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Manon Uphoff

Manon Uphoff - foto Gerlinde de Geus
Manon Uphoff - foto Gerlinde de Geus

(Utrecht, NL, 1962) grew up in a family with thirteen children living in one upstairs apartment. The eldest sons became successful businessmen, one child was mentally disabled, and nearly all of the children had "boundary issues." The death of a little brother was a shadow that hung over the family. At age 16, Uphoff left school and moved out, eventually studying literature. Her youth experiences play an important role in her first novel Gemis (Lack, 1997), nominated for the Libris Literature Prize, and in Koudvuur (Gangrene, 2005). Her novel De ochtend valt (Morning Falls, 2012) is about a family in which the mother mysteriously disappears. Hoe te lezen (How to Read) was published in 2010, a book about the intentions of writes and literature. Her novel De Spelers (The Players) was nominated for the feminist magazine Opzij's Literature Prize in 2010. She made her debut in 1995 with the short-story collection Begeerte (Desire), nominated for the AKO Literature Prize. Her short-story collection De zoetheid van geweld (The Sweetness of Violence) was published in 2013. Uphoff is chair of PEN Netherlands.

(WU 2014 GR)

Archive available for: Manon Uphoff

  • Winternachten 2016

    Opening Night: Free the Word!

    With: Alaa al Aswani, Dick van der Harst, Dilek Dundar, Farah Karimi, Guy Danel, Habtom Yohannes, Jennifer Clement, Jung Chang, Lex Bohlmeijer, Manon Uphoff, Reinier Voet, Renate Dorrestein, Toine Heijmans, Ton van de Langkruis

    On opening night, the spotlight is on freedom of speech.The Sino-British writer Jung Chang knows what it means to be unable to speak freely in one's country. Years after she left Communist China, her world-famous book Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China was banned there. Tonight she delivers the Free the Word! keynote speech. With the following presentation of the prestigious Oxfam Novib PEN Awards, the festival honours contemporary authors who seek and propagate truth at the risk of their freedom and lives. The award-winners are the Turkish writer and journalist Can Dundar (who is now in prison in Turkey and will be represented by his wife Dilek Dundar), the Eritrean poet and songwriter Amanuel Asrat, who will be represented by Habtom Yohannes, and the Egyptian poet Omar Hazek. He would have been present in The Hague to receive the award, but was stopped on his way to The Netherlands at Cairo airport by the authorities. His fellow-countryman writer Alaa Al Aswany will represent him. After the ceremony, Lex Bohlmeijer will lead a discussion on how good intentions can founder when we raise issues of injustice, such as censorship. How can we really help threatened writers? And what is the point of good intentions when they have the opposite effect? Musical interventions by musician-in-residence Dick van der Harst switch up this English-language event.

  • Winternachten 2015

    Opening Night: Free the Word!

    With: David Van Reybrouck, Dinar Rahayu, Farah Karimi, John Ralston Saul, Joris Wijsmuller, Karl Ove Knausgård, Leela Corman, Mano Bouzamour, Manon Uphoff, Mohammed Benzakour, Nelleke Noordervliet, Pauni Trio, Petra Stienen, Razan al-Maghrabi, Ton van de Langkruis

    A special opening night featuring a keynote speech by Karl Ove Knausgård, the Oxfam Novib PEN Awards for Freedom of Expression, a debate moderated by Petra Stienen, and concluding words by David Van Reybrouck.

    Freedom of speech and the power of the word are central issues on the festival's opening night. The president of PEN International, John Ralston Saul, will introduce the Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgård, who delivers the keynote Free Word Speech. Farah Karimi, director of Oxfam Novib will announce the laureates of the prestigious Oxfam Novib PEN Awards for Freedom of Expression. The awards honour writers who seek out and propagate the truth, sometimes at the risk of their own lives. Razan al-Maghrabi was one of the laureates, who could be present at the festival to receive the award. After an interview with Manon Uphoff (president of PEN Nederland), there will be adebate, moderated by Petra Stienen, on religious extremism and the value of provocation. Panellists include writers Mohammed Benzakour, Mano Bouzamour, cartoonist Leela Corman and Dinar Rahayu (Indonesia). David Van Reybrouck rounds out the evening with one his poems. After the programme, Writers Unlimited chair Nelleke Noordervliet and Alderman for culture of The Hague Joris Wijsmuller adress founder and festivaldirector Ton van de Langkruis on the occasion of the 20th edition of the festival. This event was put together with the collaboration of PEN International, PEN Nederland and Oxfam Novib.

