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Jennifer Clement

Jennifer Clement - foto Barbara Sibley
Jennifer Clement - foto Barbara Sibley

(USA, 1960) is President of PEN International. She has authored five novels, including Prayers for the Stolen. It was a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice and appeared internationally on many book-of-the-year lists. In 2018, Gun Love was published, a topical novel about homelessness, the America love for weapons and the despair of people living on the edge of society. She has published various volumes of poetry, including The Next Stranger. Clement also wrote cult classic Widow Basquiat aboutpainter and street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and life in New York City in the early '80s. She is a member of the prestigious Mexican 'Sistema Nacional de Creadores' and received an NEA Fellowship, an award of the American National Endowment for the Arts.

(WN 2019)

Archive available for: Jennifer Clement

  • Winternachten 2020

    Free the Word Night - Oxfam Novib PEN Award

    With: Asmaa Azaizeh, Barbaros Altuğ, Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal, Hassnae Bouazza, Jennifer Clement, Michiel Servaes, Samar Yazbek

    The evening programme begins with the Free the Word! speech by Syrian writer and journalist Samar Yazbek. Her speech will focus on freedom of expression.

    Yazbek, born in Jableh, Syria, is the recipient of the PEN Pinter award, the PEN Tucholsky award, and the PEN Oxfam Novib Award for her book In the Crossfire (2011). Her book The Crossing received the 2016 Best Foreign Book award in France. Her books have been translated into more than 15 languages, and in 2018 Yazbek was shortlisted for the Prix Femina for her novel, La marcheuse.

    The prestigious Oxfam Novib PEN Award, given out by Oxfam Novib director Michiel Servaes, honours authors who currently risk their freedom and their lives to seek out and publish the truth.

    After the ceremony, the winner will discuss her/his work and experiences with writer and journalist Hassnae Bouazza and Dutch national news presenter Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal, on behalf of PEN Netherlands. The winner also reads from her/his work. Program in English.

    The evening will be enhanced with musical performances and hosted by Hassnae Bouazza. The Free the Word - Oxfam Novib PEN Award Night is a collaboration between Oxfam Novib, PEN International, PEN Netherlands and Writers Unlimited.

  • Winternachten 2019

    Opening Night - Free the Word!

    With: Dareen Tatour, Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal, Gioconda Belli, Hassnae Bouazza, Jennifer Clement, Madeleine Thien, Michiel Servaes, Radna Fabias, Raj Mohan, Robert van Asten, Ton van de Langkruis

    Opening NIght of the Winternachten festival is dedicated to freedom of expression, featuring poetry, music, the Free the Word! speech, and the Oxfam Novib PEN Awards ceremony.

    Robert van Asten, The Hague Elderman for Mobility, Culture and Strategy opened the festival. Radna Fabias, winner of the 2018 C. Buddingh Prize for best Dutch-language poetry debut, started the night off with a reading from her collection Habitus. Then the Mexican-American writer Jennifer Clement, chair of PEN International, delivered a statement about freedom of expression. After that, Canadian writer Madeleine Thien delivered the Free the Word! speech.

    Nicaraguan writer and poet Gioconda Belli and Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour who currently risk their freedom and lives to seek out and publish the truth were honoured during the prestigious Oxfam Novib PEN Awards ceremony. Oxfam Novib director Michiel Servaes handed out the prizes. Also Italian writer Roberto Saviano received an Oxfam Novib PEN Award. Since the publication of his book Gomorrah (2006), he lives under police protection and could not attend. Afterwards, the other two winners discussed their work and experiences with writer and journalist Hassnae Bouazza and Dutch national news presenter Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal. They read from their own poetry. English spoken.

    The Opening Night programme was framed with musical performances by singer-songwriter Raj Mohan and hosted by Hassnae Bouazza. The evening is a collaboration between Oxfam Novib, PEN International and PEN Nederland.

