(Canada, 1974) has written books including the 2001 short-story collection Simple Recipes and the 2006 novel Certainty. Her most recent novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing (2016), won various international prizes and was on the Man Booker Prize shortlist. It focuses on Li-Ling who, as a result of the suicide of her father, an emigrant who grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution, comes into possession of the mysterious Book of Records. Alice Munro said the following: "Thien's prose astonishes the reader with its clarity, the apparent ease with which it is written, and its emotional purity." The Oxford Handbook of Canadian Literature refers to Thien's work as a reflection of transcultural Canadian literature, which investigates art and politics in the Asian diaspora.(WN 2019)
Archive available for: Madeleine Thien
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.