  • Winternachten 2015 – FRIDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    Home Is Where the Hell Is

    "I deem it the duty of the writer to pick at sore spots, to find a new way, in language the reader has not yet learned how to block out, to describe how complicated the situation is," says well-known Israeli writer David Grossman. He prefers to look at the violent world of grown-ups through the eyes of a child. Jennifer Clement and Maaza Mengiste also write from the children's perspective about growing up in a violence-ravaged environment. Maaza wrote about the Egyptian revolution in De leeuw en de keizer (Beneath the Lion's Gaze); in her poetic Prayer for the Stolen, Clement described how deeply the drug drade interferes with the lives of young girls. Manon Uphoff moderates a conversation with these authors. In English.


  • Winternachten 2014

    Opening Night: Free the Word!

    With: Farah Karimi, Frank Westerman, Ian Buruma, Laura McVeigh, Manon Uphoff, Marente de Moor, Marjolein de Jong, Oksana Chelysheva, Petra Stienen, Trio Mäshräp

    On the opening night of the festival the freedom of speech and the power of the word are highlighted. The opening speech will be held by Dutch writer and journalist Ian Buruma. With the award ceremony of the prestigious Oxfam Novib/PEN Awards for Freedom of Expression PEN and Oxfam Novib honour international writers, journalists and film makers who, sometimes risking their own lives, seek the truth and make it known. The three winners are announced in January and one of them will take delivery of the prize.

    The award winning ceremony is followed by a debate on social media in the struggle against repression, with among others Dutch writers Marente de Moor and Frank Westerman. Social media form an increasingly influential stage for the cultivation of the free word. Through their own sites, facebook pages and blogs writers, journalists and other citizens can give their opinions outside official channels, expose evils and fight forms of repression and corruption. How can we, as citizens of a growing 'Global Community' guarantee this freedom of expression? How can we prevent governments from curbing that freedom? Meanwhile in many places worldwide internet papers are controlles and bloggers prosecuted and detained.

    The Alderman for Culture of the Municipality of The Hague Marjolein de Jong welcomes the audience. Arabist Petra Stienen presents the evening and leads the discussion. With music by the Uighur Trio Mäshräp.

    The programme is in English, and organised in cooperation with PEN International, PEN Nederland and Oxfam Novib.

  • Writers Series

    Katie Roiphe meets Manon Uphoff

    With: Katie Roiphe, Manon Uphoff

    A literary evening of Writers Unlimited The Series in the Central Library in The Hague, with American writer Katie Roiphe and Dutch writer Manon Uphoff.

    Katie Roiphe has earned great fame with her animated, provocative and funny book In Praise of Messy Lives. It has been named book of the year by The Washington Post and The New York Times. The interview will be conducted in English. Afterwards Katie Roiphe and Manon Uphoff signed their books at the Paagman bookshop in the performance hall.

    In collaboration with publishing house De Bezige Bij and Bibliotheek Den Haag.

    Bibliotheek Den Haag, Studio B (1st floor), Spui 68, Den Haag. 

  • Winternachten 2013

    Oxfam Novib PEN Awards

    With: Joris van Casteren, Manon Uphoff, Michel Maas, Petra Stienen, Remco Breuker, Samar Yazbek, Sheila Sitalsing

    With the PEN Awards Oxfam Novib and Dutch PEN honour writers, journalists and filmmakers who, against the current, and at the risk of their own lives, search for the truth and spread it. Writer an secretary of PEN Netherlands Manon Uphoff will present the Oxfam Novib/PEN Award in Theater aan het Spui, as part of the Writers Unlimited Winternachten festival The Hague. The Syrian writer Samar Yazbek witnessed the brutal violence against demonstrating citizens in her country. She published about it, was severely threatened and consequently had to leave the country.

    The other prize winners this year are Enoh Meyomesse (Cameroun), Nargess Mohammadi (Iran), Déo Namujimbo (Congo) and Büþra Ersanlý (Turkey). Samar Yazbek is the only winner present during the ceremony.

