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Rosabelle Illes

Rosabelle Illes - foto Jonathan Petit
Rosabelle Illes - foto Jonathan Petit

(Aruba, 1987) is a poet, writer and performer. She made her debut in 2005 with a poetry collection Beyond Insanity. In 2010 she published a volume of poetry in her native language of Papiamento, Spiel di mi Alma (Mirror of My Soul), which reveals to the reader a world of contradictions. Her third book, Title (2016), is a collection of short stories, poems and thoughts. Illes' work usually explores topics and aspects of life that she does not understand. On stage, she transforms into a true performer engulfing her public in a stream of words, movement and meaning. Together with Levi Silvanie, she also co-authored a multilingual children's book entitled Hearty the Book (2018). A social and organizational psychologist by trade, she also lectures at the University of Aruba and develops content for companies and organizations as a producer, storyteller and copywriter.

(WN 2020)

Archive available for: Rosabelle Illes

  • Winternachten 2020

    Stories and poetry from Surinam and Aruba with Cynthia McLeod and Rosabelle Illes

    With: Cynthia Mc Leod, Rosabelle Illes, Tuncay Çinibulak

    Tip: Cynthia McLeod and Rosabelle Illes will both also appear at the festive Opening Night - A Free Mind on Wednesday, 15 January in Theater aan het Spui; at the Winternachten edition of Woorden Worden Zinnen on Thursday, 16 January at Paard; at Saturday Night Unlimited on 18 January in Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis Den Haag; and at the Dakota's Winternachten Story Festival at the Dakota Theater on Saturday 18 January and Sunday, 19 January.

    The Surinamese writer Cynthia McLeod (author of The Cost of Sugar) and the Aruban poet and performer Rosabelle Illes are visiting the Schilderswijk Library on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Writes Unlimited International Literature Festival The Hague. They read from their work, tell stories about Surinam and Aruba and answer questions from the public.

    McLeod writes historical novels and young adult books that take place in Surinam. As a result of researching her books, she has become an expert in the country's turbulent history, and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. She is a true storyteller who is passionate about bringing Surinamese history to life.

    Poet and writer Illes lives and works in Aruba. She writes in English and in her native tongue of Papiamento, for example in her poetry collection Spiel di mi Alma (Mirror of My Soul). On stage, Illes transforms into a true performer of her poems, sweeping up the public in a stream of words, movement and meaning.

    The Winternachten International Literary Festival The Hague is celebrating its 25th anniversary! From 15 to 19 January 2020 it takes place in theatres, libraries and schools throughout The Hague: at Theater aan het Spui, Filmhuis Den Haag, the Institute of Social Studies, the Zuiderstrand Theatre and Paard, as well as the Dakota Theatre and the Schilderswijk, Ypenburg and Nieuw Waldeck libraries. More than 100 local and international writers, poets and spoken-word artists will appear for recitations, prose, poetry, storytelling, spoken word, author interviews, topical discussions, films and music.

  • Winternachten 2020

    WWZ x Writers Unlimited 2020 (featuring a.o. Sticks)

    With: Benzokarim, Çağla Meknuze, Cynthia Mc Leod, Dagger DX, Elten Kiene, Guus van der Steen, Jesse Laport, Jolyn Phillips, Marco Martens, Quin Kempees, Roberta Petzoldt, Rosabelle Illes, Sticks

    Performers, poetry, punchlines, music, exhibits, beer & bites in a feel-good setting during this special Winternachten edition of Woorden Worden Zinnen at PAARD in the Grote Zaal. For this special occasion we've curated a program with artists from all over the globe. One of the definite highlights was a unique performance by rapper Sticks!

    The (inter-)national line-up also included Surinamese writer Cynthia McLeod, composer and singer Jolyn Phillips from South Africa, Turkish poet Çağla Meknuze, the Aruban poet Rosabelle Illes, poet and performer Roberta Petzoldt, poet and performer Jesse Laport, musician and spoken-word artist Guus van der Steen, poet en performer Marco Martens and spoken-word artist Benzokarim. Plus: verses to take home by Quin Kempees, your favourite host Elten Kiene, and tasty tunes by DJ Dagger DX.

    Woorden Worden Zinnen is a highly accessible platform and stage night for word art in the broadest sense. It takes place on and at stages and festivals throughout the Randstad and was founded in 2010 by spoken-word artist Elten Kiene and literary organizer Wesley Loos.

    This night is powered by GUAP (

  • Winternachten 2020

    Opening Night

    With: Adriaan van Dis, Angelina Enny, Antjie Krog, Cynthia Mc Leod, Ellen Deckwitz, Goenawan Mohamad, Hassnae Bouazza, Jolyn Phillips, Karin Amatmoekrim, Nelleke Noordervliet, Petina Gappah, Reggie Baay, Rosabelle Illes, Shailesh Bahoran, Sigrid Kaag, Simon(e) van Saarloos, Ton van de Langkruis, Vamba Sherif

    A fantastic line-up of fifteen Dutch and international authors provided a preview of the festival with their new poetry and prose, mixed with dance performances by Shailesh Bahoran. This festive evening celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Winternachten festival with the presentation of the (Dutch language) anniversary anthology De verovering van Jupiter (Over de dekolonisatie van de geest) (Conquering Jupiter: On decolonising the mind). The festival was opened by Sigrid Kaag, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

    At the behest of Writers Unlimited, all contributors wrote a short essay, story or poem for the anthology to reflect on the festival theme. It is a unique collection of 28 wonderful pieces of writing edited by Toef Jaeger and published by Jurgen Maas. It is available at regular bookstores and online.

