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Connie Palmen

Connie Palmen - foto Annaleen Louwes
Connie Palmen - foto Annaleen Louwes

(St. Odiliënberg, NL, 1955) is always exploring the boundaries between fact and fiction. Many of her novels are based on dramatic events in her own life, such as I.M. (about her deceased partner, the journalist Ischa Meijer) and Logboek van een onbarmhartig jaar (Journal of a Merciless Year, about the loss of her husband, politician Hans van Mierlo). In 1991, Palmen became famous overnight with her debut De Wetten (The Laws). Recurring themes in the work and life of the Dutch specialist and philosopher are a desire for knowledge, friendship, and addiction. Her oevre constantly explores the consequences of choices, the lack of choices, and the importance of forming relationships for the sake of one's happiness. She often alternates narrative and essay-like passages, which makes her essays more narrative than usual. On the occasion of her 50th birthday in 2005 she published Als een weke krijger (Like A Flaccid Warrior), a mixture of her short stories, drama texts, and best speeches. With 2007's Lucifer she again pushes at the boundaries of fact and fiction, and her most recent novel Jij zegt het (Whatever You Say) gives a voice to the poet Ted Hughes, who died in 1998. She has him reflecting on his passionate marriage to Sylvia Plath.


Archive available for: Connie Palmen

  • Winternachten 2016

    Anna Luyten in Conversation with Connie Palmen

    With: Anna Luyten, Connie Palmen

    "All great literature is about the fight against evil." Connie Palmen places these words in the mouth of the poet Ted Hughes in her most recent novel, Jij zegt het (Whatever You Say), a fictional autobiography of the poet who stayed silent for 35 years after the 1963 suicide of his wife, poet Sylvia Plath. But how can Palmen's character fight against evil while being conscious of the fact that violence and destruction lurk at the core of love? When destruction and creation alternate as predominant forces in a love relationship? When his own rational and animal instincts are always locked in battle? Does this struggle even make sense when everything is written in the stars? Connie Palmen examines these dilemmas in an interview with Anna Luyten. How does she herself see Hughes' story in relation to reality?

    Prior to this event you can attend the NRC Book Club Live, which discusses Connie Palmen's novel Lucifer.

  • Winternachten 2016 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    The Limits of Empathy

    Indo-British writer Neel Mukherjee made the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize with his ambitious novel The Lives of Others, a tale of limited empathy and missing bonds within a large family. The Dutch translation will be presented during the festival. Connie Palmen wrote Jij zegt het (Whatever You Say), a bestseller about the poet Ted Hughes, whose wife, poetess Sylvia Plath, committed suicide after the limits of their love had been reached. Power plays a major role in both of these families. Does evil lurk in every relationship? Anna Luyten gets the discussion started.

  • Winternachten 2014 – SATURDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    The Text of my Life: Connie Palmen

    Which texts from world literature has Dutch writer Connie Palmen cherished as long as she lives? This most beautiful or most inspiring text can be a poem, an excerpt from a novel or a song-text. She discusses the text with the audience. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2014 – SATURDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    Can I put my heart at your feet?

    Writers plunge into the world of sweet words, rapture and temptation. But, as Elisabeth Bennet remarked in Pride and Prejudice: 'If it's only a vague inclination, I'm convinced a poor sonnet will kill it stone dead.' An evening about the best phrases of seduction in literature, the most successful practical examples of the power of the word in the field of romantic love and words capable of eradicating an awakening love root and branch. And Hartstuk by Heiner Müller, one of the shortest plays in the history of the theatre, brought to you by the young group of theatre makers HartenJagers. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2014 – SATURDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    Nothing to hide! A debate with the audience

    Nothing to hide, my whole life on Facebook. Or rather, surely not? Why should we bother about privacy and how to use it in the social media? What are the differences in outlook between youngsters and the older generation? In a Socratic conversation we try to find the core of our need for privacy and what the unwritten rules of Facebook and Twitter are. During the search, we are aided by three experts, philosopher and writer Connie Palmen, primatologist Jan van Hooff and Maurits Martijn, a journalist and expert in the field of privacy and surveillance. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2009 – Winternachten vrijdagavond

    Connie Palmen's State of the Novel: 'Fake it till you make it'

    'The Truth is fiction', according to Connie Palmen in her opening performance at Winternachten. Especially for Winternachten she wrote a State of the Novel: 'Fake it till you make it'. By now fiction influences important aspects of our daily life, Palmen posits. Classical twin concepts such as real-unreal and fiction-reality are up for reassessment. After her opening words she talked to Christiaan Weijts, who in his novels Art. 285b and Via Cappello 23 has proven himself a talented manipulator of words and truth. The programme was hosted by Kees 't Hart.

  • Winternachten 2002 – Winternacht 1

    The State of Passion and Love

    'I tell you, love is a chemical reaction, with an inevitable bad ending'. With these words Gerrit Komrij opened this festival. His sermon was the starting point of a conversation on passion and love, between writer Connie Palmen and 'Happy Hooker' Xaviera Hollander. In the last minutes of this programme, jazz-singer Denise Jannah talked about the way she set four love poems to music. The poems were selected for her by Gerrit Komrij. Dutch spoken.