Writers Unlimited — Winternachten 2012 The Hague

Keep on Dreaming!

A wink at the dreamers, the believers in utopias, the pursuers of ideals, that is the theme of the Writers Unlimited Winternachten Festival 2012. Writers and thinkers from the Netherlands and from afar speak out on their dreams, they dream with us about freedom and how it can be realised. Writers Unlimited Winternachten Festival 2012 offers a mixture of current affairs and literature, music and film in a varied programme in Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis Den Haag. Most of the programmes are in English.

The festival begins on Thursday afternoon 19 January with the presentation of the Oxfam Novib PEN Awards. In the evening followed by the Winternachten lecture by the Nigerian writer Helon Habila (Oil on Water), who gave his speech the title Literature as a Way of Seeing.

On the evenings of Friday 20 and Saturday 21 January the Winternachten take place with varied programmes in five halls. With a ticket you can freely walk in and out of dozens of programmes with writers, films and musical performances. In addition to literature there are films and there is music, and at the end of the evening everyone dances into the night. This year for the first time there is an opportunity to have dinner in the theatre at 6.30 pm before the programmes.

On Saturday afternoon the NRC Readers’ Club discusses The Great Gatsby and on Sunday morning the live broadcast of VPRO’s OVT Live can be attended.

On Sunday morning VPRO’s OVT broadcasts live from the festival.
The festival ends on Sunday afternoon 22 January in the Koninklijke Schouwburg with a Tribute to Hella, a festive occasion, celebrating the life and work of Hella Haasse, with performances of among others Loes Luca and Willem Nijholt. Following it the Jan Campert Awards of the Municipality of The Hague will be presented, including the Constantijn Huygens Prize.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night the Filmhuis presents a series of films with introductions and post-screening discussions round the theme of ‘Keep on Dreaming’. On Wednesday night Theater aan het Spui presents the screening of Mahabharata, by Marjolijn van Heemstra and Satchit Puranik.

Meet the foreign authors in our Meet & Greets, in Theater Dakota and Theater Concordia among other venues.

Post taken from: Writers Unlimited Winternachten Festival 2012


Bernice Chauly

(Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, 1968) is a Malaysian writer, poet, actor, photographer and filmmaker. She graduated with a B.Ed in English Literature and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) from the University of Winnipeg, Canada, and has worked extensively in the arts for over 20 years. Of Chinese and Punjabi parentage, her work stems from the desire to tell stories, and she has worked with marginalised communities from sex workers and refugees to indigenous peoples, in mediums that incorporate film, photography and prose. She has published two collections of poetry, going there and coming back (1997), The Book of Sins (2008), a collection of short stories, Lost in KL (2008) and a critically-acclaimed memoir Growing Up With Ghosts (2011), an exploration of grief, personal and political history, and bloodlines. She works in both Bahasa Malaysia and English, and her work has been exhibited, screened, published locally and internationally. She is also the founder of Readings and CeritAku, two live literary platforms in Kuala Lumpur, now in its eighth year. She lives in Kuala Lumpur with her two daughters and she keeps a blog of her work at bernicechauly.wordpress.com.

participant in

Winternacht 1
Family Ties
Wet Dreams on a Winter’s Night

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AFTER three months of preparation and with five writers now on board, the latest addition to Penang’s arts and culture calendar is set to take off this weekend.

Shih-Li Kow’s debut collection of short stories, Ripples And Other Stories, was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Award for Short Stories.

The two-day George Town Literary Festival started with a vision: when Penang Global Tourism’s managing director Ooi Geok Ling got wind of Writers Unlimited 2011 coming to Kuala Lumpur in June this year, she approached festival director Bernice Chauly to ask if she would like to do something similar in Penang.

(Formerly known as Winternachten, Writers Unlimited organises an annual international literary festival every January in The Hague in the Netherlands, as well as other literary events abroad in cooperation with local partner organisations.)

