(1971) is a spoken word artist, writer and host. For almost a decade, she organised Palabras, a monthly launching stage for young poets and writers in Paradiso. After that, she was artistic leader of the now national organisation Poetry Circle Nowhere, which she co-founded with Lies Aris. Babs performs her work at festivals, literary programmes, in museums, debate centres and libraries, reads on radio and television and travels the world with her work. Because of the social commitment and urgency expressed in her work, Babs is also asked to present her work during social initiatives or events such as the February Strike and the Commemoration of the Slavery Past. In 2019, she published her book Hardop (Aloud) a collection compiled by her with the work of 18 Dutch spoken word poets. She debuted her poetry collection Doe Het Toch Maar (Do It Anyway) in 2021. In 2022, she was one of two winners of The Johnny, an oeuvre prize for performing poetry. Babs also writes stories, articles and columns. A collection of stories from daily newspaper Het Parool appeared in 2022 under the title Alles Wat Je Liefhebt Wordt Mooi (Everything You Love Becomes Beautiful). From September 2023 she is for two years Dichter des Vaderlands (Poet Laureate of the Netherlands).(WN 2023)
Archive available for: Babs Gons
With: Angel ArunA, Arturo den Hartog, Astrid H. Roemer, Babs Gons, Britney Lindo, Daphne Huisden, Fiep van Bodegom, Holland Baroque, Lucretia Starke, Maria Vlaar, Mariëlle Vavier, Nazrina Rodjan, Rabin Baldewsingh, Sarita Bajnath, Shantie Singh, Tessa Leuwsha
Dark, forgotten and forbidden pages: it is taking a long time for the colonial history of the Netherlands to penetrate our collective memory. But history has many forms of transmitting lore, of which stories are the most powerful. They are passed from one continent to another, from generation to generation. And then, with great imagination and creativity, they are recorded in literature, music and language. In this way, the stories come to belong to everyone. This event was in Dutch.
The Winternachten festival afternoon programme Verhalen die verbinden (Connecting Stories) explored Dutch colonial history in our literature, language and music. Prominent Surinamese authors Astrid H. Roemer and Tessa Leuwsha talked in conversations with respectively Maria Vlaar and Fiep van Bodegom about the significance of 150 years of abolition of slavery for them, their country, their relatives and their books. Both published new books in 2023: Astrid H. Roemer wrote the novel DealersDochter (Dealers' Daughter) and Tessa Leuwsha published her De wilde vaart: op zoek naar de veerkracht van Suriname (Tramp trade: the search for the resilience of Surinam).
Author Babs Gons performed spoken word. Authors Tessa Leuwsha and Daphne Huisden read from their contributions to Dat wij zongen (What we sang), the essay collection in which twenty leading writers of today make a case for a Caribbean author of the past who inspired them personally. Mariëlle Vavier, deputy Mayor and alderman of the City of The Hague for Poverty, Inclusion and Public Health, gave a speech.
Singer Angel ArunA performed her own work and poems by poet and singer-songwriter Raj Mohan in Sarnámi, the language of people with a Hindustan background in Suriname and The Netherlands. Furthermore soprano Lucretia Starke and countertenor Arturo den Hartog performed, accompanied by six musicians from ensemble Holland Baroque, with their version of Surinamese song Lolo mi boto, among others.
The talks and performances in Zaal 1 were followed in the theatre foyer by a short post-programme hosted by Sarita Bajnath with contributions and readings by Britney Lindo, writer and spoken word artist, and by Rabin Baldewsingh, writer and, since 2021, National Coordinator against Discrimination, among others.
Also the (English spoken ) evening programme All the World's Excuses on this Winternachten festival day 16 April, focused on the significance of 150 years abolition of slavery. All the World's Excuses took a wider perspective by inviting authors from various backgrounds to speak about the traces left by slavery, apartheid and colonialism in society, storytelling, language and literature: guests were Caleb Azumah Nelson (UK), David Diop (France), Chika Unigwe (USA), Astrid H. Roemer (Surinam), Neske Beks (Belgium) and Radna Fabias (Netherlands).
Bookstore De Vries van Stockum was present in the lobby with a stand offering books by participating authors of this programme, among others including signing opportunities!
This programme was curated by Shantie Singh, author of a.o. the novels Vervoering (2014) and De kier (2020).
With day ticket also to evening programme All the World's Excuses
Verhalen die verbinden was followed on Sunday 16 April as of 19:30h in Theater aan het Spui by the, English spoken, Winternachten festival evening programme All the World's Excuses.
A reduced price day ticket for both festival programmes on 16 April was available.