(Baku, 1984) emigrated at age 12 from Azerbaijan to Germany with her Jewish family. She studied in Göttingen and Leipzig and was a 2014 writer-in-residence in Amsterdam. Her first, partly autobiographical novel, 2012's Een Rus is iemand die van berken houdt (A Russian is Someone who Loves Birches) is primarily about migration, according to critics, while Grjasnowa herself also wanted to bring exclusion and racism to light. In the novel, an Azerbaijani flees to Germany because of the war. After the death of her boyfriend she goes to Israel, but doesn't fully feel at home anywhere. The writer experiences this herself: even though she has a German passport, she must always account for where she comes from. Her second novel, 2014's De juridische schimmigheden van een huwelijk (The Legal Shadiness of Marriage) is about an explosive love triangle between a dancer and her husband and another woman.(WU 2017)
Archive available for: Olga Grjasnowa
Wineshop De Filosoof at Papestraat 5 in The Hague is the place where wine, philosophy and poetry embrace. You will not only find a wide range of wines on the premises, but also a gathering every two weeks, featuring a prominent philosopher or poet, at which discuss the sense and senselessness of life. The basement under the shop has been specially rebuilt as a small agora, where thoughts can be exchanged in good company with a glass of wine. Attendance at the gatherings is free.
The Azerbaijani-German writer talks about her favourite book - the book that inspires or moves her; the book that formed her moral or intellectual compass; the book that she would recommend to anyone. Interviewer: Hassnae Bouazza. In English.
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.
The image that refugees have of Europe does not match the reality they experience upon arrival. Europe is a fiction. German-Azerbaijani writer Olga Grjasnowa wrote about the displaced in a globalized world; the Russian Michaïl Sjisjkin translated for asylumseekers in Vienna for years, which led to his novel Venus Hair; and novelist and filmmaker Hassan Blasim fled Irak and ended up turning his experiences into a book in Finland. Dutchman Tommy Wieringa delved into the motives of refugees for Dit zijn de namen (These Are the Names). What do they find in Europe? Moderator: Jeroen van Kan.