  • Winternachten 2019 – Friday Night Unlimited

    Books Unlimited: Leni Zumas & Jennifer Clement

    Get to know literary stars and their recent books. Philosopher Simone van Saarloos talked to US writer Leni Zumas about her futuristic bestseller Red Clocks and to US-Mexican writer Jennifer Clement about her latest novel Gun Love. Expect to hear about their motivation to write, the creation of their characters and the worldwide success of their books.
    In Red Clocks, Zumas sketches an intense portrait of four women. Their virtuostically told stories take place in an oppressive and all-too-imaginable future United States in which abortion, IVF and adoption is illegal for single women. The Guardian wrote about Gune Love: "Jennifer Clement's novel about a trailer park teen on a surreal journey across a gun-crazed land is superbly told."

  • Winternachten 2019 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Thinking Beyond the State

    Is the state capable of coping with globalization? Can citizens entrust their fate to national politicians while the economy, cultural shifts and the environment are less and less contained by national borders? What are the possibilities and dangers when the state is no longer a given in the world order?
    Celebrated essayist and writer Ian Buruma talked with American-Mexican writer and poet Jennifer Clement, who recently published her new novel Gun Love, and prominent historian and writer David Van Reybrouck, known for his research into the colonial past in Congo and his innovative thoughts on democracy in Against elections. Conversation host: Hassnae Bouazza.

  • Winternachten 2018

    Opening Night - Free the Word!

    With: Boi Akih, Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal, Farah Karimi, Jennifer Clement, Joost Baars, Margot Dijkgraaf, Milagros Socorro, Mohsin Hamid, Pauline Krikke, Ton van de Langkruis

    On the Opening Night of the Winternachten festival 2018 the focus was on freedom of speech.

    Pauline Krikke, Mayor of The Hague, opened the festival followed by a word of welcome by Ton van de Langkruis, Director of Winternachten festival. Jennifer Clement, writer and President of PEN International introduced Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid. His novel Exit West was nominated for the Man Booker Prize 2017. On the occasion of the Opening Night, Hamid delivers the Free the Word! speech.

    The prestigious Oxfam Novib PEN Awards, presented to the winners by Oxfam Novib director Farah Karimi, honour writers who currently risk their freedom and even their lives to seek out and publish the truth.

    The winners of the Oxfam Novib PEN Awards 2018 are journalist and writer Milagros Socorro from Venezuela and journalist Eskinder Nega from Ethiopia. Nega is imprisoned in his homeland and is therefore not attending to receive his Award.

    The award ceremony was followed by an introduction of the award winners during the PEN Conversation by journalist and Nieuwsuur-anchor Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal.

    The Opening Night programme further included performances by Boi Akih (world jazz) and Joost Baars (poetry). The programme was hosted by Margot Dijkgraaf, literary critic who regularly publishes in Dutch national newspaper NRC, and Chair of the Board of the Writers Unlimited organisation.

    The Opening Night is organized in collaboration with Oxfam Novib, PEN International and PEN Nederland.

  • Winternachten 2017

    Opening Night: Free the Word!

    With: Anass Habib, Celal Altuntas, Farah Karimi, Ian Buruma, Jennifer Clement, Kamal Hors, Lex Bohlmeijer, Malini Subramaniam, Michaïl Sjisjkin, Peter Abspoel, Sjoerd de Jong, Ton van de Langkruis, Vonne van der Meer

    On the festival's Opening Night, the focus is on freedom of speech. The evening started with Mikhail Shishkin, one of the most prominent representatives of contemporary Russian literature, delivering the Free the Word! speech. Next, the Oxfam Novib PEN Awards were handed out. The debate ''Writing in times of super-diversity' with writers Ian Buruma, Celal Altuntas and Peter Abspoel closed the evening.

    The Opening Night is an English spoken programme organized in collaboration with Oxfam Novib, PEN International and PEN Nederland.

    Free the Word!-speech by Mikhail Shishkin
    Shishkin is the author of four widely acclaimed novels – Pismovnik (2010), Maidenhair (2005), Taking of Izmail (2000) and Larionov´s Memoirs (1994), Shishkin is admired as a refined stylist whose fiction engages Russian and European literary traditions and forges an equally expansive vision for the future of literature. Shishkin has worked as a teacher and journalist. His novels have earned him the three most prestigious Russian literary awards: the Russian Booker Prize in 2000, the National Bestseller Prize in 2005, and the Bolshaya Kniga (Big Book) Prize in 2006 and 2011. His works have been translated into thirty languages.

