(Leidschendam, 1975) is a poet, essayist and bookseller. His debut poetry collection Binnenplaats (Inner Space, 2017) was received with praise, reprinted within a month, and has been nominated for the 2018 VSB Poetry Prize. "How must one love in the shadow of insecurity? Joost Baars gropes in the dark and find poems there that show unmistakable mastery and dizzying depth", according to the jury of the C. Buddingh Prize, which nominated the volume for the best poetry debut. Baars' poems are mystical but not religious. They testify to an enormous erudition and are simultaneously worldly, funny and romantic. The debut consists of four parts and includes translated sonnets of the English Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889). Baars was a programmer with the Perdu Foundation and organizer of the poetry Festival Dichtersmarathon (Poets' Marathon), and is the publisher of Halverwege Chapbooks and spiritual father of VersSpreken, a podcast about poetry.(2017)
Archive available for: Joost Baars
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.
Writers talks about their favourite book - the book that inspires or moves them; the book that formed their aristic, moral or intellectual compass; the book that they would recommend to anyone.
Francis Broekhuijsen presents students of The Hague high schools reading their own poetry, the result of workshops led by members of the Hague Poets' Guild. Poet and VSB Poëzieprijs 2018-nominee Joost Baars, young poetry slam-talent Sanam Sheriff from India and last year's participating student poet Paula Golunska - Young Campert Prize 12017 winner - keep them company and read from their works as well.
During each Spot on Young Poets event (Friday and Saturday), one finalist for the Young Campert Prize 2018 was chosen. Both finalists read their poems during Sunday's Writers' Festival event, ahead of the award ceremony of the Jan Campert Foundation prizes. The public chose one of them as the winner of this prize for best Hague student poet. Come down and witness the literary future!
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 eight 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, Nam Chi Nguyen, 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.