    The prize-winning ceremony is followed by a debate organised by Dutch PEN about censorship, self-censorship and the ethics of writers, journalists and bloggers, chaired by Volkskrant columnist Sheila Sitalsing. Arabist Petra Stienen, Remco Breuker (a professor and an expert on East Asia), Michel Maas (a correspondent in Indonesia) and writer Joris van Casteren. Prizewinning ceremony is in English, the debate in Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2013 – Winternacht 2 - schrijvers, muziek en film op vijf podia

    Thé Tjong Khing: The image of my life

    One of the most well-known illustrators and strip cartoonists of the Netherlands. What images have remained with him all his life? Manon Uphoff and Aleid Truijens talk to him and the audience about the images he shows us, and why they inspired him so strongly.

  • Winternachten 2013 – Winternacht 1 - schrijvers, muziek en film op vijf podia

    What I would give my life for

    Four writers were inspired by a confronting question: who or what would I give my life for? Four writers, four pleas for a cause which sets them on fire. As surprising as moving: the stories and songs of inspired writers and storytellers. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2013 – Winternacht 2 - schrijvers, muziek en film op vijf podia

    Wim Brands: The text of my life

    For one night Manon Uphoff and Aleid Truijens are hosts in the Greenhouse. In this glass house just outside the theatre they receive a series of writers who will tell you what the most important text in their lives is: a poem, or a fragment from a novel they has stayed with them throughout their lives. First guest: Wim Brands. He not only hosts the Sunday morning tv programme Brands met Boeken (Brands with Books), but he's also a poet. And tonight he is the devotee. Who talks with you about why an Ezra Pound poem is so important to him. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2013 – Winternacht 2 - schrijvers, muziek en film op vijf podia

    Frank Westerman: The text of my life

    Dutch Writer Frank Westerman reads a two-line quote to you to explain what to him is the text of his life. Do you want to know why the novel Chevengur by Andrei Platonov means so much to him? Come to the Greenhouse, and talk to him and hosts Manon Uphoff and Aleid Truijens about his choice. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2013 – Winternacht 2 - schrijvers, muziek en film op vijf podia

    Thomas von der Dunk: The text of my life

    The greenhouse just outside the theatre is the place to hang out with smokers. What you can't do inside, you can do outside. And there they are, listening via loudspeakers to what's happening in the Greenhouse Effect. Peering through the glass they see Manon Uphoff and Aleid Truijens receiving writers. Someone else every twenty minutes. Now it's Thomas von der Dunk's turn, the cultural philosopher. The festival asked him the question: what text changed his life. Which poem or which fragment from a novel. He doens't know. There is so much... Maybe he'll find out tonight. You ask him! Programme in Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2013 – Winternacht 2 - schrijvers, muziek en film op vijf podia

    Denise Jannah: The text of my life

    'Voor een dag van morgen', the Dutch poem by Hans Andreaus is a text that jazz singer Denise Jannah his lived with for a long time. She even put it to music. Why? She will tell you, and interviewers Manon Uphoff and Aleid Truijens. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2013 – Winternacht 2 - schrijvers, muziek en film op vijf podia

    Nelleke Noordervliet: The text of my life

    About the text of her life Nelleke Noordervliet says: "Medea in Euripides' tragedy of the same name. A profound first confrontation at grammar school. That first monologue addressing the women of Corinth, she, a stranger, a woman..." She talks about the text with Manon Uphoff and Aleid Truijens, and to the audience in the Greenhouse.

  • Winternachten 2013 – Winternacht 2 - schrijvers, muziek en film op vijf podia

    Bas Heijne's text of his life

    Dutch critic and essay-writer Bas Heijne reads a fragment from the Dutch novel De Stille Kracht by Louis Couperus. Want to know why this text means so much to him? Come to the Greenhouse, and talk to him and hosts Manon Uphoff and Aleid Truijens about his choice. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2013 – Winternacht 2 - schrijvers, muziek en film op vijf podia

    Peter van Dongen: the text of my life

    Peter van Dongen, maker of comic strips, has chosen a text by the Dutch East-Indian writer Tjalie Robinson as the text of his life. He will explain why to the audience and to hostesses Aleid Truijens and Manon Uphoff. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2013 – Winternacht 1 - schrijvers, muziek en film op vijf podia

    VPRO De Avonden Live: Christine Otten and Manon Uphoff

    Interviews with writers for the VPRO radio programme De Avonden Live.  In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2013 – Winternacht 2 - schrijvers, muziek en film op vijf podia

    Ece Temelkuran's text of her life

    Ece Temelkuran is a leading journalist and writer from Turkey. In the Greenhouse she talks to the audience and to hosts Manon Uphoff and Aleid Truijens about a poem by Emily Dickinson. To her it is the text of her life. In English.

