Over Writers Unlimited
Connecting writers with each other, with poets, spoken word-artists, musicians and with their audiences, across borders of cultures and countries. That is the mission of Writers Unlimited. We do this in the annual Writers Unimited International Literature Festival in January, monthly events on location in The Hague (Writers Series), in podcasts and in tours across the world (Writers Unlimited Network). During those encounters, they exchange - before an audience and amongst each other - their work, their experiences, dreams and ideas. In all languages and in all its cultural diversity. These encounters are celebrations of the word, feasts of discovery and recognition.
Since 1995, Writers Unlimited has organised one of the most important international literature festivals in The Hague. Several thousand visitors witness talks and readings by writers and poets on current social themes every January. In a rich programme with more than 100 participants, divided over more than 30 programme sections, the audience is inspired by the different views of authors from many - especially non-Western - countries. Since its first edition, the festival (formerly called Winternachten) has taken place at Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis Den Haag, and nowadays also at other venues in The Hague such as Paard, Amare, Theater Dakota and neighbourhood branches of the Libray of Den Haag, the International Institute of Social Studies and Hogeschool Den Haag. Started as a meeting of writers from the Netherlands and Indonesia, later joined by Suriname, the Antilles and South Africa as well as from the Europe, USA, Latin America, Africa and Asia, it has grown into one of the most important literary events in the Netherlands.
Writers and visitors about the festival
'The word here is held sacred. Books are read, treasured, held in the highest regard. The Netherlands is a country that loves its books, and its writers more. This was apparent in the Writers Unlimited Festival in The Hague. After having toured with them and having brought the festival to Kuala Lumpur, I see why this festival is held in such high regard. It was an honest festival, with all the respect for writers and audiences. People were provoked, titillated and thrilled. Writers mingled with audiences alike, the organizing team shared their time with us, and we danced, ate, and drank together. Alliances were formed, encounters emerged. Energy was exchanged as our networks continue to spread across the continents.'
Bernice Chauly (Malaysia)
'For someone who goes to quite a few specialist comic book conventions it was interesting to see a broader scope of people and artistic endeavour. What I liked? Most of all the people. Really friendly and helpful. A great atmosphere. And communication was excellent. I enjoyed the on-stage interview and welcomed the chance to talk to people who might not have been out and out comic book fans. I thought the interview was handled pretty well and there was good technical backup. As I said, the most striking thing was the helpfulness and friendliness of the many interesting people that I met.'
Peter Milligan (GB)
'I had such a great time at the festival, I met very interesting people, at a point I didn't want it to end.'
Helon Habila (VS/Nigeria);
'I've been to a lot of literary festivals, but prior to Friday, I hadn't been to one in The Netherlands. And then here was this thing: Writers Unlimited. Not stodgy, not stuck-up, not held in a musty room filled only by equally-musty people all speaking with six-inch NPR voices. It was sound booths and DJs pumping international tunes, twenty-foot live trees and tabletops covered in chalkboard, so that while you gulped beer, you could instantly self-publish. Fiction. Non-fiction. Short speeches dubbed Tirades delivered from a soap box in the middle of the crowded floor. For me, it was love. I will be back again next year.' Christine Stocke (visitor)