is a young poet from The Hague who won the Young Campert Prize during the 2018 Winternachten festival. In the fall of 2017, he participated in Spot on Young Poets, the educational project of Writers Unlimited, the Hague Writers Guild and Meermanno Museum | House of the Book. This project constitutes poetry workshops at Hague high schools, where students are given lessons in poetry and recitation. Sumai presented his poem during Winternachten 2018. One of the three finalists, he won the Young Campert Prize for best student poet during the Writers' Feast. He was at the time a pupil of the Edith Stein College in The Hague.(WN 2019)
Archive available for: Sumai Yahya
Sumai Yahya in Spot on Young Poets
With: Sumai Yahya
Writers Unlimited asked eight young people to write a poem on the theme of the online Winternachten festival 2021: It's up to us. All of them previously participated in the Spot on Young Poets programme for secondary school pupils in The Hague and reached the finals of the Young Campert Prize.
Sumai Yahya is a young poet from The Hague who won the Young Campert Prize during the Winternachten festival 2018. He participated Fall 2017 in Spot on Young Poets, the education project of Writers Unlimited, poet and poetry teacher Diann van Faassen and Museum Meermanno | House of the Book.
During poetry workshops at secondary schools in The Hague, pupils are taught poetry writing and recitation. Sumai recited his poem during Winternachten festival 2018 and as one of the three finalists won the Young Campert Prize. At the time, he was a student of Edith Stein College in The Hague.
This year it was not possible to organize the poetry workshops, but Diann van Faassen walked with eight former participants through the parks and streets of The Hague and explored the theme with them. The result is an extraordinary series of video poems created by the young poets themselves. It is a poignant testimony of a generation, full of desire to express their perspective and outlook on life, but hardly able to do so due to the Covid-19 measures. With their imagination, they give a voice to their contemporaries that is usually under-represented in the public debate.
Diann van Faassen chronicled their walk, "When I feel tension, I start writing. It makes me calm." I walk with Sumai Yahya on a cold Sunday afternoon on Marlot estate, close to his home. "Some say art is 'the artist's therapy' and I believe we have energy that needs to be expressed so as not to get frustrated. But I write mainly because I love poetry, it's a passion."
Sumai is unintentionally having a gap year in 2020, he has been accepted into Film Studies at the University in Edinburgh but as he does not yet have the Dutch nationality, this is not possible now. Next year, he hopes to be officially a Dutch citizen. Over five years ago Sumai fled Syria with his family. "I feel most comfortable in international groups. There is more space there to be who you are, in the conversations with my Dutch friends I still sometimes feel like a stranger." He now continues to work at home to advance in film, poetry and photography; he does miss traveling. "About 'It's up to us' I also think of all that is not up to us, all that happens and the circumstances that make people follow a certain path."
Sumai participated in Spot on Young Poets in 2018 and received the Young Campert Prize for his poem. He attended Edith Stein College, which he left later that year to continue his education in Maastricht with additional subjects such as film, Arabic and Global Politics."
Feast of Writers
With: Aad Meinderts, Annemarie Estor, Douwe Draaisma, Hans Aarsman, Hassnae Bouazza, Jan van Aken, Jenny Arean, Maartje Meijer, Marja Pruis, Mathilde Santing, Maxime Garcia Diaz, Nelleke Noordervliet, Pauline Krikke, Robert van Asten, Sumai Yahya
Appearances by singer, cabaret artist and actress Jenny Arean (accompanied on piano by Peter van der Zwaag), singer Mathilde Santing (accompanied by musicians Bastiaan Mulder and Guus Bakker), memory psychologist and author Douwe Draaisma, jazz pianist and composer Maartje Meijer and photographer and writer Hans Aarsman made this a fantastic Schrijversfeest edition.
They performed to honour the winners of the literary prizes that the Jan Campert Foundation awarded on behalf of the City of The Hague. These were handed out during this Winternachten festival afternoon by the Mayor of The Hague, Pauline Krikke, and Robert van Asten, alderman for mobility, culture and strategy.
The Schrijversfeest was opened by young poet Maxime Garcia Diaz who reads from her own work. Then high-school students recited their poetry written during workshops at school. Among them Sumai Yahya, who won the Young Campert Prize last year. The audience decided which of three student nominees won this award for a young Hague poet this time.
Nelleke Noordervliet received the Constantijn Huygens Prize for her complete oeuvre. Since 1987 she has published a large number of novels, novellas, stories, essays and radio commentaries. Themes of historic ties, freedom, the collective and responsibility characterize her work. Her latest novel is Aan het eind van de dag (At the End of the Day, 2016)
Jan van Aken received the F. Bordewijk Prize for his novel De ommegang (The Procession). It takes place in Europe during the year 1400, "a time when fierceness prevails, death is always lurking, and the equally brilliant and opportunistic protagonist attempts to defend his position so that he can build a cathedral", according to the jury.
Annemarie Estor received the Jan Campert Prize for Niemandslandnacht (No-Man's-Land Night). This swirling prose poem, which reveals itself further at every reading, evokes a world that is both surreal and contemporary.
The biannual J. Greshoff Prize went to Marja Pruis for her essay collection Genoeg nu over mij (Enough Now about Me). "I" must deserve you, writes the journalist, critic and writer. She certainly deserves this prize for her full-out and unabashed thinking and writing.
This programme is a collaboration with the Jan Campert Foundation / Literature Museum.
Spot On Young Poets
The literary future performed for you! Francis Broekhuijsen presented the students of De Vrije School, ISW Hoogeland and Edith Stein College reciting their own poetry, the result of the Spot on Young Poets workshops given at the schools by members of the Hague Poets Guild. Appearing with them were poet Derek Otte, singer-songwriter Lounar, 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 performsed. DJ Socrates took care of the sounds and beats.
One or two finalists for the 2019 Young Campert Prize were selected during the Spot on Young Poets on Friday and Saturday. The finalists recited their poems once more on Sunday during the Writers Fest. One of them will be chosen by the public and will immediately afterwards received the award of being the best Hague student poet.
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.