  • Winternachten 2013 – Winternacht 2 - schrijvers, muziek en film op vijf podia

    Ngwatilo Mawiyoo: The text of my life

    For the Kenian poet and singer Ngwatilo Miwiyoo the text of her life is the novel 'No longer at ease' by Chinua Achebe. Why? You'll hear from her, after she had read one page of the book. In English.

  • Winternachten 2011 – Winternacht 2

    The comfort of the bedside table

    In the collection of essays The Possessed the Turkish-American writer Elif Batuman describes her love for literature and tries among other things to find and answer to the question as to how to bring literature as close to your everyday life as possible. Writer Manon Uphoff wrote Hoe te lezen (How to read) in which she examines what writers, what books aim at. Thereby raising the phenomenon that the writer and the story are increasingly identified as one and the same. Marja Pruis talks to them about the comfort that literature exerts and what the key to it is. In English.

  • Suriname 2006

    Panel discussion: Standards in literature

    With: Els Moor, Ismene Krishnadath, Jerry Egger, Manon Uphoff, Rappa

    Tijdens het festival bleken de schrijvers uit de verschillende landen ieder op een eigen manier de literatuur te ervaren en te waarderen. Dat leidde soms tot onbegrip, gevoelens van miskenning en het zich willen afschermen van andere werelden. Daar moest over gepraat worden en dat gebeurde ook. De panelleden Manon Uphoff, Els Moor, Rappa en Ismene Krishnadath discussieerden onder leiding van Jerry Egger over standaarden in de literatuur. Hoe beoordeel je de kwaliteit van een literair werk? En kun je het - vanuit verschillende culturen - eens worden over kwaliteitscriteria? Moet er door versterking van kritiek in het Surinaamse literaire bedrijf een hoger niveau worden nagestreefd of staat de theoretische benadering die daarvoor nodig is de uitdrukking van het gevoel in de weg? Een belangrijke discussie waaraan het publiek een waardevolle bijdrage leverde.

    Dit programma verving de eerder aangekondigde presentatie van de resultaten van een 'cross-over'-workshop van verhalenvertellers en schrijvers van korte verhalen.

  • Suriname 2006

    Gran Gala

    With: Astra Singh, Celestine Raalte, Cynthia McLeod, Diana Ferrus, Dominique Martin, Eddy van der Hilst, Els Beerten, Erich Zielinski, Ismene Krishnadath, Jeffrey Quartier, Manon Uphoff, Shahz, Sweet Melody, Tan Lioe Ie

    Een spetterend Gran Gala in Thalia, met de feestelijke bekendmaking van de winnaars van de schrijffestijnen, de wedstrijden die in het kader van het festival werden uitgeschreven. Onder meer voordrachten van werk van overleden dichters, kabra-gedichten, een soko-psalm van Switi Melodia en voordrachten van een reeks nationale en internationale auteurs. En alle bezoekers werden uitgenodigd om mee te doen met het dictee Sranantongo, dat onder leiding van Eddy van der Hilst en Cynthia McLeod gegeven werd.

  • Suriname 2006

    Bookselling and signsessions

    With: Diana Ferrus, Erich Zielinski, Manon Uphoff, Tan Lioe Ie

    In Eftee Bookshop kwamen de schrijvers bijeen om hun werk te signeren. Hiermee kreeg het publiek de kans om in een ongedwongen sfeer kennis te maken met de auteurs en een blijvende herinnering aan een favoriete auteur aan te schaffen.

  • Suriname 2006

    Presentation workshop short stories

    With: Els Beerten, Erich Zielinski, Manon Uphoff

    De korte verhalen van Manon Uphoff worden gerekend tot de beste uit de Nederlandse literatuur. Ze heeft ook een reputatie hoog te houden als leider van schrijfworkshops. Zij en de Vlaamse schrijfster Els Beerten gaven tijdens het festival elk een workshop korte verhalen schrijven. De resultaten van de workshops werden vanavond ten gehore gebracht. Leren schrijven betekent ook omgaan met reacties van anderen op het werk. Schrijver Erich Zielinski uit Curaçao en het publiek gaven hun reacties op het nieuw geschreven werk.