    Oxfam Novib PEN Awards
    Afterward, the presentation of the prestigious Oxfam Novib PEN Awards honoured today's writers who risk their freedom and even their lives to seek out and publish the truth. The winners were be announced: the Palestine poetr Ashraf Fayadh, who is imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, and the Indian journalist Malini Subramaniam. The latter was able to come over to The Hague to receive the award from Farah Karimi, director of Oxfam Novib.

    Debate with Ian Buruma, Celal Altuntas and Peter Abspoel
    The debate 'Writing in times of super-diversity' followed, featuring writer and essayist Ian Buruma (New York Times, Guardian, NRC), writer Celal Altuntas (a.o. Het dorp van zeven broers / The Village of Seven Brothers) and anthropologist/writer Peter Abspoel (a.o. Zingeving in het Westen / Giving meaning in the West) as well as moderator Sjoerd de Jong, journalist and ombudsman with NRC Handelsblad newspaper. The subject was "Writing in times of super-diversity."

    Host and music
    This program was presented by Lex Bohlmeijer, with musical accompaniment by Kamal Hors (oud, voice) and Anass Habib (deff, voice).

  • Winternachten 2016

    Opening Night: Free the Word!

    With: Alaa al Aswani, Dick van der Harst, Dilek Dundar, Farah Karimi, Guy Danel, Habtom Yohannes, Jennifer Clement, Jung Chang, Lex Bohlmeijer, Manon Uphoff, Reinier Voet, Renate Dorrestein, Toine Heijmans, Ton van de Langkruis

    On opening night, the spotlight is on freedom of speech.The Sino-British writer Jung Chang knows what it means to be unable to speak freely in one's country. Years after she left Communist China, her world-famous book Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China was banned there. Tonight she delivers the Free the Word! keynote speech. With the following presentation of the prestigious Oxfam Novib PEN Awards, the festival honours contemporary authors who seek and propagate truth at the risk of their freedom and lives. The award-winners are the Turkish writer and journalist Can Dundar (who is now in prison in Turkey and will be represented by his wife Dilek Dundar), the Eritrean poet and songwriter Amanuel Asrat, who will be represented by Habtom Yohannes, and the Egyptian poet Omar Hazek. He would have been present in The Hague to receive the award, but was stopped on his way to The Netherlands at Cairo airport by the authorities. His fellow-countryman writer Alaa Al Aswany will represent him. After the ceremony, Lex Bohlmeijer will lead a discussion on how good intentions can founder when we raise issues of injustice, such as censorship. How can we really help threatened writers? And what is the point of good intentions when they have the opposite effect? Musical interventions by musician-in-residence Dick van der Harst switch up this English-language event.

  • Winternachten 2015 – FRIDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    The Text of My Life: Jennifer Clement

    In the Filmhuis Studio the festival's guest writers present their favourite literary texts and explain why a particular poem, novel excerpt, or song lyric influenced their life and work. Which memory, what feeling does this text call up for them? A continuous interview programme, in which the audience also talks with the writers. Hosted by Arjan Peters and Nuweira Youskine. In English.

  • Winternachten 2015 – SATURDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    Poets in the House

    Saturday Night Unlimited ends on a festive note with poetic presentations by writers who not only produce wonderful prose but also have a poet's heart beating within. Come listen to David Grossman's reading from Falling Out of Time, and to poems by Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Jennifer Clement, and Stefan Hertmans. With improvisations on cello by Ernst Reijseger. In Dutch and English.

  • Winternachten 2015 – FRIDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    Home Is Where the Hell Is

    "I deem it the duty of the writer to pick at sore spots, to find a new way, in language the reader has not yet learned how to block out, to describe how complicated the situation is," says well-known Israeli writer David Grossman. He prefers to look at the violent world of grown-ups through the eyes of a child. Jennifer Clement and Maaza Mengiste also write from the children's perspective about growing up in a violence-ravaged environment. Maaza wrote about the Egyptian revolution in De leeuw en de keizer (Beneath the Lion's Gaze); in her poetic Prayer for the Stolen, Clement described how deeply the drug drade interferes with the lives of young girls. Manon Uphoff moderates a conversation with these authors. In English.