(Nijmegen, NL, 1969) is a historian, writer, and a reporter and columnist with De Volkskrant newspaper. As a reporter he specialized in minority issues and asylum seekers. Heijmans debuted as a novelist in 2011 with Op Zee (At Sea), about a father who sails from Denmark to the Netherlands with his daughter. The book was adapted for television and the French translation took 2013's Prix Médicis étranger, previously won by the likes of Milan Kundera, Orhan Pamuk and Philip Roth. Pristina was published in 2014, which pits the rigidity of a complacent repatriation officer against the individual suffering of an engaging, Dutchified, Kosovo-Serbian asylum seeker. This past 30 September he received the French Order of Arts and Letters. Heijmans has also written non-fiction, such as 2007's La vie Vinex (Suburban Life), in which he describes life in the Dutch suburb of IJburg. It was preceded by 2005's De asielmachine (The Asylum Machine) and 2003's Allochtonië (Immigrant Central). He has also written scripts for the TV series De Fractie (The Sitting Members).(2015)
Archive available for: Toine Heijmans
With: Alaa al Aswani, Dick van der Harst, Dilek Dundar, Farah Karimi, Guy Danel, Habtom Yohannes, Jennifer Clement, Jung Chang, Lex Bohlmeijer, Manon Uphoff, Reinier Voet, Renate Dorrestein, Toine Heijmans, Ton van de Langkruis
On opening night, the spotlight is on freedom of speech.The Sino-British writer Jung Chang knows what it means to be unable to speak freely in one's country. Years after she left Communist China, her world-famous book Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China was banned there. Tonight she delivers the Free the Word! keynote speech. With the following presentation of the prestigious Oxfam Novib PEN Awards, the festival honours contemporary authors who seek and propagate truth at the risk of their freedom and lives. The award-winners are the Turkish writer and journalist Can Dundar (who is now in prison in Turkey and will be represented by his wife Dilek Dundar), the Eritrean poet and songwriter Amanuel Asrat, who will be represented by Habtom Yohannes, and the Egyptian poet Omar Hazek. He would have been present in The Hague to receive the award, but was stopped on his way to The Netherlands at Cairo airport by the authorities. His fellow-countryman writer Alaa Al Aswany will represent him. After the ceremony, Lex Bohlmeijer will lead a discussion on how good intentions can founder when we raise issues of injustice, such as censorship. How can we really help threatened writers? And what is the point of good intentions when they have the opposite effect? Musical interventions by musician-in-residence Dick van der Harst switch up this English-language event.