  • Suriname 2006

    Opening programme

    With: Alphons Levens, Ashna Phoelsingh, Celestine Raalte, Diana Ferrus, Elly Purperhart, Els Beerten, Erich Zielinski, Guyz Nextdoor, Ifna Vrede, Ismene Krishnadath, Jit Narain, Manon Uphoff, Norma Bouterse, Robin Anoewarte, Roué Hupsel, Soecy Gummels, Sombra, Tan Lioe Ie, Tessa Leuwsha

    De openingsavond van het internationaal literatuurfestival bestond uit korte optredens van een groot aantal schrijvers uit binnen- en buitenland. De muzikale omlijsting was van de groep Guys Next Door. Ismene Krishnadath, voorzitter van de Schrijversgroep '77, opende het festival.

  • Winternachten 2004

    The future is not a fairy-tale

    With: André Klukhuhn, Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Joke van Leeuwen, Manon Uphoff, Michaël Zeeman, Said el Haji, Thea Doelwijt

    Once apon a time there was a girl, that climbed to the top of a tower of books, high above the clouds. What is the view like up there? Is she safe? What will become of her? Authors Manon Uphoff and Thea Doelwijt, writer and performer Said El Haji, philosopher and writer André Klukhuhn, author and stand-up comedian Joke van Leeuwen and poet and rebel Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer wrote a fairy-tale for her. They give her a future, perhaps they will even present her with an ideal. Will she be happy? Listen to six adult fairy-tales and a conversation with the writers, led by Michaël Zeeman.

  • Winternachten 2002

    Live Anthology: taboos of love and literature

    With: Antjie Krog, Ayu Utami, Basil Appollis, Ernest Pépin, Fouad Laroui, Frank Martinus Arion, Gerrit Komrij, Manon Uphoff, Michaël Zeeman, Pauline Melville

    'These are the same people who used to think that anything goes and everything should be allowed. Now they want to prohibit everything which they suspect might bring enjoyment to someone else' (Gerrit Komrij).
    Maybe 'taboo' is the most culturally specific notion possible. In the Netherlands, taboos in love or literature seem out of date since the 1960s. But in South Africa, a novel about homosexuality comes as a shock, and a South African makes internationally controversial movies about power, love and violence. Cultures collide when talking about taboos, so this should be a great starting point for a discussion with a collection of internationally renowned authors. This afternoon, eight writers read their favorite fragments from world literature with the theme of the taboo. In the ensuing conversation, the boundaries of culture and religion become apparent. Dutch/English spoken.

  • Winternachten 2002 – Winternacht 2

    Sex on paper

    'The sweetest margerine-advertising I ever heard,' responded writer Stephan Sanders to the sex-scene just his collegue Ronald Giphart just read from his work. 'Sex of men above fourty is disgusting', was one of Gipharts remarks. With Manon Uphoff, we had three trend setters when talking about putting sex to paper. Dutch spoken.

  • Tournee NL 2002

    Winternachten Utrecht

    With: Annel de Noré, Ayu Utami, Ed van Eeden, Frank Martinus Arion, Manon Uphoff

    Love builds itself a Hell, in spite of Heaven. This motto of the Surinamese writer Annel de Noré sounds wonderful, but wouldn't we all like to know what that hell would look like? Does the underworld know its limits, geografical and sexual? Does it acknowledge traditions and cultural differences, and, above all, is everyone allowed to do it with everyone else or is this hell a place of sexual abstainers? Four authors from four continents discussed these questions. An evening in Boekhandel Broese, organized in co-operation with Stichting Literaire Activiteiten Utrecht.

  • Winternachten 2000 – Winternacht 1

    The bottom side of history

    During the festival the Dutch edition was presented of Marlene van Niekerks novel Triomf, on the hilaric and sad events of a poor white family from the outskirts of Johannesburg. The festival asked Dutch writer Manon Uphoff to read this novel. Marlene van Niekerk read Uphoffs work. Host Michaël Zeeman led the discussion on the similarities between the work of these two novelists. Afrikaans/Dutch spoken.