Winternachten 2011


(Bahama's/ Maria Govan) Determined to reconcile with the mother who abandoned her when she was just a toddler, in this intimate family drama a Bahamian adolescent boards a local mail boat and sets sail for Nassau. Rain has lived a sheltered life on … read more


(Trinidad/US, Dalton Narine) The film examines the world famous Trinidad carnival artist Peter Minshall's life and art. It is a tapestry woven from multiple threads that include his "masography" coursing through 26 years; his design and stage acumen … read more

Carmen and Geoffrey

(Trinidad/VS, Linda Atkinson & Nick Doob) This intimate documentary follows careers of two remarkable personalities: Carmen de Lavadalle, a dynamic dancer and choreographer from California who moved to New York with Alvin Ailey and began a legacy of … read more

Caraibean Film Programme: The Legend of Buchi Fil

(Curaçao, German Gruber) Every morning all the slaves, on their way to work, take their hat of for Bomba. All slaves, except Buchi. He always walks with his head held high. An Antillean legend from the times of slavery. Based on the poem "Balada di … read more

Film: Osadné

(Marko Skop, 2009) Little village, big ambitions: a combination often leading to some funny situations. The Slovakian hamlet of Osadné is on the easternmost border of the European Union, and it is dying out. The original Russian population is not … read more

Wintercafe 3: VPRO De Avonden

The search of VPRO's De Avonden for Utopia continues, with readings by Ernest van der Kwast and Hector Abad. Philosophers Menno van der Veen and Hans Achterhuis will talk about the possibility of novel Utopias. Isn't there a great danger in any form … read more

Amarins & Le Gatte Negre, Ernest van der Kwast, Hans Achterhuis, Hector Abad, Jeroen van Kan, Lotje IJzermans, Menno van der Veen

Wintercafe 2: VPRO De Avonden

In VPRO's De Avonden poets, musicians and writers give the audience a glimpse of their own Utopia.  Writers Gustaaf Peek and Hisham Matar wrote letters to each other for some three months, in which they informed one another about their poetics. The … read more

Amarins & Le Gatte Negre, Elif Batuman, Gustaaf Peek, Hisham Matar, Jeroen van Kan, Lotje IJzermans

The comfort of the bedside table

In the collection of essays The Possessed the Turkish-American writer Elif Batuman describes her love for literature and tries among other things to find and answer to the question as to how to bring literature as close to your everyday life as … read more

Elif Batuman, Manon Uphoff, Marja Pruis

Julian Coco and Curaçao: Randal Corsen meets Marlon Titre

Randal Corsen (piano) and Marlon Titre (classical guitar) with their band and the New European Ensemble chamber orchestra pay tribute to Julian Coco, the Curaçao guitarist/double bass player, who merged European and African music into new Caribbean … read more

Randal Corsen, Marlon Titre, New European Ensemble

The Promised Land

The experiences of emigrants have resulted in a lot of outstanding literature. Apparently, the shocking contrast between dream and reality is not only a painful but also a rich source of inspiration. Jean Kwok, who originally comes from China, grew … read more

Hassnae Bouazza, Jean Kwok, Youssouf Amine Elalamy

Great Expectations for Suriname?

Tessa Leuwsha and Rihana Jamaludin in some sense share a mirrored life: the one grew up in the Netherlands and went to Suriname, the other grew up in Suriname and left for the Netherlands. Both countries not only play an important role in their … read more

Noraly Beyer, Rihana Jamaludin, Tessa Leuwsha

Happy Poetry

Poetry makes you happy! Allow yourself to be inspired tonight and get carries along by poets and performers Kees van Kooten, Rodaan Al Galidi (Iraq) and Marjolijn Heemstra, who get happy from poetry and want to share that happiness with others. Kees … read more

Kees van Kooten, Lang & Gelukkig, Marjolijn van Heemstra, Rodaan Al Galidi

The Writer and his Body

Books are brainchildren. Few writers will argue with that. Until such time when the body no longer agrees with this division of labour and starts making havoc. This happened to the British writer Tim Parks. Physical problems forced him to a … read more

Abdelkader Benali, Gerbrand Bakker, Tim Parks

Literature: The Great Whitewasher

The writers Nazmiye Oral, Ernest van der Kwast and Ger Beukenkamp all write about family; Oral especially in her columns, Van der Kwast in his novel Mama Tandoori and   Beukenkamp in scripts like De Kroon (The Crown) and Den Uyl en de affaire … read more

Asis Aynan, Ernest van der Kwast, Ger Beukenkamp, Nazmiye Oral

Old Ideals

Adriaan Van Dis, Maaza Mengiste en Abeer Soliman wrote books on ideals. Van Dis' novel Tikkop relates the history of two white men who as students got involved in the international resistance against Apartheid in South Africa. Mengiste wrote The … read more

Abeer Soliman, Adriaan van Dis, Joris Luyendijk, Maaza Mengiste

Wintercafe 3: VPRO De Avonden Live

In the second hour of De Avonden poet and performer Hagar Peeters tells how she incorporates Utopian Thinking in her new book Wasdom. Writer and cabaret artist Martijn Knol writes a manual of how we can indeed build a new Utopia together for the … read more

Catherine van Campen, David Mitchell, Hagar Peeters, Jeroen van Kan, Lotte van Dijck, Martijn Knol, Omékongo Dibinga, Tim Parks

Wintercafe 1: Who's Afraid of Youth?

