(The Netherlands, 1984) is a poet, performer and teacher. As evident in his multilingual poetry collection Bokman (2018), his work looks at the relationship of people's identity to society. A strong performance won him the first Van Dale SPOKEN Award in the poetry category. In 2019 and 2020 he was poet laureate of Rotterdam. Ik vond geen spoken in Achtmaal (I Found No Ghosts in Achtmaal, 2020) describes, via diary entries, poems, confessions, and rituals, the search for what remains of a person long after they have died. He has published poems on the online platforms SampleKanon and Hard//Hoofd and in magazines such as nY and Kunsttijdschrift Vlaanderen. Together with musician-artist Willie Darktrousers and with poets Martin Rombouts and Maxime Garcia Diaz, he created the music and spoken-word performance Poetic Resistance: a poetic indictment of anger and resistance.(WU2024)
Archive available for: Dean Bowen
In Mensen Zeggen Dingen x Writers Unlimited Festival, three international authors -- Anne Boyer (USA), Ronelda Kamfer (South Africa) and Angelina Enny (Indonesia) let their voices be heard alongside those of Dutch poets and spoken-word artists Dean Bowen, Sjaan Flikweert and Nisrine Mbarki. Alternative R&B-artist XILLAN joins with a musical performance. Host will be Benzokarim!
Things are nothing if they are not given words. That is exactly what Mensen Zeggen Dingen (People Say Things) does. Speaking them out, discussing them, putting exclamation marks or question marks behind them and setting the order. The platform for poetry and performance passes by with club shows in PAARD (The Hague), Theater Bellevue (Amsterdam), Tivoli Vredenburg (Utrecht), Doornroosje (Nijmegen) and festivals such as Lowlands and Down The Rabbit Hole.
Mensen Zeggen Dingen and Writers Unlimited Festival are bringing a special International Literature Festival The Hague edition to PAARD. Expect poetry, poetry slam, prose and punchlines. Expect your mouth full and up to your tear ducts stirred! Prepare to be amazed and moved!
Festival tip: also come to the grand festival events Friday Night Unlimited (19 January) and Saturday Night Unlimited (20 January)! Both nights you choose your own route along some 20 programmes on five stages in Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis Den Haag.
From 18 to 21 January 2024, the festival can be found in theatres, libraries and schools throughout The Hague: from Theater aan het Spui, Filmhuis Den Haag, Koninklijke Schouwburg and Paard to Theater Dakota, the Nieuw Waldeck, Schilderswijk and Ypenburg libraries and Haagse Hogeschool. With over ninety writers, poets and spoken-word artists and musicians from the Netherlands and abroad. With readings, prose, poetry, storytelling, spoken word, author interviews, topical talks, films and music.
Warriors! is an ode in spoken word, music, dance and stories to people from Suriname and the Caribbean who risked their lives to fight for freedom. Heroes from our colonial past that resisted oppression and a lack of freedom. Stories that were previously ignored, made invisible or hidden away. Now, more than 150 years after the abolition of slavery, many stories are emerging, but there also remain many stories that must be told about warriors from the past and warriors of the present.
Gershwin Bonevacia, Dean Bowen, Julien Ignacio, Raj Mohan and OTION - Master of Ceremonies present their own work. In a conversation with presenter Shantie Singh, Karin Amatmoekrim talks about the writer Anil Ramdas, about whom she recently published the biography In wat voor land leef ik eigenlijk? (What Kind of Country Do I Live In, Anyway?).
Tip: Shantie Singh also created Her (s)tories, a theatrical ode to women in Hindustani migration history, which will be performed on Friday 12 January 2024 at Theater aan het Spui, The Hague.
With: Alara Adilow, Asha Karami, Caro Derkx, Dean Bowen, Irina Baldini, Johan van Dijke, Maarten van der Graaff, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, Martin Rombouts, Marwin Vos, Maxime Garcia Diaz, Mustafa Stitou, Willie Darktrousers
For the closing event of the 2023 Winternachten festival, poets and artists seeked out the raw material of poems. How do the violence of resource extraction, the destruction of lives and worlds, and the depletion of Earth become audible and palpable in language? What are poems made of: can they, too, plunder and harm?
De grondstof van het gedicht (The raw material of poems) was a Dutch-language event with familiar and new voices, unexpected performances, dance, music and images.
Anyone who opens a children's book about a farm does not see hyper-modern, destructive industry, but lovely scenes. This obfuscation of reality, according to British zoologist, author and activist George Monbiot, is due to persistent images about our dealings with animals and land, borrowed from poetry. "One of the greatest threats to life on Earth is poetry," he wrote provocatively.
