(Netherlands, 1961) is a writer, journalist and, since 2012, Editor-in-Chief of the literature section of NRC newspaper. He studied history and Russian at the University of Amsterdam. Krielaars has written novels, a short-story collection, and various books about Russian history. Het brilletje van Tsjechov (Through Chekov's Glasses) was published in 2014, a report of his travels through Russia in the footsteps of the famous author. His book Reizen door Rusland (Travels through Russia) earned high praise and won the 2015 Bob den Uyl Prize. Alles voor het moederland (Everything for the Mother Country, 2017) tells about Stalin's reign of terror in the times of Isaak Babel and Vasili Grossman.(WN 2019)
Archive available for: Michel Krielaars
The NRC Live Reading Club is a festival tradition. The panel featured two NRC columnists, the poet Ellen Deckwitz and the journalist Clarice Gargard, who discussed Hella Haasse's Oeroeg (1948) with the help of moderator and NRC Editor-in-Chief of Books Michel Krielaars. They came up with new arguments for reading this classic - for new readers or those already familiar with the novella.
Oeroeg is a novella by the Dutch writer Hella S. Haasse (1918-2011) which was first published in 1948. It first appeared as the national Book Week present and became an important work in Dutch literature. It has been reprinted and translated many times. Haasse found inspiration in her own longing for the Dutch East Indies, where she was born and spent a large part of her youth. The Dutch first-person narrator recalls his friendship with a boy named Oeroeg. As boys there were inseparable, but due to their differences, including above all their nationalities, they grew apart. As adults they face each other as colonial overseer and freedom fighter.
Hella Haasse's Indonesian novels are about the former Dutch colony of the Dutch East Indies. Oeroeg was the first and Sleuteloog (2008) the last. One of the common themes is colonialism, especially the relationship between the Netherlands and its former colony, the Dutch East Indies. Colonial issues come to the forefront in Oeroeg.
On Wednesday, 22 May, Canadian author and biographer Rosemary Sullivan is guest of honor at B-Unlimited. Michel Krielaars, Russia expert and editor of the NRC's books section, will be engaging her in conversation about Stalin's Daughter, her biography of the merciless dictator's offspring.
Rosemary Sullivan is an award-winning poet and biographer. Her biography Stalin's Daughter has been published in 23 countries, receiving great acclaim and several awards. She has written 14 books, among them the international bestseller Villa Air-Bel: World War II, Escape, and a House in Marseille.
Stalin's daughter (Svetlana Alliluyeva, later known as Lana Peters) was born in 1926. She spent her childhood between the walls of the Kremlin. Though the privilege of the Communist Party protected her from Russia's deadly famine and purges, she did not escape tragedy, losing everyone she held dear, including her mother, two brothers, aunts, uncles, and a lover. After Stalin's death in 1953, Svetlana fled her father's legacy and sought refuge in the United States, leaving her two children behind. She would never be able to escape her heritage, and her life was characterized by countless moves and broken relationships. She eventually died in poverty in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
For her biography, Sullivan acquired access to the archives of the KGB, CIA, and the Soviet government, working closely with Svetlana's daughter as well. This event is conducted in English.
Event curated by Ilonka Reintjens (Writers Unlimited)
Books for sale courtesy of De Vries Van Stockum Books
With: Michel Krielaars
In the NRC Reading Club Live, Youp van 't Hek reviews with you one of his favourite books: the hilariously melancholic novel Us (2015) by British author and film- and TV-scriptwriter David Nicholls.
In Us, we meet a man who is told by his wife that it's high time to divorce; now that their son has flown the coop, their parental job is over. The man decides that the already planned family vacation will be the trip to save their relationship.
The NRC Reading Club is an exclusive, recurrent Saturday afternoon event of The Hague's Winternachten international literature festival. One of the NRC editors, columnists or essayists discusses a favourite book with the public, introduced by Michel Krielaars, head of the newspaper's books section.
In previous editions of the NRC Reading Club, Louise O. Fresco discussed the Dutch Indies novel De tienduizend dingen (Ten-Thousand Things) by Maria Dermoût and Bas Heijne talked with the public about Gustave Flaubert's classic novel Madame Bovary.
