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Arthur Japin

foto Hermien Lam
foto Hermien Lam

(Haarlem, 1956) won the NS Publieksprijs in 2008 with his novel Overgave (Surrender, 2007), about the struggle between pioneers and Comanche Indians in 18th century Texas. His novel Vaslav (2010) is also inspired by a true story: the dramatic decision by the legendary ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinski to quit dancing. In 2008 Japins diaries 2000-2007 appeared in book form entitled Zoals dat gaat met wonderen (As it goes with miracles) and his short stories were reprinted as Singel Pocket. In 1997 Japin made his international breakthrough with The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi, a novel about two 19th century Ghanaian princes who were brought up as Dutchmen. It has been translated in over ten languages and adapted for opera, dance and the theatre. For Een schitterend gebrek (translated as In Lucia's Eyes, 2003) he recieved the Libris literature award. Japin studied at the Kleinkunstacademie and was an actor and singer before he started writing. Various of Japin's short stories have been adapted for the screen. Since April 2011 he is one of the makers of a satirical tv programme.

(WU 2012 GR)

Archive available for: Arthur Japin

  • Winternachten 2012 – Winternacht 2

    Treasure hunters

    History is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for writers. Arthur Japin usually bases himself on historic events and characters. Where in his work does he draw the line between fact and the imagination? And how does an experienced writer of biographies like Annejet van der Zijl bend history to her will? And how did Said el Haji research his latest novel, set in the Mecca of before the origin of Islam? In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2009 – Winternachten zaterdagavond

    Wintercafé 1: Arthur Japin

    'Listen, drink a glass and feel how warm a winternight can be in the Wintercafé'. And it sure got very warm at the Wintercafé! With readings, short interviews and music by born improviser Behsat Üvez. On Saturday night hosts were Neske Beks and Wim Brands. The Wintercafé was graced with the internationally acclaimed singer and multi-instrumentalist Behsat Üvez.

    The café opened with a brandnew story by writer Arthur Japin. Sympathize with the Ghanaian boy Kwaku, who yearns for the real life somewhere away from his own shabby neighbourhood. The programme was realized in cooperation with cultural institute DeBuren from Brussels, whom recorded Japins story as a 'radiobook' and broadcasts it worldwide. In Dutch.

  • Zuid-Afrika 2003

    Trade Winds/Passaatwinde

    With: Anil Ramdas, Arthur Japin, Ellen Ombre, Henk van Woerden, Putu Wijaya

    Together with the Cape Town Festival Winternachten organised the literary event Trade Winds/Passaatwinde, in the Centre for the Book, 19-22 March. Five authors from Indonesa, Suriname and Holland performed together with their South African collegues Raj Mesthrie, Lewis Nkosi, Rhoda Kadalie, Rayda Jacobs, Nigel Penn, Crain Soudien, E K M Dido, Peter Snyders, Elias Nel, Rachelle Greeff, Joan Hambidge, Etienne van Heerden, Wilma Stockenstrom, Mike Nicol and Gus Ferguson. Besides debates and readings by the writers there were films, musical performances and lectures.

  • Zuid-Afrika 2003

    Time of the Writer - Durban

    With: Anil Ramdas, Arthur Japin, Ellen Ombre, Putu Wijaya

    For the second time Winternachten co-operated with the literary festival Time of the Writer. Winternachten contributed to this international festival for prose-writers by presenting programmes with four writers from The Netherlands and historically related countries, the so-called 'Dutch Connection'. Putu Wijaya comes from Indonesië, Anil Ramdas from Suriname/Netherlands/India, Ellen Ombre from Suriname/Netherlands and Arthur Japin from the Netherlands. The writers performed on three evenings in the Elisabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban, and in a number of programmes on schools and universities. Besides the authors from Winternachten, the participants were Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria), Meshack Asare (Ghana), Florent Couao-Zotti (Benin), Ashwin Desai (South Africa), Carl De Souza (Mauritius), Nuruddin Farah (Somalia), Aziz Hassim (South Africa), Mahmood Mamdani (Uganda), John Matshikiza (South Africa), Es'kia Mphahlele (South Africa), Lauretta Ngcobo (South Africa), Lewis Nkosi (South Africa), Gisele Pineau (Guadeloupe), Arundhati Roy (India), Tajima Shinji (Japan), and Binyavanga Wainaina (Kenya).

  • Winternachten 2000 – Winternacht 1

    Changes of Identities

    Shortly before the festival the Dutch translation of Kafka's Curse by South African writer Achmat Dangor was issued in The Netherlands. It is a very enchanting and provocative novel: in order to make a carreer, a colored moslim presents himself a a Jew. Achmat Dangor and his Ducth colleague Arthur Japin (writer of 'De zwarte met het witte hart') discussed each other's work with host Michaël Zeeman. English spoken.

  • Winternachten 1998

    East- and West-Indian Winternight

    With: Aart van Zoest, Arahmaiani, Arthur Japin, Astrid Roemer, Basha Faber, Coen Pronk, Cynthia McLeod, Frank Martinus Arion, Gamelan Ensemble Widosari, Grupo Zamanakitoki, Helga Ruebsamen, Michaël Zeeman, Monique Hoogmoed, Paula Gomes, Paulette Smit, Radhar Panca Dahana, Rudy Kousbroek, Shrinivási, Toeti Heraty, Warih Wisatsana

    The third edition of the Indische Winternacht, this time from the East and West-Indiest. Apart form artists from Indonesia and The Netherlands, now also writers, musicans and story-tellers from Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles were invited.
    Michaël Zeeman and Aart van Zoest interviewed the participating writers after their performance. They were introduced by Nelleke Noordervliet.
    In the theatre programme: gamelan-music by Ensemble Widosari, stories by Coen Pronk, Moniek Hoogmoed and Paulette Smit and music by Eric Calmes and his Antillian-Dutch band Grupo Zamanakitoki.
    In the film programme unique movies from the Dutch archives were shown: the first documentaries on the Dutch East-Indies, made in the beginning of the 20th century by J.C. Lammers, commissioned by the Colonial Institute. Furthermore the film Faya Lobbi , the classic documentary on Suriname from 1960 by Herman van der Horst, and Ava en Gabriel , the Antilliaanse movie from 1990 by Felix de Rooy and Norman de Palm.