    In the same venue in which the first Indonesian Winternacht (forerunner of Winternachten Festival) took place in 1995 - the Theater aan het Spui - on this jubilee opening night we proudly presented (inter)national writers that have developed a special bond with our festival and its audience. These included: Goenawan Mohamad (Indonesia) and Nelleke Noordervliet - who both performed at the first Winternacht in 1995 -, Adriaan van Dis, Antjie Krog (South Africa), Reggie Baay, Manon Uphoff, Vamba Sherif and Cynthia McLeod (Suriname). Tip: be sure to look up these writers in our online video and sound archive!

    Writers Unlimited will always continue to seek out talent, and in 25 years has presented many debuting local and foreign writers. How wonderful, then, to welcome on this evening - once again, or for the first time: Angelina Enny (Indonesia), Rosabelle Illes (Aruba), Jolyn Phillips (South Africa) and, from the Netherlands, Karin Amatmoekrim, Simon(e) van Saarloos and Ellen Deckwitz. We awaited their appearances and recitations with bated breath.

    Theatre maker, choreographer and hiphop innovator Shailesh Bahoran performed parts of his dance solo Heritage that was inspired by his Hindostani background; a short video of The Theatre of Wrong Decisions was shown and the Hesce Mourits Quartet of the Royal Conservatory The Hague also performed.

    The Opening Night was hosted by Hassnae Bouazza.

    The performance of Manon Uphoff, announced for this programme, has been canceled due to illness.

  • Winternachten 2020 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Rosabelle Illes: On Visibly Invisible stories

    Aruban writer, poet, spoken word artist Rosabelle Illes loves film and sometimes mentions it in her poetry, stories and videos. The question which images come to mind in relation to her own work, is central in this conversation with moderator Gerlinda Heywegen.

    Expected: the film about a long-running television soap opera starring an actor you wouldn't expect, plays the leading role here, alongside Illes. And the fact that Virginia Woolf is important to her and that she dared to write short stories alongside her poems because of her oeuvre, brings her, for example, to The Hours (Stephen Daldry, 2002 after Michael Cunningham's book), the feature film that connects Woolf and her Mrs. Dalloway so beautifully.

  • Winternachten 2020 – Friday Night Unlimited

    Spot on Young Poets

    The literary future performs for you! Francis Broekhuijsen presents high-school students from Edith Stein College and de Vrije School Den Haag reciting their own poetry, the result of the Spot on Young Poets workshops and poetry lessons given at the schools by poet and guest teacher Diann van Faassen. Appearing with them is poet Obe Alkema, a nominee for the 2019 C. Buddingh Prize, and Mirle Wittekoek, a participant from last year and winner of the 2019 Young Campert Prize. DJ Socrates takes care of the sounds and beats. One or two finalists for the 2019 Young Campert Prize are chosen during the Spot on Young Poets events on Friday and Saturday. The finalists recite their poems once more on Sunday during the Schrijversfeest (Writers Fest). One of them is chosen by the public and receives the award for best Hague student poet.

  • Winternachten 2020 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Poetry Unlimited: Surinam and Aruba

    The Dutch-Surinamese poet Antoine de Kom and Rosabelle Illes from Aruba have a conversation with Chris Keulemans about their work and how roots influence it. Both also read from their own work.

    Antoine de Kom is of Dutch-Surinamese background and the grandson of Anton de Kom, the Surinamese nationalist and resistance fighter. De Kom spent a great deal of his youth in Surinam. His first two poetry collections reflect that time: Tropen (Tropics, 1991) and De kilte in Brasilia (The Cold in Brasilia, 1995). The volumes Zebrahoeven (Zebra Hooves, 2001) and Chocoladetranen (Chocolate Tears, 2004) followed. De Kom was nominated for the C. Buddingh Prize and the Ida Gerhardt Poetry Prize, and his latest collection, Ritmisch zonder string (Rhythmic without String, 2013) won the VSB Poetry Prize.

    Rosabelle Illes debuted in 2005 with her poetry collection Beyond Insanity. In 2010 she published Spiel di mi Alma, a poetry collection in her mother tongue of Papiamento that reveals a world of contradictions to the reader. Her third book, Title (2016), is a collection of stories, poems and thoughts. On the stage, Illes transforms into a true performer of her poems, carrying away her audience in a stream of words, movement and meaning.

    Tip: Rosabelle Illes also appears at Opening Night - A Free Mind on 15 January at Theater aan het Spui, during Worden Worden Zinnen - the Writers Unlimited edition on 16 January at Paard, and with Cynthia McLeod on Saturday, 18 January at the Schilderswijk Library.

  • Winternachten 2020 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Letters from Overseas

    In 1795, the once-enslaved but later freed Wilhelmina Kelderman sent a heartbreaking letter from Paramaribo to her former master. The letter never arrived, as it was on a ship hijacked by the English, ended up in an archive, and was only opened two centuries later.

    Writers Unlimited festival asked nine authors to write a letter to someone in a (former) colony, inspired by Wilhelmina's entreaty, and to present it at this event. They will recite them in their mother tongue or preferred language of writing; English or Dutch translations will be simultaneously projected.

    Participants are Antjie Krog (South Africa), Alfred Birney, Reggie Baay, Ellen Deckwitz, Rosabelle Illes (Aruba), Jolyn Phillips (South Africa), Jasper Albinus, poet Angelina Enny (Indonesia) and poet, musician and theatre maker Robin Block.

    Tip: Antjie Krog, Reggie Baay, Ellen Deckwitz and Jolyn Phillips will also read from their contributions to the 25th anniversary Winternachten festival anthology during the Opening Night - A Free Mind on Wednesday, 15 January at Theater aan het Spui.