Winternachten 2010

Decisive rules

Whether literature offers solace or confusion, whether it shows the way or disorders, every writer must have been moved in the course of his or her life by a passage, a line, an image or a poem which gave direction to his or her life. Was it a boys' … read more

Big Brother visiting

Christine Otten and Antjie Krog had disorder literally hovering on their doorstep. They discovered that independently of each other they had written books with an almost identical scene, a police raid on their homes. Both raids took place on … read more

Wintercafé 4: Dutch Corals

At the end of the evening, before you go to sleep, it is good and comforting to hear stories. Two authors - Wycliffe Smith and Bòi Antoin - from two new municipalities of The Netherlands, the Carribean islands of Bonaire and Saba, will tell you … read more

Wintercafe 3: New Etiquettes, please!

It is back again! Etiquette! As if it had never gone. The shops offer us a wide range of books that answer questions on how to pick up or put down your fork or knife, how to court a person, and when to sit down or stand up. Etiquette expert Beatrijs … read more

Wintercafé 2: Hold on! Oulipo.

Hold on! Oulipo and the literary restriction: If you play the game, you make the rules. The French OuLiPo company (Ouvroir Littéraire Potentielle, founded in 1960) thought that with self-imposed literary restrictions one could write potentially … read more

Wintercafé 1: Who's Afraid of Youth

This first our in the Wintercafé starts with a performance by saxophone player and composer Maarten Ornstein and Joshua Samson (percussion). Ornstein composed music to poetry that he read, but never heard. In the first of a series of three performan… read more

Wintercafé 4: Rules for Radicals 2.0

Nowadays, where does an angry artist leave his rage and criticism? In 'Rules for Radicals' we search for a pragmatic manual for the making of harmful literature, street noise and bombs for the national canon. Which are the new strategies for today's … read more

Wintercafé 3: Istanbul and the Cosmopolitan Future

Where borders disappear, people draw new lines. Cosmopolitan cities, where many different people and cultures meet, give fertile ground to new artistic twilight zones. In an exchange programme between Amsterdam, Antwerp and Istanbul, writers look … read more

Wintercafé 2: Who is afraid of Youth?

Pupils of two secondary schools in The Hague climb the stage and recite poems they've written. In the last few months poet Els Moors came to their classes and read poetry with them. Tonight Moors reads with pupils from the Rijswijks Lyceum and … read more

Wintercafé 1: Godless in Morocco

A programme on rule breaking heart and soul: Berber writer Mohamed Choukri from Morocco. In his autobiographical novel For Bread Alone (1973) he wrote about everything God had forbidden; his youth as a vagabond in Tangier, where he survived in a … read more

Zeeman's zealousness

On 27 July 2009 Michaël Zeeman died. He was only 50. His love of books and literature were unequalled. Books were his friends, his relatives, his loves. As a host Zeeman was attached to Winternachten for thirteen years. His death is not only a great … read more

The need for chaos

Petina Gappah (Zimbabwe/Switzerland) and Vamba Sherif (the Netherlands/Liberia) both live in a very much regulated society, but write about chaotic and deregulated societies. Joris Luyendijk talks to them about the question whether chaos and … read more

Rules or Confusion?

'The message is that you need borders and restrictions the experience freedom'. These are words of Jonathan Safran Foer (US) in a recent interview in a Dutch weekly. Foer, who opens the evening on rules and disorder, is like no other able to bring a … read more

The limits of chaos

Sometimes it seems that art comes into being primarily where order has been removed. But maybe even the most disorganising artist needs footing. With his music cellist Ernst Reijsiger skims along the limits of what his instrument has to offer in … read more

An Ode to Haiti

The heavy erathquake in Haiti, some days before the festival, had its consequences for the programme. The announced author Kettly Mars from Haiti was not hurt, but was not able to leave the island. Apart from that, Junot Diaz, the other announced … read more

The tone and the Music

The Lebanese Iman Humaydan is a sociologist, writer, journalist, conservationist and human rights activist. In her novels there is not much explicit that reminds one of her activism. Her commitment is packed in stories about people trying to save … read more

In search of the Golden Rule II

Is there such a thing a A Golden Social Rule to connect people of different cultures? Indian writer Tarun Tejpal and Dutch writer Bas Heijne try to find it. Which rules have become obsolete because of the worldwide economic crisis and the change of … read more

I speak your language

The new generation of poets Ronelda Kamfer (South Africa), Alfred Schaffer (Aruba/the Netherlands) a nd Hagar Peeters (the Netherlands) recite from their work and talk to Stephan Sanders about their language and poetry. Ronelda Kamfer writes in … read more

Indonesia, country of outsiders

The Malaysian writer Tash Aw and the Indonesian journalist Andreas Harsono talk about Indonesia as a country of purely outsiders. The characters in Aw's latest novel, Map of the Invisible World , all belong in Indonesia, while being outsiders at … read more

Love's Golden Rules

At the end of the evening writers Ramsey Nasr and Marja Pruis will go in search of Love's Golden Rules in the grote zaal. What are the most important and sincerest rules in love? And who has written about it in the most beautiful terms? Writing … read more

In search of the Golden Rule III

What if you have to work in a country that puts you under all kinds of legal restrictions? Shahriar Mandanipour, expelled from Iran, wrote about the censorship that he had to deal with as a writer. Xue Xinran worked as a radio journalist in China … read more

In search for the Golden Rule I: the Dutch and rules

In the search for the Golden Rule the first question that comes up is: what is our relationship with rules? In 1962 teenager Gerard Spong came from Surinam to the Netherlands. It was the beginning of a decade in which our country would change deeply … read more


This year too VPRO's history programme OVT ends the festival in a live broadcast from café Dudok. The Surinamese writer Theo Para is a guest to talk about his book De Schreeuw van Bastion Veere (The Cry of Bastion Veere) , dealing with the history … read more

How to Bluff Your Way into Saba, Statia and Bonaire

A crash course in the new Dutch municipalities! A few months still to go and our country obtains three Caribbean islands: Saba, St Eustatius and Bonaire. Be prepared and be informed on the language, literature and history of these tropical islands, … read more

Readers' Club Live: Kafka!

A man wakes up as an enormous insect, a circus artist fasts until death, a hangman demonstrates a new torture machine, a son has his father sentence him to death by drowning. The stories of Franz Kafka (1883-1924) are often absurd, but they are … read more

Winternachten Lecture

The question seemed as simple as far-reaching: if you were to rewrite the rules of the   U niversal Declaration of Human Rights , from a South African perspective, would the result resemble the original? Or would something completely … read more