Yet the plundering of Earth has indeed made its way into modern poetry. In the poem Sinaasappel, bitter je schil (Orange, bitter your peel) by Surinamese poet Michaël Slory, the minerals themselves bear witness to that history:
'Op Afobaka wil ik zijn
als de arbeiders staken,
de morgen zich boort
in de papaya,
het bauxiet woedend zingt
over zoveel misbruik,
("On Afobaka I want to be
when the workers strike,
the morning drills itself
into the papaya,
the bauxite sings furiously
about so much abuse,
so many lies
so much deception.")
Bookstore De Vries van Stockum will be present in the lobby with a stand offering books by participating authors of this programme, among others including signing opportunities!
De grondstof van het gedicht was curated by poet and writer Maarten van der Graaff.
With: Angel ArunA, Astrid H. Roemer, Caleb Azumah Nelson, Chika Unigwe, David Diop, Dean Bowen, Martine Woudt, Nazrina Rodjan, Neske Beks, Rachida Lamrabet, Radna Fabias, Sarita Bajnath, Shantie Singh
In the Winternachten festival programme All the World's Excuses, prominent authors Chika Unigwe (US, a.o. On Black Sisters' Street), David Diop (France, International Booker Prize-winner for At Night All Blood is Black) and Caleb Azumah Nelson (UK, a.o. the well-received debut novel Open Water) talked about the global traces of slavery and how this permeates our current society, literature and their books. They addressed (post)colonialism, migration and identity formation. And, of course, they read from their own work. Interviewers were Rachida Lamrabet and Dean Bowen.
Furthermore, writer Neske Beks told about how her new book De kleine Morrison (The Small Morrison, 2023), an introduction into reading Toni Morrison's books from a Black perspective, relates to the theme of All the World's Excuses, and if that also applies to Dutch or Flemish authors with roots in former colonies. Writer Astrid H. Roemer and poet Radna Fabias also contributed with readings from their work. Singer Angel ArunA performed her own work and poems by poet and singer-songwriter Raj Mohan in Sarnámi, the language of people with a Hindustan background in Suriname and The Netherlands.
Preceding the performances in Zaal 1, we opened the evening programme in the lobby of Theater aan het Spui with a short pre-programme with readings by writer Chika Unigwe and poet Dean Bowen from their works, hosted by Sarita Bajnath.
All the World's Excuses asked questions about how stories about slavery and its abolition have taken their place in our collective memory, and about what authors pass on to young people searching for their (invisible) story and identity in the country where they were born.
On all continents, stories about these subjects went unheard, were suppressed or were rendered invisible for a long time. Thanks to the talent and work of many authors, these stories have since found a home in world literature. Through this literature, the weight of this history and the importance of sharing these stories is made palpable.
Bookstore De Vries van Stockum was present in the lobby with a stand offering books by participating authors of this programme, among others!
This programme was curated by Shantie Singh, author of a.o. the novels Vervoering (2014) and De kier (2020).
This event was in English; translations of non-English readings were simultaneously projected on a screen.
With day ticket also to afternoon programme Verhalen die verbinden (Connecting Stories)
Preceding All the World's Excuses on Sunday 16 April as of 14:30h in Theater aan het Spui was the, Dutch spoken, Winternachten festival afternoon programme Verhalen die verbinden. A reduced price day ticket for both festival programmes on 16 April was available.
Poets Dean Bowen, Anne Vegter and Joost Baars recited Berber poetry on the occasion of the completion of the Berber Library. This is a collection of works by the most important authors of Berber heritage. At the initiative of writer Asis Aynan and translator Hester Tollenaar, ten books have been published in Dutch translation. And as a finale, the volume Vallende Tijd (Falling Time) brought together work of the four greatest Rif poets: Mohammed Chacha, Ahmed Ziani, Fadma el Ouariachi and Mimoun el Walid. Their poetry celebrates love, detests migration and screams for emancipation.
How can literature challenge language? Besides Mandarin and Spanish, English is the most-spoken language in the world. It is a language of power, of mass culture, of imperialism and domination, but also a language expressing solidarity, activism and understanding, in which the underpinnings of power can be attacked: a language of the majority full of minority languages.
What is the role of English in the poetry being written in the Netherlands and Belgium? Writers Unlimited put this question to seven young poets writing in English, in Dutch, in Dutch as well as English, who write multilingual poetry, who live in the Netherlands and Belgium, who were born 'here' or not.
What is the status of English in their poetry? Each has written a new poem especially for the festival: Veva Leye, Dean Bowen, Samira Saleh, Mia You en Caglar Koseoglu; also Joost Baars and Charlotte Van den Broeck, both nominated for the VSB Poetry Prize 2018, take part and react with their work. The VSB Poetry Prize 2018 will be awarded shortly after the Festival, on Thursday, 25 January, at the Diligentia Theatre in The Hague.