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Jubilee edition Winternachten festival about freedom and decolonisation

Affiche 2020 Winternachten internationaal literatuurfestival Den Haag  - collage: Matthias Jung / vormgeving: Eindeloos
Affiche 2020 Winternachten internationaal literatuurfestival Den Haag - collage: Matthias Jung / vormgeving: Eindeloos

From 15 to 19 January 2020, the Winternachten International Literature Festival The Hague will celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary with an extra large programme at many locations throughout The Hague.

More than a hundred writers, poets, performers and musicians from the Netherlands and abroad will perform and talk about freedom and decolonisation in literature and art, among other things. In this edition, the festival also devotes a great deal of attention to the Netherlands' ties with Indonesia, Surinam, the Antilles and South Africa. Tickets and information:

Winternachten festival has been giving the floor to writers and poets for twenty-five years with great success. This edition will be about liberation, and specifically about the decolonsation of Western thinking. How free is our mind, what does that freedom mean and are we really free or imprisoned in the framework of our culture, society and history? The festival invites more than a hundred authors from home and abroad who express themselves about this in their books or poems, to discuss this topic with them or to interview them about their works. Winternachten also offers plenty of space for feature films, documentaries, storytelling, spoken word and music.

Festive Opening Night with top authors from home and abroad
The festival opens on 15 January in Theater aan het Spui, The Hague with the presentation of new commissioned prose and poetry from the jubilee collection De verovering van Jupiter (The Conquest of Jupiter; Dutch language publication). Top (inter)national authors such as Goenawan Mohamad (Indonesia), Adriaan van Dis, Antjie Krog (South Africa), Nelleke Noordervliet, Reggie Baay and Cynthia Mc Leod (Suriname) can be seen and heard. The younger generation of writers is represented by among others Angelina Enny (Indonesia), Rosabelle Illes (Aruba), Jolyn Phillips (South Africa) and, from the Netherlands, Simon(e) van Saarloos and Ellen Deckwitz.

Winternachten New Year's concert with a.o. Wende, Fresku and Ellen ten Damme
A second highlight of the anniversary edition closes the festival, Sunday afternoon 19 January, with the Winternachten Nieuwjaarsconcert (Winternachten New Year's Concert) in the Zuiderstrandtheater, The Hague: a sparkling matinee full of music, spoken word and poetry with performances by Wende, Fresku, Ellen ten Damme, Ramsey Nasr and Antjie Krog, among others.

Big festival evenings on six stages in Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis The Hague
The large, varied festival evenings Friday Night Unlimited and Saturday Night Unlimited on 17 and 18 January each offer 24 programmes with topical talks, readings, film and music on six stages in Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis Den Haag.
The Friday night will be devoted to decolonisation with Akwasi, Sunny Bergman, Quinsy Gario, Mylo Freeman, Vamba Sherif and Simone Zeefuik, among others; from abroad Asmaa Azaizeh (Palestine), Cağla Meknuze and Barbaros Altuğ (Turkey), Mukoma Wa Ngũgĩ (USA) and Ellah Wakatama (UK) will participate.
On Saturday evening, the Netherlands' ties with Indonesia, Surinam, the Antilles and South Africa form the starting point for discussions with Adriaan van Dis, Alfred Birney, Ellen Deckwitz, Johan Fretz, Antoine de Kom, Jörgen Raymann and Sarah Sluimer, among others; attending from abroad Goenawan Mohamad and Angelina Enny (Indonesia), Rosabelle Illes (Aruba), Jolyn Phillips (South Africa) and Cynthia Mc Leod (Surinam) will be participating.

Theme programmes with Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer and Sticks, among others
Winternachten festival furthermore presents themed programs such as:
- The international spoken word evening WWZ x Winternachten festival 2020 in Paard with a.o. Sticks;
- Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer is Europe, in which the writer of the successful novel Grand Hotel Europa gets involved in a fascinating role-play with psychiatrist Damiaan Denys;
- The Oxfam Novib PEN Award Night on freedom of speech with the Free the Word! speech by the Syrian writer Samar Yazbek;
- The Storytelling Symposium on decolonisation at the International Institute of Social Studies;
- The NRC Leesclub Live in which writers and NRC columnists Ellen Deckwitz and Clarice Gargard discuss Hella Haass' classic novella Oeroeg with the audience and provide a 'leaflet' for new readers;
- The Schrijversfeest (Writers' Party) with the presentation of the Hague literary awards to Stefan Hertmans, Marente de Moor, Paul Demets and Gideon Samson.

Six free Winternachten festival programmes in three libraries and Theater Dakota
Throughout The Hague, in collaboration with local art institutions, six freely accessible festival programmes will take place. In the Speakers' Corner of The Hague University of Applied Sciences Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer talks about his oeuvre, in the Nieuw Waldeck Library Ellen Deckwitz and Robin Block give a joint performance about Indonesian roots, in the Schilderswijk Library Cynthia Mc Leod and Rosabelle Illes tell stories from Surinam and Aruba, in the Ypenburg Library Tipiko Den Haag provides a festive Caribbean evening with music, dance and storytelling. In Theater Dakota, the Winternachten Story Festival includes community discussions with Cynthia Mc Leod and Walter Palm, a storytelling workshop, a children's performance with children's book writer and illustrator Mylo Freeman and a talk show. On Sunday morning, the public can attend the live radio broadcast of VPRO's OVT in Theater aan het Spui free of charge.

Spot on Young Poets: poems by pupils of secondary schools in The Hague
Several hundred secondary school pupils from The Hague will once again take part in Writers Unlimited's educational programme Spot on Young Poets. After poetry lessons and workshops by poets Diann van Faassen and Frederike Kossmann at six schools, some of the pupils will recite their own poems during the Winternachten festival. During the Writers' Party, the best recitation will be awarded the Young Campert Prize. Some schools also receive a writer at school for an interview with pupils.

About Writers Unlimited
Since 1995, the Writers Unlimited Foundation has been organising the Winternachten International Literature Festival The Hague every year. Under the leadership of founder and director Ton van de Langkruis, the festival has grown into the most important international literary event in the Netherlands. The programme for the 25th edition has been compiled by Ilonka Reintjens (also coordinator), Ebissé Rouw, Fiep van Bodegom, Gerlinda Heywegen (film), Francis Broekhuijsen and Ton van de Langkruis. In addition to the festival, Writers Unlimited also presents monthly topical discussions with writers, scientists and journalists from the Netherlands and abroad in Studio B of the Central Library in The Hague, among other places.

The Winternachten festival can take place thanks to contributions by the City of The Hague, Dutch Foundation for Literature, VSBfonds, Dioraphte, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Eye Opener Fonds, Lira Fonds, Oxfam Novib, GUAP, NRC, VPRO, Het Nationale Theater, Fonds 1818, Filmhuis Den Haag, Zuiderstrandtheater, Paard, Theater Dakota, De Vries Van Stockum, ISS-Erasmus University, Bibliotheek Den Haag, PEN International, PEN Nederland, Museum Meermanno | Huis van het Boek, Cultuur Dichtbij, Be Mobile, Create Together (a project co-funded by the European Union and the Republic of Turkey), Yunus Emre Institute, CFCU and the Jan Campert-Stichting.

- Ticket sales and information:
- The jubilee collection De verovering van Jupiter (Over dekolonisatie van de geest), edited by Toef Jaeger and published by Jurgen Maas, will be available in regular (online) bookshops from 14 January 2020.

Posted on: Wednesday 4 December 2019