In his latest book, Dancing Bears: True Stories of People Nostalgic for Life Under Tyranny, the young Polish writer and journalist Witold Szabłowski goes looking for what remains of the communist ideals the dancing bears from his title are released former circus animals from Bulgaria who can barely survive in the wild. During his reporter's travels through Poland, Albania, and Bulgaria, among other countries, he records the intriguing stories of people who, like the tamed bears, have been freed but often still long for the communist era. Freedom is trickier than we think, he finds, and when inequality increases, support for communism grows. Szabłowski discussed his work with Michel Krielaars, Books Editor at the NRC and author of, among other books, Alles voor het moederland (Everything for the motherland), about Stalin's reign of terror in the days of Babel and Grossman.
Event curated by Toef Jaeger (Writers Unlimited)
Books for sale courtesy of Van Stockum Booksellers
When we asked Bas Heijne to choose a classic to discuss during Writers Unlimited 2018 at the NRC Reader's Club, he asked for a few weeks' time to think it over. There are so many worthy books to (re)read and discuss! He finally settled on Gustave Flaubert's world-famous psychological novel, Madame Bovary.
The novel, which Flaubert wrote in 56 months, was originally published in serial form in 1856. It became an enormous success the following year, partly because Flaubert, his publisher and the printer were accused of "offending public and religious morality and good taste" in a lawsuit that was the talk of the town. With the help of his connections in high society, Flaubert was ultimately acquitted of "vulgar realism and a shocking description of characters".
The meticulous depiction of his protagonist Emma Bovary, of her affairs and of her desire for a larger life continue to inspire not only writers, playwrights, scriptwriters and graphic novelists but also new readers. The novel is available in Dutch, translated by Hans van Pinxteren and published by LJ Veen Klassiek.
Michel Krielaars, editor of the NRC newspaper's books section, introduced Heijne's discussion of Madame Bovary.
Right after the performance, Bas Heijne was at Van Stockum Bookshop in the foyer for a booksigning session.
Director, scientist, writer and columnist Louise O. Fresco discusses Maria Dermoût's De tienduizend dingen (Ten Thousand Things) with the public, introduced by NRC Handelsblad newspaper's books editor Michel Krielaars. Fresco tells us why it is relevant and worthwhile to (re)read this Indonesian novel from 1955. She invites you to read the novel, and then join the dicussion on this afternoon.
The novel is a classic that inspires readers around the world to this day. When it appeared in the US in 1958, it pushed Doctor Zhivago and Breakfast at Tiffany's off the bestseller lists. It has been continually reprinted in the Netherlands.
The novel is set on a Moluccan island in the last stages of Dutch colonization. In it, Mrs. Felicia van Kleyntjes lives alone with her servants on a remote plantation by a bay while remembering the dead and the living.
The title of the novel is taken from a line from 7th-century Chinese poet Ts'ên Shên: "When the 'ten-thousand things' have been seen as one, we will return to the beginning and remain where we always were." According to Moluccan tradition, upon a person's death, the one hundred things by which he or she will be remembered are sung about: from the smallest things, such as the seashells at the bach, to the people that surrounded him or her. At the end of the book, Felicia sees her own "one hundred things" pass before her eyes.
Dermoût (Pekalongan, 1888 - Noordwijk aan Zee, 1962) was born on Java in the then-Dutch Indies, went to school in the Netherlands, and travelled between both countries her whole life. Her Indonesian years inspired her various stories and novels, such as De tienduizend dingen, a masterpiece that became an international hit. In Dutch
A festival tradition: the NRC Book Club Live. A panel headed by NRC books editor Michel Krielaars, including staffers Margot Dijkgraaf, Arjen Fortuin and Toef Jaeger, discusses Connie Palmen's Lucifer (2007). In this philosophical whodunit, the wife of composer Lucas Loos falls into an abyss on a Greek island in the summer of 1981. A quarter-century later, the protagonist decides to investigate. She encounters unexpected information through the colourful inhabitants of 1980s Amsterdam. Was this death predicted years earlier in a musical number, or was the fall a terrible accident? In a blurb on the book flap, the author says she was inspired by events surrounding Dutch composer Peter Schat (1935-2003) and his wife.
