The Hague revolves four January days around stories and poems from home and abroad during Writers Unlimited International Literature Festival

From 18 to 21 January 2024, The Hague will be revolving around the Writers Unlimited International Literature Festival. Over a hundred writers, poets, spoken word artists and musicians from the Netherlands and abroad will perform in theatres, libraries and schools. All information about the programme and tickets can be found at The festival offers young people up to 30 years of age 50% discount on tickets. Festival events in Laak, Ypenburg, Schilderswijk and Nieuw Waldeck and at the Haagse Hogeschool are free of charge.

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The festival theme Human Voices is our statement at a time when compassion is sometimes hard to find. We offer a stage to voices that appeal to humanity and counterbalance polarisation. During the festival, authors will discuss various facets of voice and speech. Among the topics discussed are: ChatGPT in literature, Indonesian roots, Surinamese warriors, physicality in fiction, feeling at home in identity, gender or multiple cultures, and giving a voice to a character. Authors will also read from existing or newly written texts for the festival, and poets and spoken word artists will perform their work. Judith Uyterlinde, Director Writers Unlimited.

Festival opens with famous writers on freedom and the power of literature

The festival opens on Thursday 18 January at Theater aan het Spui with 'Human Voices' (this edition's theme) from the Netherlands and abroad: a unique line-up of famous writers speak out about freedom and the power of literature: Dutch author Adriaan van Dis, British writer Aminatta Forna, French author and photographer Emilienne Malfatto, American best-selling author Celeste Ng, Turkish author and PEN International president Burhan Sönmez. Sholeh Rezazadeh and Daniëlle Zawadi will give spoken-word performances. Mayor Jan van Zanen declares the festival open.


Spoken word in Paard

Writers Unlimited and Mensen Zeggen Dingen, platform for poetry and performance, jointly present an evening in Paard on Thursday 18 January with performances by a young generation of artists who wield pen and word like no other. In Mensen Zeggen Dingen x Writers Unlimited Festival, in addition to Dutch poets and spoken word artists Dean Bowen, Sjaan Flikweert and Nisrine Mbarki, three international festival authors will also let their voices be heard: Anne Boyer (US), Ronelda Kamfer (South Africa) and Angelina Enny (Indonesia). Alternative R&B artist XILLAN will perform with a musical contribution; host is Benzokarim!

Clockwise: Celeste Ng (US), Sara Sluimer (NL), Aminatta Forna (UK), Anne Boyer (US), Tash Aw (FR)
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Clockwise: Celeste Ng (US), Sara Sluimer (NL), Aminatta Forna (UK), Anne Boyer (US), Tash Aw (FR)

Clockwise: Celeste Ng (US), Sara Sluimer (NL), Tash Aw (FR), Anne Boyer (US), Aminatta Forna (UK)

Grand festival nights in Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis The Hague

On Friday and Saturday nights 19 and 20 January, the grand, varied festival nights Friday Night Unlimited and Saturday Night Unlimited will take place in Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis Den Haag. On five stages, you choose your own route past performances, readings, talks or films. Each festival night, different authors perform and each event lasts about twenty to sixty minutes. In Filmhuis Den Haag, the festival screens Monster, the new film by South Korean maestro Kore-eda Hirokazu as an episode in the Filmhuis series How to read a film. There is also the pre-premiere of the Dutch documentary The Kyiv Files including a Q&A with director Walter Stokman, and a short film compilation on artificial intelligence. In the theatre foyer, there will be an opportunity to have a drink, buy books at the lavish festival stand of bookshop De Vries Van Stockum, or watch and listen to the Very Short Stories of pupils from The Hague in De Stem van de Stad. Gerda Blees will write a personal poem on request and Francis Broekhuijsen will provide 'talks and tunes’.


Participating authors Friday Night Unlimited, 19 January 2024:

Jasper Albinus | Karin Amatmoekrim | Simone Atangana Bekono | Tash Aw | Abdelkader Benali | Gerda Blees | Sophia Blyden | Gershwin Bonevacia | Dean Bowen | Anne Boyer | Francis Broekhuijsen | Sophie Derkzen | Angelina Enny | Diann van Faassen | Mira Feticu | Aminatta Forna | Khadija Ibourk El Idrissi | Julien Ignacio | Ronelda S. Kamfer | Erik Kriek | Emilienne Malfatto | Eva van Manen | Raj Mohan | Celeste Ng | Alejandra Ortiz | OTION - Master of Ceremonies | Connie Palmen | Lidewijde Paris | Sholeh Rezazadeh | Shantie Singh | Sarah Sluimer | Matthijs Sluiter | Burhan Sönmez | Annelies Verbeke | Daniëlle Zawadi.