“It was a great idea, but I wanted to focus on Writers Unlimited first, so I told her that I would think about it. It was to be held less than six months after Writers Unlimited and I didn’t really want to do it myself,” says Chauly at an interview in Kuala Lumpur last Wednesday.

She decided to take the plunge when Reka Art Space owner Chee Sek Thim offered to produce the George Town fest on the condition that Chauly take on the role of festival curator.

“That’s when Sek Thim and I started working together. We spent the last three months putting this together. It’s the first literary festival in Penang, so the obvious theme was history and heritage,” says Chauly.

Tan Twan Eng, whose novel, A Gift Of Rain, was longlisted for the Booker Prize, will be giving us a sneak peek of his latest book, The Garden Of Eveing Mists.

The state-sponsored festival, with the theme “History and Heritage – Where Are Our Stories”, encourages an exploration of our roots. “It’s about that connection with the place of your birth and the place that you come from. It’s all about going back to the beginning of your stories,” Chauly explains.

She adds that Penang has changed drastically in recent years. “There is a real buzz to it now, there’s a sense of possibility in the air. The restoration looks great, but it’s not just about preserving old things; it’s also about creating new things. I think Penang is ready for the future, and ready for such a festival.

“It will also be very interesting for me because all previous literary festivals I’ve done have been held in KL. I think the Penang festival will attract a very eclectic audience and I’m interested in how they will react to it.”

The festival will open on Nov 26 with a book launch and reading of Bila Terkenang Zaman Dahulu, a book of pantun (Malay poems in traditional form) collected from the oral and written archives of Penang, and edited by National Laureate Muhammad Haji Salleh.

Penang-born 2007 Man Booker Prize nominee Tan Twan Eng, who currently resides in South Africa, will read from his second novel, The Garden Of Evening Mists, which is set in Cameron Highlands, Pahang, in the 1950s.

From Indrapura to Darul Makmur: A Deconstructive History of Pahang is the latest book by iconoclast historian and social commentator Dr Farish A. Noor, a Senior Fellow at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

“It’s kind of like a sneak preview as the novel will only be available in January next year,” says Chauly.

The other three participating writers are Farish Ahmad Noor, Iskandar Al-Bakri and Shih-Li Kow. Moderators are BFM Radio’s Sharaad Kuttan and online news and commentary portal The Nut Graph’s Jacqueline Ann Surin.

The programme line-up includes public readings and discussions by the participating writers (mostly free events) and the festival will close with a performance by guitarist-composer Az Samad.

National laureate Muhammad Haji Salleh will launch his latest book, Bila Terkenang Zaman Dahulu, which celebrates traditional poetry.

“I wanted to keep the festival small, local and intimate. Many of us (writers) perform in festivals around the world, but rarely do performances in Malaysia.

“It’s important that Malaysian writers remain in touch with Malaysian audiences. Because the festival is small, everyone will have a chance to talk to everyone else – be it a writer with another writer, or the audience with the writers,” says Chauly.

Having being part of the audience as well as a participating writer in numerous literary festivals around the world, Chauly says, “I know what writers want, and I know what audiences want. I drew on my travel experiences, participation in various festivals and the Writers Unlimited earlier this year to pull together this festival.”

Iskandar Al-Bakri’s first novel, The Beruas Prophecy, is his attempt to discover the dark history of the Malay Peninsula that involves politically influential Malay secret societies in the early 19th century.

She applauds the Penang State Government for supporting such an event: “It’s very visionary, very forward-looking of them. They gave us complete freedom in choosing the writers, content and theme.

“The long-term plan is to sustain this every year and in the future, it might even include writers who write in Chinese or Tamil. A literary festival has to be free – there should be no censorship or limitations on what you can talk about or what you can’t. And that, I think, is a big challenge for Malaysia,” she concludes.

The George Town Literary Festival will run from Nov 26 to 27 at China House (No. 183B, Lebuh Victoria) and the E&O Hotel (No. 10, Lebuh Farquhar) in George Town.

For more details, visit gtlfestival.blogspot.com, e-mail gtlfestival@gmail.com or call 017-872 7721.

Article taken from The Star