(Moscow, 1961) is one of the most prominent names in contemporary Russian literature. 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. Born in Moscow in 1961, 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.
Archive available for: Michaïl Sjisjkin
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).
Dutch-Estonian writer Sana Valiulina, the Turkish writer and journalist Ece Temelkuran and and famous Russian novelist Mikhail Shishkin discuss the backgrounds of the current turbulent period in Turkey and Russia. How far back in history must we go to understand contemporary Turkey and Russia? Which collective trauma's, frustrations and sentiments are at the roots of recent developments? Hosted by Dutch essayist and P.C.Hooft Award 2017 winner Bas Heijne. English spoken.
Since the failed coup of Summer 2016, Turkey goes through a grim period. Not only the military but also dissidents are persecuted. Many journalists are refrained from working, many scientists and intellectuals are not allowed to travel abroad. But the trend of intimidating the intelligentsia dates back before the coup. In 2015, writer and Nobel Prize for Literature winner Orhan Pamuk already warned in The Guardian that fear gets the upperhand in Turkey: "I notice that everybody is afraid...the freedom of speech has sunk deeply."
Things are not much better in Russia. Mikhail Shishkin wrote about how Russian media under the Putin regime have changed into weapons of mass destruction aimed at convincing the population that Russia is again at war with the West. Within this rethoric of war, each form of criticism is a sign of treason. This legitimizes oppression of dissidents.
Ece Temelkuran is a Turkish journalist and political commentator, and author of Turkey: The Insane and the Melancholy.
Dutch-Estonian Sana Valiulina tells in her Children of Brezjnev (2014) what the Soviet system has demolished regarding civilisation and how moral decline gained momentum during the post-soviet era.
The image that refugees have of Europe does not match the reality they experience upon arrival. Europe is a fiction. German-Azerbaijani writer Olga Grjasnowa wrote about the displaced in a globalized world; the Russian Michaïl Sjisjkin translated for asylumseekers in Vienna for years, which led to his novel Venus Hair; and novelist and filmmaker Hassan Blasim fled Irak and ended up turning his experiences into a book in Finland. Dutchman Tommy Wieringa delved into the motives of refugees for Dit zijn de namen (These Are the Names). What do they find in Europe? Moderator: Jeroen van Kan.
Watch the video registration of this programme: see below on this page.
How do you negotiate with the Russian president Vladimir Putin? In this evening we are looking for the answer. Kremlin-watcher Michel Krielaars - a former correspondent in Moscow and now head of the books-department of the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad will moderate the programme. Guests are the influential Russian journalist and activist Oksana Chelycheva, Mikhail Shishkin - one of the most important contemporary Russian novelists and Adriaan Jacobovitzs de Szeged, former diplomat for the Dutch government. To negotiate with Putin, you need not only know about negotiation techniques, but also about the power-balance in the Kremlin, and about the way Russian media function. But it is just as important to get to know the Russian soul. For this we consult Russia's rich literary heritance.
Oksana Chelycheva (Russia, 1968) is a journalist and human rights defender. Since 2003 she has been covering the situation in the North Caucasus being the editor of the Russian-Chechen Information Agency established by the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society. After the organization was banned in Russia, being one of the first victims of the anti-extremism legislation, the work has continued by moving the legal entity of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society to Finland. In 2008 Chelysheva had to stay in Finland, due to the never-ending threats. She has been contributing to Novaya Gazeta, Svobodnaya Pressa, kasparov.ru as a journalist covering a broad range of HR problems starting from the right of the people for the cultural and architectural heritage, to the situation in the armed conflict-affected North Caucasus as well as politically motivated reprisals against NGOs and activists of the movements in opposition to the Kremlin. Chelysheva is the author of the book "I have been followed in the streets" published in Finland by INTO in 2013 and a co-author of the "International Tribunal for Chechnya" legal study published in 2009 by Sputnik Oy in Finland. In 2014, at the Writers Unlimited Festival in The Hague, she was awarded the prestigious Oxfam Novib PEN Award for Freedom of Expression.
Mikhail Shishkin (Moscow, 1961) is one of the most prominent names in contemporary Russian literature. 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. Born in Moscow in 1961, 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.
Adriaan Jacobovits de Szeged (1935) served 34 years in the diplomatic service of the Netherlands. His positions included Secretary in the Moscow embassy, permanent representative to the United Nations in New York, director-general of political affairs of the foreign ministry at The Hague, permanent representative on the North Atlantic Council(NATO) in Brussels, and, in his final position, ambassador to the United States, from 1993-1997. Since his retirement as a diplomat, he has served on the Board of the Netherlands Institute of International Relations, as a member of the Advisory Council on International Affairs to the Dutch government and parliament, and as special representative of the European Union for Moldova.
Michel Krielaars (Amsterdam, NL, 1961) studied history and Russian at the University of Amsterdam. He worked as a publisher and as Eastern Europe editor for Dutch public television current affairs programmes. From 2007 to mid-2012 he was Moscow correspondent for the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. Krielaars has written three novels, a short-story collection, and various books on Russian history. Among the latter is Ooggetuigen Van De Russische Geschiedenis In Meer Dan Honderd Reportages (Eye Witnesses to Russian History in More Than One Hundred Reports), which he co-wrote with Barbara Driessen. In 2014 Het brilletje van Tsjechov (Through Chekov's Glasses) was published, a report of his travels through Russia in the footsteps of the famous author. Since June of 2012 he has headed the book-review section of NRC Handelsblad.
This evening is in English. It is organised by Writers Unlimited in co-operation with The Hague Central Library, and with support of the Municipality of The Hague. Curated by Tom Dommisse.