(Belgium, 1972) is a writer, transdisciplinary artist and a film and theatre maker. She debuted with De Kleenex Kronieken (The Kleenex Chronicles, 2014), a family and village chronicle featuring Priscilla, the daughter of a Flemish father and a Senegalese mother. She published the children's book Sala & Monk in 2020. In Echo - essays, speeches en brieven (Echo - essays, speeches and letters, 2021), named after the poem Echoes by Audre Lorde, she places her finger on a sore spot. Not only is the white gaze still dominant in our society, Black women are doubly disadvantaged: they aren't white and they aren't men. Beks shows how systematic is not to be seen or heard. Her essay De kleine Morrison: een wegwijzer in het lezen van haar werk vanuit Zwart perspectief (The Little Morrison: A Signpost to Reading Her Work from a Black Perspective, 2023) offers readers of Toni Morrison, the most famous female black writer and Nobel Prize for Literature winner who died in 2019, insight into her life and work. Beks shows that in everything she does, Morrison invites self-critical reflection on language, structure, power, gender, race, law and injustice, blackness, the white gaze and the meaning of oral and written narratives.(WN 2022)
Archive available for: Neske Beks
With: Angel ArunA, Astrid H. Roemer, Caleb Azumah Nelson, Chika Unigwe, David Diop, Dean Bowen, Martine Woudt, Nazrina Rodjan, Neske Beks, Rachida Lamrabet, Radna Fabias, Sarita Bajnath, Shantie Singh
In the Winternachten festival programme All the World's Excuses, prominent authors Chika Unigwe (US, a.o. On Black Sisters' Street), David Diop (France, International Booker Prize-winner for At Night All Blood is Black) and Caleb Azumah Nelson (UK, a.o. the well-received debut novel Open Water) talked about the global traces of slavery and how this permeates our current society, literature and their books. They addressed (post)colonialism, migration and identity formation. And, of course, they read from their own work. Interviewers were Rachida Lamrabet and Dean Bowen.
Furthermore, writer Neske Beks told about how her new book De kleine Morrison (The Small Morrison, 2023), an introduction into reading Toni Morrison's books from a Black perspective, relates to the theme of All the World's Excuses, and if that also applies to Dutch or Flemish authors with roots in former colonies. Writer Astrid H. Roemer and poet Radna Fabias also contributed with readings from their work. 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.
Preceding the performances in Zaal 1, we opened the evening programme in the lobby of Theater aan het Spui with a short pre-programme with readings by writer Chika Unigwe and poet Dean Bowen from their works, hosted by Sarita Bajnath.
All the World's Excuses asked questions about how stories about slavery and its abolition have taken their place in our collective memory, and about what authors pass on to young people searching for their (invisible) story and identity in the country where they were born.
On all continents, stories about these subjects went unheard, were suppressed or were rendered invisible for a long time. Thanks to the talent and work of many authors, these stories have since found a home in world literature. Through this literature, the weight of this history and the importance of sharing these stories is made palpable.
Bookstore De Vries van Stockum was present in the lobby with a stand offering books by participating authors of this programme, among others!
This programme was curated by Shantie Singh, author of a.o. the novels Vervoering (2014) and De kier (2020).
This event was in English; translations of non-English readings were simultaneously projected on a screen.
With day ticket also to afternoon programme Verhalen die verbinden (Connecting Stories)
Preceding All the World's Excuses on Sunday 16 April as of 14:30h in Theater aan het Spui was the, Dutch spoken, Winternachten festival afternoon programme Verhalen die verbinden. A reduced price day ticket for both festival programmes on 16 April was available.
A literary relay with Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Neske Beks, Aafke Romeijn, Rebecca Solnit (online), Robin Block, Pola Oloixarac et al.
Whose House is This? is Winternachten 2022's festival theme. In this event, we presented an exciting relay of readings and music, in which our festival authors put their own spin on the theme. Together they breathed new life into the house of family, society and literature.
All angles of the four-day Winternachten Festival were covered in Whose House is This? during a colourful parade of authors and performers. Various voices gave completely different answers to the great question underlying the festival. We listened to stories about being at home, to critical stories about the institutions to which we are subject, to cozy stories built on a solid foundation, and much more.
Author and artist Neske Beks got her teeth into our theme (and the question is what was left over); author Pola Oloixarac let us in on the fun of Mona, a parody of the literary world; multitalent Aafke Romeijn treated us to music; and writer and activist Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me) came home to us on the podium all the way from the United States.
Book-focused talk show by ROSE Stories with Neske Beks, Sayonara Stutgard and Zawdie Sandvliet. Host: Rachida Lamrabet
In this episode of the book-focused feminist talk show, Neverending Stories, Rachida Lamrabet talked with Neske Beks, Sayonara Stutgard and Zawdie Sandvliet about racism in Dutch society.
We discussed how certain groups are systematically excluded, about the colonial past, and about what must change urgently. The starting point was writer Neske Beks' Echo, a collection of essays, letters and speeches that show how systematic the failure to see and hear is.
Writer Sayonara Stutgard and historian Zawdie Sandvliet also joined the fray. Together they delved into the Echo volume and built bridges between black and white, talked about the importance of Toni Morrison's work, and let the black female voice sound loudly and clearly.
Neverending Stories is the barrier-breaking, inclusive talk show by ROSE Stories. It's a show for a new, culturally diverse public, not just from the Netherlands but also Belgium and the Dutch Antilles. The show discusses recently published books that bring fresh perspectives to themes relevant to a super-diverse society. It focuses on the stories of bicultural writers and female writers in particular, as an answer to the very topical social-ethnic and societal need for authentic stories told from the inside that contribute to a better representation of society.
Neverending Stories was an initiative of ROSE Stories in collaboration with deBuren, Writers Unlimited and Watershed, and was made possible with the help of Literature Flanders, the Prins Bernhard Culture Fund, 21 Fund and the Dutch Literary Fund.
'Listen, drink a glass and feel how warm a winternight can be in the Wintercafé'. And it sure got very warm at the Wintercafé! With readings, short interviews and music by born improviser Behsat Üvez. On Saturday night hosts were Neske Beks and Wim Brands. The Wintercafé was graced with the internationally acclaimed singer and multi-instrumentalist Behsat Üvez.
The café opened with a brandnew story by writer Arthur Japin. Sympathize with the Ghanaian boy Kwaku, who yearns for the real life somewhere away from his own shabby neighbourhood. The programme was realized in cooperation with cultural institute DeBuren from Brussels, whom recorded Japins story as a 'radiobook' and broadcasts it worldwide. In Dutch.
In The Folds of Language Selim Temo (Kurdish), Kamran Nazirli (Azerbaijani) and Gündüz Vassaf (Turkey) read and talked about their daily struggle not to have their language kidnapped by politics or taboo. Turkish/Dutch/English.
As on Friday night, pupils from local secondary schools showed their poetic disposition and were reading their work on the topic of revelations. Poet Hélène Gelèns also read from her work.
A 'pre-read' at Winternachten round writer Tip Marugg (1923-2006). Journalist Petra Possel read from No-one Is an Island, in which she defies the myth of Marugg as a hermit. Poet Carel de Haseth read newly discovered poems, included in the collected works Heaven is Short-lived. The book and the collected works (edited by Aart Broek and Wim Rutgers) was published on 29 January.