Participating authors Saturday Night Unlimited, 20 January 2024:

Sharid Alles | Simone Atangana Bekono | Tash Aw | Hanna Bervoets | Gerda Blees | Robin Block | Hassnae Bouazza | Anne Boyer | Francis Broekhuijsen | Sacha Bronwasser | Peter de Bruijn | Eva Cleven | Ellen Deckwitz | Margot Dijkgraaf | Adriaan van Dis | Ennatu Domingo | Diann van Faassen | Aminatta Forna | Maarten van der Graaff | Oumaima Hajri | Bas Haring | Ronelda S. Kamfer | Astrid Lampe | Emilienne Malfatto | Ilyaz Nasrullah | Celeste Ng | Dewi de Nijs Bik | Lara Nuberg | Connie Palmen | Marja Pruis | Sarah Sluimer | Matthijs Sluiter | Walter Stokman | Maddy Stolk | via video: Zheng Xiaoqiong.

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New: festival along on Saturday afternoon, including Connie Palmen, Sven Ratzke and Precious Alvares

New this festival edition is an expanded offering of four programmes on Saturday afternoon 20 January in two halls of Theater aan het Spui. Intermissions allow combinations of two programmes. The Saturday starts for everyone from 10 years old and up in Schaafijs and Afrodance with a story by Zindzi Zevenbergen and a workshop by Precious Alvares, one of the best Afrodancers in the Netherlands. In the other theatre hall, top author Connie Palmen and international star actor and singer Sven Ratzke talk about icon Marlene Dietrich and about femininity and masculinity in You Do Something To Me; of course, Sven gives a musical performance, accompanied by pianist Jetse de Jong. An intermission is followed by a culinary excursion: in You Are What You Eat, cookbook writers Vanja van der Leeden (a.o. Indorock), Sun Li (Chin. Ind. Rest.), Judith Cyrus (a.o. Paramaribo) and Hassnae Bouazza (a.o. Spicy Chef) delve into the tasty world of culinary stories and discuss how we pass on grandma's recipes to new generations. Remco Campert and his multifaceted oeuvre, in particular his novel Het satijnen hart (The satin heart) are the focus of the Volkskrant Reading Club Live. An expert panel of fans of Campert's work - Jan Mulder, Bert Wagendorp, Alma Mathijsen and Mirjam van Hengel - will highlight his poetry, novels and stories, and enter into conversation with visitors.

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Hoe overleaf ik-generation meets Francine Oomen at Theater Dakota

The festival presents author Francine Oomen with The Great Survival Show at Theatre Dakota on Saturday 20 January! Francine is there this time for former adolescents: readers of her bestselling Hoe overleef ik (How Do I Survive) series who are now (young) adults. Central are all the age and generational issues of our time. Francine will answer questions and talk to visitors.

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Free festival events in Laak, Ypenburg, Nieuw Waldeck, Schilderswijk and Haagse Hogeschool

This edition, Writers Unlimited will again bring a series of free performances by writers in districts of The Hague, neighbourhood libraries and Haagse Hogeschool.

On Thursday afternoon 18 January, Tatjana Almuli, author of, among others, Knap voor een dik meisje (Smart for a fat girl) and host of TikTok series Dikke vette leugens (Thick fat lies), will be interview guest at Haagse Hogeschool. That same afternoon, in Laak, writer and poet Sholeh Rezazadeh and percussionist Hashem Kabreet will perform at Laakkwartier Library, Vadercentrum ADAM and the VrouwenBuurtLab, respectively. In the evening, in Library Ypenburg, writer and poet Ellen Deckwitz and poet-musician Robin Block perform with stories and music about their Indonesian roots.

On Friday 19 January, Erik Kriek, one of the best Dutch comic authors, and his colleague from The Hague, Mark Verdult, will be in Schilderswijk Library in the afternoon, talking about their comics art and giving advice to budding comics artists. In the evening, writer Marja Pruis will talk about her new novel Huiswerk (Homework) in the Nieuw Waldeck Library.


Live radio from the festival: NPO 1 programme OVT

On Sunday 21 January, the popular morning NPO 1 radio programme OVT will be broadcast live from the festival at Theater aan het Spui. OVT, made by the Dutch national broadcaster VPRO, will host festival authors, including Adriaan van Dis, for conversations about their latest work. Attending the broadcast is free, reservations required.

