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Maria Vlaar

Maria Vlaar - foto Chris van Houts
Maria Vlaar - foto Chris van Houts

(Netherlands, 1964) is a writer, publicist and interviewer. She is a reviewer for Belgian daily newspaper De Standaard, writes the biography of author Joost Zwagerman and was awarded the J.M.A. Biesheuvel Prize for her debut, the short stories collection Diepe aarde (Deep Earth). She previously wrote for De Groene Amsterdammer and served as editor of De Bezige Bij, deputy director of the Dutch Foundation for Literature and chairman of the Authors' Union, among other positions. In 2013, 2016 and 2017, she was involved as a programme maker and interviewer and in 2022 as interim director of the Winternachten International Literature Festival The Hague.


Archive available for: Maria Vlaar

  • Charles Lewinsky in gesprek met Maria Vlaar

    Charles Lewinsky on his latest novel Half Beard and the art of storytelling.

    With: Charles Lewinsky, Elly Schippers, Maria Vlaar, Myron Hamming

    Charles Lewinsky, known for his novel The Fate of the Meijer Family, is a storyteller pur sang. His latest novel Halfbeard (Halbbart, translated by Elly Schippers)is an ode to the art of storytelling.

    Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Charles Lewinsky was unable to participate in this program. Nevertheless, it was a wonderfully beautiful and inspiring evening, thanks in part to Maria Vlaar, Elly Schippers, Myron Hamming, and Meridiaan Uitgevers!

    In this episode of the Writers Series, Maria Vlaar discussed with Elly Schippers, the translator of the novel Halfbeard, how the translation of this novel came about and how manipulative fiction can be. Because a good story is often believed more than the truth. In these times of fake news, this topic is super relevant.

    Maria Vlaar
    is a writer, publicist and interviewer. She is a reviewer for Belgian daily newspaper De Standaard, writes the biography of author Joost Zwagerman and was awarded the J.M.A. Biesheuvel Prize for her debut, the short stories collection Diepe aarde (Deep Earth).

    Myron Hamming, contemporary storyteller and poet, reads from his work. In 2023, he made his debut with Je droomt het niet zomaar. He has spoken and written on behalf of organizations such as NPO, Unicef, the Dutch government, AFAS Edisons, Humberto Tan, and the Royal House.

    'How Halfbeard came to us nobody can say, overnight he was just there. Some think they know for sure that they saw him for the first time on Palm Sunday, others insist it was on Good Friday. This has even once led to a brawl.'
    From: Halfbeard, Charles Lewinsky

    'Lewinsky shows us with sheer exuberant creativity how fatally and incorrigibly man repeatedly gives free rein to the inner devil.' Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

    This Writers Series program is in English.
    After the event, there will be a book sale by De Vries Van Stockum, along with an opportunity for book signing.
    Programme curated by Ilonka Reintjens (Writers Unlimited)

    This program is made possible in part by Gemeente Den Haag and Nederlands Letterenfonds

    Writers Series:
    Charles Lewinsky on his latest novel Halfbeard and the art of storytelling.
    Woensdag 20th March 2024, 20:30-22:00h
    Centrale Bibliotheek Podium B, Spui 68 2511 BT The Hague

    Writers Unlimited organises the Writers Unlimited International Literature Festival The Hague every year in January (next up: January 2025) and monthly Writers Series programmes throughout the year at various locations in The Hague, including the Central Public Library (Centrale Bibliotheek) The Hague. The festival, featuring more than 100 writers, poets, spoken word artists and musicians from the Netherlands and abroad, will take place over four days at venues including Theater aan het Spui, Filmhuis Den Haag, Paard, Koninklijke Schouwburg, neighbourhood libraries, Hague universities and secondary schools.

  • Winternachten 2023

    Verhalen die verbinden (Connecting Stories)

    With: Angel ArunA, Arturo den Hartog, Astrid H. Roemer, Babs Gons, Britney Lindo, Daphne Huisden, Fiep van Bodegom, Holland Baroque, Lucretia Starke, Maria Vlaar, Mariëlle Vavier, Nazrina Rodjan, Rabin Baldewsingh, Sarita Bajnath, Shantie Singh, Tessa Leuwsha

    Dark, forgotten and forbidden pages: it is taking a long time for the colonial history of the Netherlands to penetrate our collective memory. But history has many forms of transmitting lore, of which stories are the most powerful. They are passed from one continent to another, from generation to generation. And then, with great imagination and creativity, they are recorded in literature, music and language. In this way, the stories come to belong to everyone. This event was in Dutch.

