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Festival Winternachten

Winternachten International Literature Festival The Hague 2023 welcomes some fifty writers, poets, spoken word artists, musicians, and its audiences on 12 February, 12 March, 16 and 21 April 2023 to programmes about writing in war times, and the literary and poetic answers to slavery, colonialism and the Earth's depletion. Festival location is Theater aan het Spui in seaside city The Hague, The Netherlands.

Go to the festival programme here and buy tickets online.

For readings, interviews and conversations Winternachten presents in its 2023 edition among many others, world famous bestseller writer Rachel Cusk, Ukrainian writer Stanislas Aseyev, Antwerp-based novelist Aleksandr Skorobogatov, German playwright and novelist Sasha Marianna Salzmann, French novelist David Diop, Surinam-based authors Astrid Roemer and Tessa Leuwsha, and US-based writer and literary scholar Chika Unigwe.

Among the Dutch-language writers and artists to perform during the Winternachten festival 2023 are authors Marion Bloem, Babs Gons and Niña Weijers, poets Mustafa Stitou, Radna Fabias, Dominique De Groen, Dean Bowen, Asha Karami, Alara Adilow, Martin Rombouts and Maxime Garcia Diaz, and singer-songwriters Meral Polat, LUWTEN and Willie Darktrousers.

Winternachten festival 2023 carries the motto All the world's a book. Why do writers write and readers read books? To get a grip on the world. In a novel or poem you can imagine a different reality. Not surprising in these turbulent times. While the war in Ukraine deeply affects the Ukrainian people, Europe and the whole world, and various crises dramatically change Earth, people continue to write and read books: to understand, to change and to escape. And sometimes even to laugh. The whole world can be found in literature, in a book.

Winternachten 2023 presents topical themes to authors and visitors by readings, interviews and debate. Such as the upcoming commemoration of the abolition of slavery, 150 years ago, by The Netherlands in Suriname and in the Antilles islands. How did slavery enter the literary imagination, and what influence did it have on the development of language and literature? How do authors in a war-ridden country, Ukraine, write about their lives? How does an author create a new world in his books, and why? And how does the depletion of Earth become audible and palpable in language and poetry?

The festival includes theatre lobby programmes full of mini-lectures, book sales and signing at the well-stocked stand of bookseller De Vries Van Stockum and, of course, plenty of pre-talk and after-talk.

The drawing for the poster image has been made by Rotterdam-based visual artist Gwen Stok and was commissioned by Writers Unlimited especially for the Winternachten festival 2023. The graphic design is by Vivienne van Leeuwen, Eindeloos.


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About the Winternachten festival

Since 1995 Writers Unlimited organises the Winternachten 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 out to become one of the most important international literary events in the Netherlands. Under the motto 'Give the floor to the authors', the festival has involved literature in the national and international societal debate. The programmes take place at various locations in the city of The Hague, including Theater aan het Spui, Paard, Amare, Theater Dakota, PIP, in neighbourhood libraries  and at schools and universities.

Writers Unlimited brings together writers, poets, thinkers and scientists from all over the world to discuss topical issues, literature, art, science and society. Annually in the Winternachten International Literature Festival The Hague, throughout the year in the Writers Series, discussion programmes at various locations in The Hague, and in our Podcasts. Our 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, and cooperation partners such as PEN International, PEN Nederland and the Jan Campert-Stichting.

Thanks for support and cooperation
We're thankful for the support and cooperation we receive from our wonderful colleagues in The Hague, from the participating authors, from our volunteers and from our partners: the City of The Hague, the Dutch Foundation for Literature, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Dioraphte, Fonds 21 and the Lira Fonds.

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