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Ode to Remco Campert by Kees van Kooten, Ramsey Nasr, Ellen ten Damme and others

On Sunday afternoon 21 January, Writers Unlimited and the Literatuurmuseum honour Remco Campert in the Koninklijke Schouwburg, prior to the presentation of the annual literary awards of the municipality of The Hague.

In Ode to Remco Campert & Uitreiking Haagse Literatuurprijzen, writers Kees van Kooten, Ramsey Nasr, Alma Mathijsen, Ronelda Kamfer and artists Ellen ten Damme, Benjamin Herman and Corrie van Binsbergen will each bring a personal, spoken or musical tribute to Campert, who died in 2022.

This will be followed by the festive presentation of the Hague Literature Prizes to Anjet Daanje, Tomas Lieske, Rozalie Hirs and Tjibbe Veldkamp; each of the winners will receive a spoken or musical tribute. The prizes will be presented by The Hague alderman Saskia Bruines. The programme is organised by Writers Unlimited and the Literatuurmuseum in cooperation with the Jan Campert-Stichting, de Volkskrant and De Bezige Bij.


Pupils perform their Very Short Story; Ennatu Domingo visits Edith Stein College

The Hague schoolchildren from Edith Stein College, John Dewey College and De Vrije School will perform their own Very Short Story in De Stem van de Stad in Theater aan het Spui on Friday and Saturday evenings 19 and 20 January. They gained inspiration for these stories during writing workshops at school and a walk through The Hague, led by Diann van Faassen. While they present their stories, live illustrator Matthijs Sluiter depicts the movement of the walk through the city, as an extra interaction between word and image.

At Edith Stein College, pupils read the book Burnt Eucalyptus Wood. Author Ennatu Domingo (Spain), as an adopted child, describes in her book both beautiful and painful memories of her native Ethopia. During an assembly at school, some students interview Domingo about her book in front of their schoolmates.


Media partners of the festival

Writers Unlimited cooperates this festival edition with de Volkskrant, de Groene Amsterdammer and the VPRO. De Bezige Bij has reissued Remco Campert's Het satijnen hart for the tribute to him during the festival. Campert's oeuvre and the novel will be discussed in the Volkskrant Reading Club Live on Saturday afternoon 20 January. De Groene Amsterdammer will produce a festival supplement with interviews and pre-publications of contributions by festival authors that will appear on 11 January. VPRO will broadcast the NPO1 radio programme OVT live from the festival on Sunday morning 21 January, including interviews with festival authors.


About Writers Unlimited

Writers Unlimited brings together writers, poets, spoken word artists, thinkers and scientists from all over the world to discuss with our audience current topics, literature, poetry, art, science and society. Annually in the Writers Unlimited International Literature Festival The Hague, throughout the year in Writers Series discussions at various locations in The Hague. And 24/7 freely accessible on YouTube with hundreds of live recordings of conversations and performances with authors from all over the world.

Since 1995, Writers Unlimited has organised the Writers Unlimited International Literature Festival The Hague. Many tens of thousands of visitors have witnessed conversations and readings by writers and poets on topical themes. The festival has grown into one of the most important international literary events in the Netherlands. Under the motto 'Het woord is aan de schrijvers' (Writers Take the Floor) the festival has involved literature in the national and international social debate.


Writers Unlimited's activities are made possible by structural subsidies from the Municipality of The Hague and the Dutch Foundation for Literature, and incidentally by various private funds, including Dioraphte and Cultuurfonds, and cooperation partners such as the Literatuurmuseum, Huis van het Boek, De Haagse Hogeschool, Bibliotheek Den Haag and the Jan Campert-Stichting.


Writers Unlimited International Literature Festival The Hague

Thursday 18 to Sunday 21 January 2024

Venues: theatres, public libraries and schools throughout The Hague

Programme and ticket sales:

About Writers Unlimited

Writers Unlimited brengt schrijvers, journalisten, denkers, dichters, artiesten én hun publiek samen in het Writers Unlimited Internationaal Literatuurfestival Den Haag en in programma's op locatie in Den Haag ('Writers Series). Tijdens die ontmoetingen wisselen ze hun literaire werk, hun ervaringen, dromen en ideeën uit over grenzen van culturen en talen.


Writers Unlimited connects writers, journalists, scholars, poets and artists with their audiences, across borders of cultures and countries, in the annual Writers Unlimited International Literature Festival The Hague and in monthly literary events on location in The Hague (Writers Series). During those encounters, they exchange - before an audience and amongst each other - their work, their experiences, dreams and ideas. In all languages and cultural diversity.

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