Simone Atangana Bekono
(1991) graduated in Creative Writing from ArtEZ in 2016 with what would immediately become her debut: Hoe de eerste vonken zichtbaar waren (How the First Sparks Were Visible, 2017). It won the 2018 Poëziedebuutprijs Aan Zee (Poetry Debut Prize on the Sea). The collection asks questions such as how social stamps such as race and gender influence our life experience, and what the sound of the new language is that expresses this. Through her poetry and letters, the author investigates the most fruitful manner of relating to the debate around (sexual) racism, Eurocentrism and today's polarization. She has been published in De Optimist, Samplekanon and De Gids, and appeard at the Nacht van de Poëzie (Night of Poetry), Writers Unlimited and Read my World. She was selected for the Slow Writing Lab and for CELA, a development process for writers and translators in six European countries. She is currently working on her first novel.(WN 2020)
Archive available for: Simone Atangana Bekono
How do writers relate to decolonizing language and literature, not only in their subject matter but also in the form of their poetry and stories?
During the Friday Night Unlimited program, several events will focus on the decolonization of the mind. How free is our mind, what does freedom mean, and are we truly free, or caught in the framework of our culture, society and history? This theme is partly based on the essay collection Decolonizing the Mind by the Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o, in which he discusses colonized language and how its influence is still notable. Since he believes that language plays a constructive role in culture, history and identity, he argues for "linguistic decolonization".
This first program will be opened with a speech by writer Mukoma Wa Ngugi (USA, and son of Ngugi wa Thiong'o); then Simone Zeefuik discusses this subject with him and with poet Simone Atangana Bekone (Netherlands), poet and writer Antjie Krog (South Africa) and writer Petina Gappah (Zimbabwe).
Tip: Petina Gappah also appears at Opening Night - A Free Mind on Wednesday, 15 January, at Theater aan het Spui; Antjie Krog appears at Saturday Night Unlimited, 18 January, and during the Winternachten New Year's Concert on Sunday afternoon, 19 January, at the Zuiderstrand Theatre.
Within De verborgen ruimte (The Secret Space), the map is newly read and drawn by nine poets. Which sounds and tones belong in it, what has not yet been said, and what is continually misunderstood? Who is on the sidelines or smack in the centre? The Secret Space could be in suburbia, in a body, in a factory farm, or in an addictions clinic. This has consequences - whoever peeks into the secret space loses a number of his or her certainties. When the map is redrawn, no one finds their way home.
The "VSB Poetry Prize on Tour" forms part of The Secret Space - among the performing poets are the authors of three volumes nominated for the VSB Poetry Prize: Kwaadgesternte (Born Under a Bad Sign) by Hannah van Binsbergen, Lichtmeters by Ruth Lasters and Koelkastlicht (Refrigerator Light) by Rodaan Al Galidi. In addition, Marieke Rijneveld, Dominique de Groen, Mira Feticu, Obe Alkema, Simone Atangana Bekono and Ton van 't Hof will read from their work. The Secret Space is organized and presented by the poet Maarten van der Graaff, winner of the C.Buddingh' Award 2014 for his debut collection Vluchtautogedichten (Getaway Car Poems). Programme in Dutch