(Bucharest, 1956) is considered the greatest contemporary Romanian writer. His novel The Knowers is part one of the semi-autobiographical Orbitor trilogy that has been wholly translated into Dutch. In it, the writer transports us to the bygone world of his mother's ancestors - Romanianized Bulgarians, full of "ancient, pre-Christian terror." Part two, The Trophy, is set during the bombings of World War II and the Russian invasion. Part three, The Vast Mausoleum, describes the great changes that took place during the revolution in Romania. Cărtărescu's books form a chain of stories that link up by association, told in rich language. Reality alternates with magic. With its stormy streams of thought and crazy ideas, this saga elicits comparisons with James Joyce's Ulysses and Gabriel García Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude.(2017)
Archive available for: Mircea Cărtărescu
The Romanian writer talks about his favourite book - the book that inspires or moves him; the book that formed his moral or intellectual compass; the book that he would recommend to anyone. Interviewer: Hassnae Bouazza.
Writers are more likely to take up the pen than the sword in order to fight injustice. Fiction becomes their ideological act. In The Underground Railway, the American Colson Whitehead gives a voice to Cora the slave in the so-called land of the free. Bolivian Rodrigo Hasbún writes about the daughter of a Nazi who becomes a guerrilla fighter in South America. Romanian Mircea Cărtărescu's characters groan under the communist yoke and escape into literature and the past, while Dutch writer Carolina Trujillo describes an underworld of drugs and dealers in Montevideo, Uruguay, where a former guerrilla was president until 2015. Moderator: Judith Uyterlinde.
Can the secrets of a city a collection of microcosms, a collection of past and layered histories ever be completely and commonly uncovered? The festival asked seven authors to write about their own "secret" cities. Not the city that they see when they walk out the door and onto the street, but the city that they occasionally and unexpectedly come across. Participants read in their own language, with English and Dutch translations projected simultaneously.
What is real, what is fake? And yet it's the fabrications that can provide insight into the world in which we live. The Anglo-Dutch Michel Faber, who kicks off the evening with the Winternachten Lecture about reality and fantasy, creates a future world in his novels, just like Dutch writer Hanna Bervoets. Czech economist Tomá Sedláček sees parallels between economics and old myths, and Mircea Cărtărescu, also a translator of Bob Dylan lyrics, filled his trilogy about Communist Romania with mythical escapes from reality. Moderator: Lex Bohlmeijer.