querido Writers Unlimited organises a tribute in the Koninklijke Schouwburg: a festive meeting in which the richness and diversity of her life and work are celebrated.

    Willem Nijholt reads from his letters to the writer and Loes Luca performs cabaret texts written by Hella Haasse. Elsbeth Etty, Marjolijn Februari, Kees 't Hart, Patricia de Groot, Gustaaf Peek, Margot Dijkgraaf, Rudi Wester and Arjan Peters tell anecdotes and stories. Her daughters Ellen and Marijn van Lelyveld will add a personal contribution to the programme, which will be presented by Pieter Steinz. Hella S. Haasse died on 29 september 2011. She leaves behind a massive oeuvre, among other books the popular novels Oeroeg, In a Dark Wood Wandering, The Tea Lords. She won many awards, including the Dutch Letters Award in 2004.

    After the interval the Jan Campert Prizes will be presented, the literary awards of the Municipality of The Hague, including the Constantijn Huygens Prize, which has been awarded to A.F.Th. van de Heijden. Erik Spinoy (1960) is recipient of the Jan Campert-prijs 2011 for his book of poetry Dode kamer (Dead room). Gustaaf Peek (1975) is recipient of the F. Bordewijk Prize 2011 for his novel Ik was Amerika (I was America). Benny Lindelauf (1964) receives the biennial Nienke van Hichtum Prize for children's literature 2011 for De hemel van Heivisj (Heivisj's heaven) the triennial G.H. 's Gravesande Prize for special literary merit 2011 goes to Stichting Perdu. Host: Trio Droomvogels.

  • Winternachten 2012

    NRC Reading Club Live: The Great Gatsby

    With: Bas Heijne, Elsbeth Etty, Gustaaf Peek, Pieter Steinz

    A tradition at the Writers Unlimited festival. This time the Reading Club tackles F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. A classic novel in which the American Dream and other possible dreams occupy the minds of those in it. Pieter Steinz, Elsbeth Etty, Bas Heijne and Gustaaf Peek discuss the novel with each other and with readers. The Great Gatsby (1925) is invariably mentioned the most important candidate for the title Great American Novel. Deservedly, because the story of the nouveau riche Jay Gatsby, who cannot seem to escape his (shadowy) past, is more than just a clever version of the pursuit of the American Dream. It is also the account of an unequal friendship (between Gatsby and his neighbour on Long Island, the hopelessly naïve first person narrator Nick Carraway), as well as a Shakespearean tragedy about envy and broken illusions. Right now director Baz Luhrman (Moulin Rouge) is filming The Great Gatsby, with Leonardo Di Caprio in the role of Jay Gatsby. NRC editors Elsbeth Etty, Bas Heijne and Gustaaf Peek discuss with each other and with readers. Host: Pieter Steinz, editor of the NRC Handelsblad book pages. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2011 – Winternacht 2

    Wintercafe 2: VPRO De Avonden

    In VPRO's De Avonden poets, musicians and writers give the audience a glimpse of their own Utopia.  Writers Gustaaf Peek and Hisham Matar wrote letters to each other for some three months, in which they informed one another about their poetics. The writer's Utopia? Does it really exist and how idealistic does one have to be in order to choose a writer's life? Tonight they meet for the first time, live. Both of them will read fragments from their correspondence and discuss their lucky strikes during the literary Blind Date. Writer Elif Batuman talks about writer's luck. Hosts: Jeroen van Kan and Lotje IJzermans. Music: Amarins & Le Gatte Negre Collective. In Dutch and English.

  • Winternachten 2010 – Winternachten 1

    The tone and the Music

    The Lebanese Iman Humaydan is a sociologist, writer, journalist, conservationist and human rights activist. In her novels there is not much explicit that reminds one of her activism. Her commitment is packed in stories about people trying to save themselves against the backdrop of her troubled fatherland. But as a journalist she lets loose, distancing herself easily from her poetic, sometimes dreamy style. What's behind that? Does she think literature is not meant to change the world? And what does The Dutch writer Gustaaf Peek think about that? He shows his commitment by writing about current affairs in his novels. In English