Everyone is welcome, and of course you, the reader of the book, can add your two cents to the discussion. Afterwards you can attend the interview of Connie Palmen by Anna Luyten, which will also touch on her new novel Jij zegt het (Whatever You Say), based on the lives of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, the poet who famously committed suicide.
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.
An honoured festival tradition: the NRC Reading Club Live. The panel, made up of editors Elsbeth Etty, Bas Heijne and writer Gustaaf Peek, discusses Adriaan van Dis' novel Familieziek (Repatriated). The NRC Handelsblad newspaper's book-section head Michel Krielaars moderates. As reader of the book, you too can add your two cents to the discussion!
A boy is prepared for the future under the threat of the Cold War. He must learn to get by in an evil world. The bomb is also ticking at home... his father and educator, Mr Java, is a war-damaged man who increasingly draws his son into his delusional world. The son is a silent witness, seeing everything and forgetting nothing. Madness sweeps through the house and his mother and sisters form a skeptical chorus commenting on events. Familieziek (Repatriated) is a moving novel about a boy who breaks free of his parents' grip and yet cannot escape the curse of their past.
Afterwards you can attend the programme in which Hans Goedkoop talks to Adriaan van Dis about his new novel Ik kom terug (I'm Coming Back, 2014).
A valued tradition of the festival: the NRC Reading Club Live. Visitors read a book and give their opinion. But first we give the floor to the panel, consisting of Elsbeth Etty, Bas Heijne and guest editor Sana Valiulina, and hosted by Michel Krielaars, head of the book pages of NRC Handelsblad. This time we read The Red Cavalry from the collected stories by Isaak Babel.
Isaak Babel (1894-1940) has many admirers, also in the Netherlands, from writers Tommy Wieringa to Arnon Grunberg, from book critics Arjan Peters (Volkskrant) to Michel Krielaars (NRC Handelsblad). His Red Cavalry Stories are among the master pieces in Russian literature. The stories were recently published anew in an elegant new translation, in a hardback edition by Van Oorschot Publishers.
In the Red Cavalry Stories Isaak Babel wrote about his experiences during the Polish-Russian war, to which he was sent by his literary mentor Gorki 'to discover real life'. The stories are full of blood and random killings, told in a down-to-earth style, and that's what makes them so penetrating.
Isaak Babel supported the Bolshevist revolution but he couldn't and didn't want to close his eyes for its sometimes gruesome consequences and that's exactly what he wrote about. That's why the police and the censors were after him all the time. He was arrested in 1939 and sentenced to death and executed on Stalin's orders.
"You get into a trance by Isaak Babel's incredible style." (Arjan Peters, Volkskrant)
"All in all Babel is the artist convincing the reader of a completely new vision of the world." (New York Review of Books)
Don't forget to read the book, and bring it with you!
The reading club discusses The Leopard (Il Gattopardo, 1958) by Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. In 2012 a reprint appeared of the much acclaimed translation by Anthonie Kee. Reason enough to (re)read this historical novel - set in 19th century Cicily, where the citizenry, under the leadership of Garibaldi, takes over from the nobility. Michel Krielaars, editor of the book pages of NRC Handelsblad hosts and there is a panel discussion with NRC editors Elsbeth Etty and Bas Heijne and guest Marjolijn van Heemstra, who based her book De laatste Aedema (The Last Aedema) on her own noble family. In Dutch.
Amos Oz, Israel's leading writer, is often mentioned as a likely candidate for the Nobel Prize for literature. In 1998 he won the Israel Prize for literature and the prestigious Goethe Prize, a triennial award for excellence in literature. His book My Michael is one of the one hundred best sold books in the 20th century and A Story of Love and Darkness was an international sensation. In January 2013 his latest book, Among Friends appears, a magnificent portrayal of the members of a kibbutz community, who, in spite of their collectivist society are a bunch of lonely individuals, left to their own devices. He talks about his work with Michel Krielaars, editor of NRC Handelsblad's book pages. In English.