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The Voice - In search of the character's soul

Saturday Night Unlimited -
Saturday Night Unlimited: The Voice, met vlnr Celeste Ng, Connie Palmen, Sacha Bronwasser en host Sarah Sluimer
Saturday Night Unlimited: The Voice, met vlnr Celeste Ng, Connie Palmen, Sacha Bronwasser en host Sarah Sluimer

We gave extra attention to the human voice during this festival edition with the theme "Human Voices". We asked Connie Palmen to write a new essay for The Voice - in search of the character's soul and to open Saturday Night Unlimited with it.

In her keynote speech, Palmen spoke about how an author gives voice to characters. The voice is the meeting point between body and soul, where interior and exterior meet. A novel begins to come alive through the voice of the character.

This theme was the subject of the following discussion between Palmen, Celeste Ng and Sacha Bronwasser, who published the novel Luister (Listen) in 2023. Writer and journalist Sarah Sluimer moderated.

Connie Palmen is the author of essays, stories, a novella, and her six great, award-winning novels, including I.M. and Jij zegt het (If You Say So). Recently she published Voornamelijk vrouwen (Mostly Women), a collection of personal essays about how eleven famous and headstrong women and one man give shape to their own lives.

Sacha Bronwasser is a writer and art historian. For twenty years, she was the fine art critic for the Volkskrant newspaper. Her debut novel Niets is gelogen (Nothing is a Lie, 2019) was followed in 2023 by Luister (Listen), an ingeniously written and riveting novel set in the eighties nad now.

Celeste Ng (USA), internationally one of the most-read authors with Asian roots, wrote three true page-turners. Her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You (2014), is a sensitive portrait of a family with several cultures. An even bigger bestseller, Little Fires Everywhere, was turned into a film with Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. Her third novel, Our Missing Hearts (2022), takes on the love between mother and child, discrimination of people with Asian roots, and humanity in dark times.

Festival tip: Celeste Ng also appeared during Friday Night Unlimited (19 January 2024). Connie Palmen appeared on Saturday afternoon, 20 January 2024 in conversation with artist Sven Ratzke in the event You Do Something to Me about their collaboration on his new show Marlene, from which he performed several famous Dietrich songs.