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Radna Fabias

Radna Fabias - foto: Wouter le Duc
Radna Fabias - foto: Wouter le Duc

(Curaçao, 1983) received a.o. the C. Buddingh Prize for her 2018 poetry debut Habitus. This startling, existentialist collection deals with Curaçao, feeling at home, and her role as a (black) woman, immigrant and outsider. She studied Writing for Performance at the Utrecht School of the Arts and won the poetry prize of the city of Oostende in 2016. Fabias' work is characterized by great variety, both in terms of content and style. De Groene Amsterdammer magazine commented in 2018: "Fabias dares to utilize every nook and cranny of poetry as an art form, the poems are short and lyrical, then narrative and long, sometimes clear and accessible and then hermetic and experimental." Habitus has been translated into French and Italian, and will be translated into Spanish, Arabic and German. Fabias herself translates poetry by Nobel Prize winner Louise Glück into Dutch, to be published end of 2021.

(WN 2021)

Archive available for: Radna Fabias

  • Winternachten 2021

    #SoulCare: Radical Happiness

    With: Bahghi, Gil Gomes Leal, Hassnae Bouazza, Jens Meijen, Koleka Putuma, Munganyende Hélène Christelle, Radna Fabias

    "Joy is an act of resistance" is a slogan that is gaining traction. Can happiness be a form of activism? Is there such a thing as restful resistance? And why is self-care so important? These questions constituted the foundation of the final program of this first, online part of the Winternachten International Literature Festival 2021 - you ended up in a warm bath of radical inspiration.

    "It's up to us": this emerges from the work of photographer Tyler Mitchell, whose summer 2019 exhibit I Can Make You Feel Good at the FOAM Photography Museum in Amsterdam was a sensitive ode to a "black utopia". Mitchell photographed young black people looking relaxed, sensitive and proud in idyllic settings. It was a beacon of hope for how things could look and a sharp contrast to the dominant images of black people in the media usually associated with strife, pain and violence.

    Mitchell's work is one of the sources of inspiration for programme maker Fleur Jeras, together with the poetry of the South African poet and performer Koleka Putuma - especially her poem Black Joy from the volume Collective Amnesia. Poet Alfred Schaffer, who translated Putuma's poetry into Dutch for the magazine Terras, wrote the following in the magazine Groene Amsterdammer: "You could say that Putuma in looking for a way out of the impasse with Collective Amnesia; she must escape the expectations of both the white and black public. Love could be an escape route."

    A fragment of the poem Black Joy by Koleka Putuma, from her collection Collective Amnesia:

    isn't funny?
    That when they ask about black childhood,
    all they are interested in is our pain,
    as if the joy-parts were accidental.

    I write love poems, too,
    you only want to see my mouth torn open in protest,
    as if my mouth were a wound
    with pus and gangrene
    for joy.

    Journalist Hassnae Bouazza talked about this poem with Putuma via an online connection from Capetown. We also brought you Putuma's work in other forms: poet Radna Fabias read from Putuma's work in their Dutch-language versions and singer-songwriter Bahghi and dancer Gil Gomes Leal presented new works inspired by Black Joy.

    Read here the three poems by Koleka Putuma.

    Additionally, poet Jens Meijen and writer-podcast maker Munganyende Hélène Christelle gave practical examples about how the create peace of mind and reflect on activism, a state of happiness and the future.

    Learn more here:


    Hassnae Bouazza

    Munganyende Hélène Christelle
    Podcast Fufu & Dadels

    Radna Fabias
    Video: Radna Fabia recites in DichterBij (VPRO) her poem Roestplaats

    Gil Gomes Leal
    website: performance Ayahuasca by Gil Gomes Leal & ISH Dance Collective

    Jens Meijen
    Short story Kaddisj, publication in Hard//hoofd

    Koleka Putuma
    Video: Koleka Putuma recites from Collective Amnesia on the train from Kaapstad-Muizenburg

  • Winternachten 2019

    Opening Night - Free the Word!

    With: Dareen Tatour, Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal, Gioconda Belli, Hassnae Bouazza, Jennifer Clement, Madeleine Thien, Michiel Servaes, Radna Fabias, Raj Mohan, Robert van Asten, Ton van de Langkruis

    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.

  • Winternachten 2019 – Friday Night Unlimited

    Spot On Young Poets

    The literary future performed for you! Francis Broekhuijsen presented the students of High-school students from Dalton Den Haag, Edith Stein College and Chr. College De Populier reciting their own poetry, the result of the Spot on Young Poets workshops and poetry lessons given at the schools by members of the Hague Poets Guild. Appearing with them were poet Radna Fabias, winner of the 2018 C. Buddingh Prize, and rapper, spoken-word artist and writer HemelBesem from South Africa. Sumai Yahya, a participant from last year and winner of the 2018 Young Campert Prize, also performed. DJ Socrates took care of the sounds and beats.
    One or two finalists for the 2019 Young Campert Prize were chosen during the Spot on Young Poets programmes on Friday and Saturday. The finalists recited their poems once more on Sunday during the Schrijversfeest (Writers Fest). One of them was chosen by the public and receivde the award of being the best Hague student poet.

  • Winternachten 2019 – Friday Night Unlimited

    Artificial ignorance: Digital Failure

    In order to protect ourselves, Radbout professor Martha Larson pleads for artificial ignorance: some data must be deliberately overlooked in IT. Eight authors made Larson's idea the starting point of their performance. They looked at technology in a different, creative way. What does technology reveal about its inventor? Also, the smart thermostat, the pacemaker and Google Maps may help us, but do they also define us? And what is the value of a digital error or failure?