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Joke Hermsen

Joke Hermsen - foto Koos Breukel
Joke Hermsen - foto Koos Breukel

(Middenmeer, NL, 1961) is a writer and philosopher specialized in female authors and philosophers. Hermsen debuted as a novelist with Het dameoffer (The Lady's Sacrifice, 1998), about a daughter who discovers her mother's love affair. She followed up with the historical novel Tweeduister (Twilight) about T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf. Her successful volume of 2009 essays Stil de tijd - Pleidooi voor een langzame toekomst (Stop Time: Plea for a slow future) was reprinted 20 times. This was followed by, among others, the novel Blindgangers (Duds, 2014), the essay Melancholie van de onrust (Melancholy of Unrest, 2017), the novel Rivieren keren nooit terug (Rivers Never Turn Back, 2018) and the essay Het tij keren met Rosa Luxemburg en Hannah Arendt (Turning the Tide with Rosa Luxemburg and Hannah Arendt, 2019).

(WN 2020)

Archive available for: Joke Hermsen

  • Winternachten 2020

    Schrijversfeest (Writers' Fest)

    With: Aad Meinderts, Alistair Payne, Gideon Samson, Jasper Albinus, Joke Hermsen, Marente de Moor, Noraly Beyer, Oleg Lysenko, Paul Demets, Stefan Hertmans, Thomas de Veen, Tijn Wybenga, Tjitske Jansen

    The Schrijversfeest (Writers' Fest) is a festive program with readings and musical performances accompanying the awarding of the four literary prizes of the City of The Hague by Robert van Asten, alderman for Culture. As laudatio givers you will see and hear writer and philosopher Joke Hermsen, poet Tjitske Jansen and NRC literary editor Thomas de Veen. Musical odes will be performed by classical accordeonist Oleg Lysenko, piano player and composer Tijn Wybenga and trumpet player Alistair Payne.

    A regular feature is the finale of the educational project Spot on Young Poets: three finalists, secondary school students from The Hague, read poems they wrote during school workshops. The audience determines which of them wins the Young Campert Award.

    Writer, poet and essayist Stefan Hertmans wins the Constantijn Huygens Prize for his entire body of work. Hertmans achieved his big breakthrough in 2013 with the novel Oorlog en terpentijn (War and Terpentine). The book is a delicate and intense ode to his grandfather, who grew up in poverty, fought at the front in World War I, and lost the love of his life too soon. He worked through his grief by painting.

    Hertmans has been a highly respected Dutch literary writer for much longer. According to the jury, since his 1981 debut with the experimental prose book Ruimte (Space), he has built up a body of work that covers almost every genre. His collected poetry runs to about 1,000 pages, published as Muziek voor de overtocht (Music for the Crossing). His prose comprises novels, stories, as travel book and essays. He has also written theatre texts and published notable monographs about philosophy and visual art.

    Paul Demets (1966) wins the Jan Campert Prize for his volume of poetry De Klaverknoop (The Shamrock Knot), a smashing collection in which each image is loaded and meaningful without making the poetry impenetrable. Demets' big achievement is knowing how to tie up the language without constricing the reader. These poems keep on sizzling in your mind.

    Marente de Moor (1972) wins the F. Bordewijk Prize for her novel Foon. The tragic attempts of man to control, comprehend and direct nature lie at the heart of her work. It expresses a great love of science and a deeply felt understanding of the futiliy of human endeavour. She resolutely leads her reades to the edge of the woods, well knowing that sooner or later, something will happen to call forth the bears. Foon is a masterfully written novel of ideas about humans who are less and less able to stand the mysteries of existence, written by one of the most idiosyncratic authors writing in the Dutch language.

    Gideon Samson (1985) wins the biannual Nienke van Hichtum Prize for his book Zeb. The book's freakish incidents are served up as simple logic in an otherwise completely realistic environment. The disruption mostly affects the mind of the reader - an effect that is happy, funny and playful but also covers up an ominous feeling of alienation. Zeb. adds a unique and absurdist work to the Dutch youth literature canon.

    This program is a collaboration with the Jan Campert Foundation / Literature Museum. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2019 – Friday Night Unlimited

    Book of My Life: Joke Hermsen

    Writers tell us about their favourite book: the book that inspires or touches them, that set their artistic, moral or intellectual compass. In short, the book they would recommend to everyone. Interview: Hassnae Bouazza.

  • Winternachten 2019 – Friday Night Unlimited

    ADAM ZAGAJEWSKI, ARSHIA SATTAR, JOKE HERMSEN, BALOUT KHAZRAEI & FOUAD LAROUI

    Adam Zagajewski, eminent poet and essayist from Poland, opened Friday Night Unlimited by reading from his work. Subsequently Ramayana expert Arshia Sattar (India) and Dutch writer and philosopher Joke Hermsen spoke about the desire to live longer. Sattar translated and rewrote the ancient story cycle about the mythical struggle of Prince Rama to win back his beloved Sita from the hands of the demonic King Ravana. In her book Stilling Time, Hermsen argues for a slow future in which waiting, restfulness and bordom have their place; in her essay Melancholie van de onrust (Melancholy of Unrest), she elaborates on the blessings of melancholy, among others as source of creativity. With classical Persian music and poetry performed by Balout Khazraei. Fouad Laroui, writer and professor French language and Arabic cultures at the University of Amsterdam, hosted the conversation.