Ton van de Langkruis
(The Hague, NL, 1957) is founder and director of Writers Unlimited. He studied English language and literature at Leiden University and theatre at the University of Utrecht. From 1981 to 1991 he worked in theatre as a dramaturge, director, critic and tour organiser. In 1992 he organised the Samuel Beckett Festival in The Hague, a collaboration of the city's arts organizations. In 1995 he organised the Indië/Indonesië Festival (Dutch East Indies/Indonesia Festival), which brought together the arts of Indonesia and the Netherlands to celebrate the Republic of Indonesia's 50th anniversary. This event, ending with the Indische Winternacht (East-Indies Winternight), was the start of the Winternachten festival, The Hague's international literary festival.(WU 2014 GR)
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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.
On the Opening Night of the Winternachten festival 2018 the focus was on freedom of speech.
Pauline Krikke, Mayor of The Hague, opened the festival followed by a word of welcome by Ton van de Langkruis, Director of Winternachten festival. Jennifer Clement, writer and President of PEN International introduced Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid. His novel Exit West was nominated for the Man Booker Prize 2017. On the occasion of the Opening Night, Hamid delivers the Free the Word! speech.
The prestigious Oxfam Novib PEN Awards, presented to the winners by Oxfam Novib director Farah Karimi, honour writers who currently risk their freedom and even their lives to seek out and publish the truth.
The winners of the Oxfam Novib PEN Awards 2018 are journalist and writer Milagros Socorro from Venezuela and journalist Eskinder Nega from Ethiopia. Nega is imprisoned in his homeland and is therefore not attending to receive his Award.
The award ceremony was followed by an introduction of the award winners during the PEN Conversation by journalist and Nieuwsuur-anchor Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal.
The Opening Night programme further included performances by Boi Akih (world jazz) and Joost Baars (poetry). The programme was hosted by Margot Dijkgraaf, literary critic who regularly publishes in Dutch national newspaper NRC, and Chair of the Board of the Writers Unlimited organisation.
The Opening Night is organized in collaboration with Oxfam Novib, PEN International and PEN Nederland.
With: Anass Habib, Celal Altuntas, Farah Karimi, Ian Buruma, Jennifer Clement, Kamal Hors, Lex Bohlmeijer, Malini Subramaniam, Michaïl Sjisjkin, Peter Abspoel, Sjoerd de Jong, Ton van de Langkruis, Vonne van der Meer
On the festival's Opening Night, the focus is on freedom of speech. The evening started with Mikhail Shishkin, one of the most prominent representatives of contemporary Russian literature, delivering the Free the Word! speech. Next, the Oxfam Novib PEN Awards were handed out. The debate ''Writing in times of super-diversity' with writers Ian Buruma, Celal Altuntas and Peter Abspoel closed the evening.
The Opening Night is an English spoken programme organized in collaboration with Oxfam Novib, PEN International and PEN Nederland.
Free the Word!-speech by Mikhail Shishkin
Shishkin is the author of four widely acclaimed novels Pismovnik (2010), Maidenhair (2005), Taking of Izmail (2000) and Larionov´s Memoirs (1994), Shishkin is admired as a refined stylist whose fiction engages Russian and European literary traditions and forges an equally expansive vision for the future of literature. Shishkin has worked as a teacher and journalist. His novels have earned him the three most prestigious Russian literary awards: the Russian Booker Prize in 2000, the National Bestseller Prize in 2005, and the Bolshaya Kniga (Big Book) Prize in 2006 and 2011. His works have been translated into thirty languages.
Oxfam Novib PEN Awards
Afterward, the presentation of the prestigious Oxfam Novib PEN Awards honoured today's writers who risk their freedom and even their lives to seek out and publish the truth. The winners were be announced: the Palestine poetr Ashraf Fayadh, who is imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, and the Indian journalist Malini Subramaniam. The latter was able to come over to The Hague to receive the award from Farah Karimi, director of Oxfam Novib.
Debate with Ian Buruma, Celal Altuntas and Peter Abspoel
The debate 'Writing in times of super-diversity' followed, featuring writer and essayist Ian Buruma (New York Times, Guardian, NRC), writer Celal Altuntas (a.o. Het dorp van zeven broers / The Village of Seven Brothers) and anthropologist/writer Peter Abspoel (a.o. Zingeving in het Westen / Giving meaning in the West) as well as moderator Sjoerd de Jong, journalist and ombudsman with NRC Handelsblad newspaper. The subject was "Writing in times of super-diversity."
Host and music
This program was presented by Lex Bohlmeijer, with musical accompaniment by Kamal Hors (oud, voice) and Anass Habib (deff, voice).
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.
One of the most popular programmes on Radio 1 is VPRO's OVT (Simple Past Tense). Every Sunday the contemporary relevance of history takes centre stage.
It has become a tradition for OVT's radio professionals to relocate to The Hague during the festival in order to broadcast live from the cozy lobby of Theater aan het Spui. The public is most welcome; admission and coffee are free. The programme includes a spoken commentary by Nelleke Noordervliet, an interview with Bas Heijne on Couperus, and a focus on writer Reggie Baay and his just-published book Daar werd wat gruwelijks verricht (Something Terrible Happened There), about the hidden history of slavery in the Dutch East Indies. With live music by the The Hague band De Règâhs. Don't forget to reserve your spot via the blue link above. Programme in Dutch.
With: David Van Reybrouck, Dinar Rahayu, Farah Karimi, John Ralston Saul, Joris Wijsmuller, Karl Ove Knausgård, Leela Corman, Mano Bouzamour, Manon Uphoff, Mohammed Benzakour, Nelleke Noordervliet, Pauni Trio, Petra Stienen, Razan al-Maghrabi, Ton van de Langkruis
A special opening night featuring a keynote speech by Karl Ove Knausgård, the Oxfam Novib PEN Awards for Freedom of Expression, a debate moderated by Petra Stienen, and concluding words by David Van Reybrouck.
Freedom of speech and the power of the word are central issues on the festival's opening night. The president of PEN International, John Ralston Saul, will introduce the Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgård, who delivers the keynote Free Word Speech. Farah Karimi, director of Oxfam Novib will announce the laureates of the prestigious Oxfam Novib PEN Awards for Freedom of Expression. The awards honour writers who seek out and propagate the truth, sometimes at the risk of their own lives. Razan al-Maghrabi was one of the laureates, who could be present at the festival to receive the award. After an interview with Manon Uphoff (president of PEN Nederland), there will be adebate, moderated by Petra Stienen, on religious extremism and the value of provocation. Panellists include writers Mohammed Benzakour, Mano Bouzamour, cartoonist Leela Corman and Dinar Rahayu (Indonesia). David Van Reybrouck rounds out the evening with one his poems. After the programme, Writers Unlimited chair Nelleke Noordervliet and Alderman for culture of The Hague Joris Wijsmuller adress founder and festivaldirector Ton van de Langkruis on the occasion of the 20th edition of the festival. This event was put together with the collaboration of PEN International, PEN Nederland and Oxfam Novib.