Pupils of two secondary schools in The Hague climb the stage to read poems they wrote themselves. In the past few months they were visited by poet Rodaan al Galidi, who read poetry with them. Tonight they will perform together with al Galidi. Host: … read more

Faya, Francis Broekhuijsen, Rodaan Al Galidi

Wintercafe 2: VPRO De Avonden Live

Can literature help is in imagining new possibilities of becoming a better and happier 'Mensch' In VPRO's De Avonden poets, musicians and writers offer the audience a glimpse of ther own Utopia. With readings by Rodaan al Galidi and Thomas Möhlmann. … read more

Abeer Soliman, Catherine van Campen, Iman Humaydan, Jeroen van Kan, Lotte van Dijck, Rodaan Al Galidi, Thomas Möhlmann

Wintercafé 4: Late Night Utopia

Jeroen van Kan talks to Marja Pruis about her collected essays on literature. What is the happiness of writing about the minutest details? The Congolese/American spoken word artist Omékongo Dibinga enters into a poetic battle with Martijn Knol and … read more

Hagar Peeters, Jeroen van Kan, Marja Pruis, Martijn Knol, Omékongo Dibinga

How Literature Changes the World

Indonesian Lily Yulianti Farid and Egyptian Abeer Soliman both have a dream. Abeer Soliman is a writer, blogger and storyteller She wants to breathe new life in the 'old' art of narration, as well as fight traditional ideas in Egyptian society about … read more

Abeer Soliman, Lily Yulianti Farid, Paul van der Gaag

Music from Mongolia: Epi

Epi (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) grew up in a little village near the russian border. He studied at Music-Conservatorium of Ulaanbaatar from 1990 - 1992 and his teacher was the most known and best Moorin Hoor (Horsefiddle) player in Mongolia. Epi is … read more


Imagined Fathers

The father of the Colombian writer Hector Abad was killed by the paramilitary; the politically dissident Lybian father of Hisham Matar was abducted in Cairo and seems to have vanished ever since; Carolina Trujillo as a six year old fled Uruguay … read more

Carolina Trujillo, Hector Abad, Hisham Matar, Jasper Henderson

The Beauty of the Life of the Other

The Turkish-American Elif Batuman wanted to become a writer, but didn't feel at home in the traditional approach of the creative writing course. She decided to study literature and noticed gradually that an academic approach didn't stand in the way … read more

Elif Batuman, Jan Donkers, K. Schippers

The Other Colonial History

Belgium had Belgian-Congo; the Netherlands had the Dutch East Indies. Both countries look back at this with shame and nostalgia. David van Reybrouck and Reggie Baay try to set themselves free from the creation of an image by looking for the … read more

David Van Reybrouck, Reggie Baay, Tjitske Lingsma

Imagination, our Brain and the Story of our Life

Professor of psychiatry Damiaan Denys looks at his profession philosophically. He is fascinated by what human beings are not, given the human condition. The human condition is the source of all imagination. Writer P. F. Thomese wrote a novel about a … read more

Damiaan Denys, P.F. Thomése, Tessel Blok

David Mitchell's Great Expectations

Kafka said a good book is like an axe able to break the ice in our frozen inner self. Can we have such great expectations of literature? Or does it mainly have restrictions? British author David Mitchell, who had a breakthrough with his latest book … read more

Bas Heijne, David Mitchell

Oxfam Novib - PEN Awards

Winternachten is pleased that Oxfam Novib and Dutch PEN are announcing the winners of the Oxfam Novib PEN Awards at the festival. One of the laureates will come to The Hague to collect his or her prize. The Oxfam Novib/PEN Awards are given out … read more

Andrei Nekrasov, Arnold Karskens, David Van Reybrouck, Joris Luyendijk, Lionel Veer, Tom van der Lee, Xandra Schutte

NRC Reading Club Live

In this 6th edition of the successful series NRC Reading Club Live columnists and NRC editors Elsbeth Etty, Frits Abrahams and writer Sanneke van Hassel together and with the audience read Haruki Murakami's collection of short stories Blind willow, … read more

Elsbeth Etty, Frits Abrahams, Pieter Steinz, Sanneke van Hassel

Winternachten Lecture - Tim Parks

'I have a problem with the growing internationalisation of literature,' the British writer Tim Parks recently argued in an interview with Bas Heijne in NRC Handelsblad. On Thursday 20 January he will open the Winternachten Festival.   'Writers … read more

Abdelkader Benali, David Van Reybrouck, Elif Batuman, Epi, Maaza Mengiste, Nelleke Noordervliet, Tim Parks