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Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer - foto Gelya Bogatishcheva
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer - foto Gelya Bogatishcheva

(Rijswijk, NL, 1968) is a poet, classicist and writer. In 2014 he won the Libris Literature Prize for his novel La Superba, an ode to the city of Genova, where he lives and works. The collection Gelukszoekers (Fortune Seekers) was published in late 2015, combining columns he wrote for about refugees and migrants, a poem, a fragment from La Superba, and a song lyric. The same year's Idyllen (Idylls) won the VSB Poetry Prize. In 2015 he wrote the Poetry Gift for Dutch Poetry Week and toured through the Netherlands with other writers with the theatrical program The Pursuit of Happiness. Brieven uit Genua (Letters from Genova) followed in 2016, the natural counterpart to La Superba, which takes place mostly in the same city. The novel is mentioned, as well as its reception. The fictional author of La Superba has made way in the letters for the eponymous person in the rough place called reality: all letters are real and, as far as possible, were actually sent. Pfeijffer has also written various plays and created musical theatre based on the music of Mozart and others.

(WU 2017)

Archive available for: Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer

  • Winternachten 2017

    VPRO O.V.T. Live

    With: Arnon Grunberg, Bart Funnekotter, Bas Heijne, Eric Vloeimans, Ian Buruma, Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Jos Palm, Karin Amatmoekrim, Nelleke Noordervliet, Paul van der Gaag

    NO TICKETS LEFT - Every Sunday morning, the relevance of history is the focus of one of the most popular radio programs in the Netherlands. This edition of OVT will be broadcast live from the festival's cozy Wintercafé in the Theater aan het Spui. Come watch and listen!

    Writers from the Winternachten Festival will join this programme for interviews: Ian Buruma, Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Bas Heijne, Karin Amatmoekrim and Arnon Grunberg. Writer Nelleke Noordervliet will read her column. Bart Funnekotter presents the book reviews this week. With live music by trumpet player Eric Vloeimans. Programme in Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2017 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    The Tale of Two Cities

    Four writers, eight cities. In The tale of Two Cities, writers for whom "the city" has more than one face have their say. Dutch sociologist Corina Duijndam lived among disadvantaged youth in the suburbs of Paris and Amsterdam; Ibrahim Piotr Kalwas knows his birth city Warsaw like the back of his hand and his chosen home of Alexandria (Egypt) like the back of his other hand; Ilja Leonard Pfeiffer once swore by Leiden but is now stuck on Genoa (Italy); and Israel's Dorit Rabinyan jumps back and forth between New York, Tel Aviv (Israel) and Ramallah (Palestine) in her novel about impossible love between an Israeli and a Palestinian. Moderator: Christine Otten.

  • Winternachten 2016

    Writers' Fest

    With: Aad Meinderts, Adriaan van Dis, Anna Woltz, Annelies Verbeke, Dick van der Harst, Edward van de Vendel, Femke Halsema, Francis Broekhuijsen, Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Job Cohen, Joris Wijsmuller, Lamin Kuyateh, Michael Krüger, Rodaan Al Galidi, Typhoon

    A festive event built around the presentation of the Jan Campert Prizes, the literary awards of the City of The Hague. In collaboration with the Jan Campert Foundation and the Dutch Foundation for Literature, Dutch literature is celebrated with various performances by writers, poets, and representatives of other disciplines (who honour the winners). The event is intended, in part, to highlight the state of Dutch literature. The afternoon culminates in the presentation of the Constantijn Huygens Prize for a whole body of work, which this year is awarded to Adriaan van Dis, beloved author and a great friend of the festival since day one. In Dutch

  • Winternachten 2008 – Winternachten vrijdagavond

    Liberation in literature

    How do characters and their creators, the writers, free themselves from oppressive restrictions? Where do they find their freedom? And when does freedom turn into unfreedom? Three writers discuss this. Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer has an Avatar in the virtual world without-rules-of-the-game Second Life. Laila Abuzaid (Morocco) finds her freedom within the framework of Moroccan tradition. Interviewer is Anne-Sophie van Neste.
    The earlier announced Turkish writer Ömer Zülfü Livaneli has cancelled his visit to the festival due to family circumstances. In English.

  • Winternachten 2006 – WINTERNACHT 2

    Out of the bottomless foundations of this charnel kingdom

    "Uit de bodemloze fundamenten van dit knekelrijk
    rijst een nieuwe schijnwereld,
    ontplooit zich leven à la opblaasboot."

    (out of the bottomless/ foundations of this/charnel kingdom/rises a new fake world/life unfolds/like a rubber dinghy). Thus according to Hans Verhagen in his collection of poems Eeuwige Vlam (Eternal flame). Hans Verhagen and the poets Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer and Frank Koenegracht will read from their recent work. Later this evening, this time with Gerrit Komrij, they will return with a satirical poem, written as an assignment for Winternachten. Dutch spoken.

  • Winternachten 2006 – WINTERNACHT 2

    Long live satirical poetry

    Een Antwerpse Mis-pop
    Een Swijn van den Bisschop
    Derft hier komen raesen
    En gnurcken, en knorren
    En schelden, en morren
    En kijven, en kauten
    Met Rijmen vol fauten

    This is how the poet W.G. Foquenbroch once wrote about an Antwerp bishop. The satirical poem has become less popular over the years. However, this is unfortunate, because the Dutch character lends itself very much to satire. Five poets each wrote a satirical poem on the Dutch character: Maria Barnas, Frank Koenegracht, Gerrit Komrij, Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer and Hans Verhagen. They breath new life into this literary tradition. Chaired by Joyce Roodnat. Dutch spoken.

  • Winternachten 2004

    The future is not a fairy-tale

    With: André Klukhuhn, Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Joke van Leeuwen, Manon Uphoff, Michaël Zeeman, Said el Haji, Thea Doelwijt

    Once apon a time there was a girl, that climbed to the top of a tower of books, high above the clouds. What is the view like up there? Is she safe? What will become of her? Authors Manon Uphoff and Thea Doelwijt, writer and performer Said El Haji, philosopher and writer André Klukhuhn, author and stand-up comedian Joke van Leeuwen and poet and rebel Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer wrote a fairy-tale for her. They give her a future, perhaps they will even present her with an ideal. Will she be happy? Listen to six adult fairy-tales and a conversation with the writers, led by Michaël Zeeman.

  • Winternachten 2003 – Winternacht 2

    Poetry by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer

    Pfeijffer's poetry is alive and singing. As far as he is concerned, all poetry should write in this fashion.