    The Winternachten festival afternoon programme Verhalen die verbinden (Connecting Stories) explored Dutch colonial history in our literature, language and music. Prominent Surinamese authors Astrid H. Roemer and Tessa Leuwsha talked in conversations with respectively Maria Vlaar and Fiep van Bodegom about the significance of 150 years of abolition of slavery for them, their country, their relatives and their books. Both published new books in 2023: Astrid H. Roemer wrote the novel DealersDochter (Dealers' Daughter) and Tessa Leuwsha published her De wilde vaart: op zoek naar de veerkracht van Suriname (Tramp trade: the search for the resilience of Surinam).

    Author Babs Gons performed spoken word. Authors Tessa Leuwsha and Daphne Huisden read from their contributions to Dat wij zongen (What we sang), the essay collection in which twenty leading writers of today make a case for a Caribbean author of the past who inspired them personally. Mariëlle Vavier, deputy Mayor and alderman of the City of The Hague for Poverty, Inclusion and Public Health, gave a speech.

    Singer Angel ArunA performed her own work and poems by poet and singer-songwriter Raj Mohan in Sarnámi, the language of people with a Hindustan background in Suriname and The Netherlands. Furthermore soprano Lucretia Starke and countertenor Arturo den Hartog performed, accompanied by six musicians from ensemble Holland Baroque, with their version of Surinamese song Lolo mi boto, among others.

    The talks and performances in Zaal 1 were followed in the theatre foyer by a short post-programme hosted by Sarita Bajnath with contributions and readings by Britney Lindo, writer and spoken word artist, and by Rabin Baldewsingh, writer and, since 2021, National Coordinator against Discrimination, among others.

    Also the (English spoken ) evening programme All the World's Excuses on this Winternachten festival day 16 April, focused on the significance of 150 years abolition of slavery. All the World's Excuses took a wider perspective by inviting authors from various backgrounds to speak about the traces left by slavery, apartheid and colonialism in society, storytelling, language and literature: guests were Caleb Azumah Nelson (UK), David Diop (France), Chika Unigwe (USA), Astrid H. Roemer (Surinam), Neske Beks (Belgium) and Radna Fabias (Netherlands).

    Bookstore De Vries van Stockum was present in the lobby with a stand offering books by participating authors of this programme, among others — including signing opportunities!

    This programme was curated by Shantie Singh, author of a.o. the novels Vervoering (2014) and De kier (2020).

    With day ticket also to evening programme All the World's Excuses
    Verhalen die verbinden was followed on Sunday 16 April as of 19:30h in Theater aan het Spui by the, English spoken, Winternachten festival evening programme All the World's Excuses.
    A reduced price day ticket for both festival programmes on 16 April was available.

  • Winternachten 2016

    Book Club: 'Woman' (My Struggle, Book 6) by Karl Ove Knausgård

    With: Marcel Möring, Maria Vlaar, Stine Jensen

    Maria Vlaar (who takes the place of Wim Brands, who had to cancel for health reasons) engages in a conversation with the public about Woman, the final part of Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgård's My Struggle series. First, however, philosopher Stine Jensen and writer Marcel Möring offer their honest opinion in spoken reviews. In My Struggle, Knausgård (b. 1968) tackles his daily battle with life as a father, son and husband. In part one, Father, the protagonist battles his late alcoholic parent; in part two, Love, Knausgård himself becomes a father and must battle his wife, Linda, and their children. Parts three and four, Son and Night, describe how he grew up and became a teacher; and in part five, Writer, he struggles with writing, love, infidelity and jealousy. Now we have part six: in Woman, he reflects on his literary project; wonders if he should have written so openly about himself and his family; ponders literature, history and Evil; and writes about his manic-depressive wife. In Dutch

    Beforehand, you can attend the English-language inteview with Karl Ove Knausgård by Stine Jensen. There is also a book-signing session with the writer at 13:45.

  • Winternachten 2016 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Hello Brightness! In Search of Enlightenment

    Philosopher Stine Jensen had lost her way in finding happiness when she discovered spirituality. In her book Go East! she dives into the world of yoga, meditation and mindfulness. She decides to become a yoga teacher, follows the teachings of an American guru, drastically changes her eating habits, and meditates daily. Does she find happiness? Does enlightenment really come from the East? Together with yoga teacher Marieke de Lange, Jensen will take us into the practice of yoga by ending with the communal chanting of a mantra.

    This event replaces "The Source of Good and Evil," as author Mircea Cărtărescu had to cancel his attendance for personal reasons.

  • Een ontmoeting met Michael Cunningham

    Meeting Michael Cunningham

    With: Maria Vlaar, Michael Cunningham

    On 16 december 2011 the America Pulitzer-prize winner Michael Cunningham(1952) was interviewed by Maria Vlaar on his rich oeuvre. An exclusive performance for the Netherlands in Writers Unlimited The Series.

    Cunningham's most well-known novel is The Hours, which was rewarded the Pulitzer prize. Other bestsellers were Flesh and Blood, and more recently By Nightfall.