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Elsbeth Etty

Elsbeth Etty - foto Serge Ligtenberg
Elsbeth Etty - foto Serge Ligtenberg

(Hulshorst, NL, 1951) received the Anne Vondeling Award for political journalism in 2008, owing to her sharp analyses of social problems. She is a journalist in the widest sense of the word. Besides being an editor and columnist with the NRC Handelsblad newspaper, she makes frequent appearances on radio and TV. In 2007 she debuted as a novelist with Maak jezelf maar klaar (Go Get Yourself Off), in which one of the characters from Harry Mulisch's The Discovery of Heaven figures as a main character. Etty obtained her Ph.D. with distinction from Utrecht University with a biography of Henriëtte Roland Holst, Liefde is heel het leven niet (Love Is Not All of Life, 1996). Her newspaper columns appeared in four different books. Her reviews were compiled in Dames gaan voor - Van Hella Haasse to Connie Palmen (Ladies First: From Hella Haasse to Connie Palmen, 1999). Etty is a special lecturer in Literary Criticism at the Free University in Amsterdam, and is now at work on a biography of the late Dutch poet and songwriter Willem Wilmink.

(WU 15 GR)

Archive available for: Elsbeth Etty

  • Winternachten 2015

    VPRO's OVT Live

    With: Bas Heijne, Cynthia Mc Leod, De Règâhs, Elsbeth Etty, Mathijs Deen, Nelleke Noordervliet, Paul Scheffer, Paul van der Gaag, Reggie Baay, Stefan Hertmans, Ton van de Langkruis

    One of the most popular programmes on Radio 1 is VPRO's OVT (Simple Past Tense). Every Sunday the contemporary relevance of history takes centre stage.

    It has become a tradition for OVT's radio professionals to relocate to The Hague during the festival in order to broadcast live from the cozy lobby of Theater aan het Spui. The public is most welcome; admission and coffee are free. The programme includes a spoken commentary by Nelleke Noordervliet, an interview with Bas Heijne on Couperus, and a focus on writer Reggie Baay and his just-published book Daar werd wat gruwelijks verricht (Something Terrible Happened There), about the hidden history of slavery in the Dutch East Indies. With live music by the The Hague band De Règâhs. Don't forget to reserve your spot via the blue link above. Programme in Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2015

    NRC Reading Club Live: Familieziek (Repatriated), by Adriaan van Dis

    With: Bas Heijne, Elsbeth Etty, Gustaaf Peek, Michel Krielaars

    An honoured festival tradition: the NRC Reading Club Live. The panel, made up of editors Elsbeth Etty, Bas Heijne and writer Gustaaf Peek, discusses Adriaan van Dis' novel Familieziek (Repatriated). The NRC Handelsblad newspaper's book-section head Michel Krielaars moderates. As reader of the book, you too can add your two cents to the discussion!

    A boy is prepared for the future under the threat of the Cold War. He must learn to get by in an evil world. The bomb is also ticking at home... his father and educator, Mr Java, is a war-damaged man who increasingly draws his son into his delusional world. The son is a silent witness, seeing everything and forgetting nothing. Madness sweeps through the house and his mother and sisters form a skeptical chorus commenting on events. Familieziek (Repatriated) is a moving novel about a boy who breaks free of his parents' grip and yet cannot escape the curse of their past.

    Afterwards you can attend the programme in which Hans Goedkoop talks to Adriaan van Dis about his new novel Ik kom terug (I'm Coming Back, 2014).

  • Winternachten 2014

    Writers Fest 2014

    With: Aad Meinderts, Alfred Schaffer, Antjie Krog, Bettine Vriesekoop, Elsbeth Etty, Francis Broekhuijsen, Geert Mak, Huub van der Lubbe, Jaap Goedegebuure, Jan Paul Schutten, Marjolein de Jong, Micha Hamel, Oek de Jong, Ronald Snijders, Tijs Goldschmidt, Tiziano Perez, Tom Lanoye

    The Writers' Fest is the festive conclusion of the festival with a programme full of writers and other guests. The line-up consists of among others the Dutch poet Alfred Schaffer, Geert Mak, the South African poet Antjie Krog, Tom Lanoye, literary critic Elsbeth Etty, flute player Ronald Snijders and singer/poet Huub van der Lubbe.

    The Writers' Fest includes the award winning ceremony of the Jan Campert Prizes, the literary prizes of the City of The Hague, with the presentation of the Constantijn Huygens Oeuvre Prize. The winner is Tom Lanoye. The South African writer Antjie Krog will do a eulogy on him and we'll hear Lanoye's words of thanks.

    The F. Bordewijk Prize goes to Pier en Oceaan (Jetty and Ocean) by Oek de Jong. The novel will be praised by Jaap Goedegebuure. Composer and poet Micha Hamel is recipient of the Jan Campert Prize for his book of poetry Bewegend doel (Moving Target). Bettine Vriesekoop will recommend the book to us. The Nynke van Hichtum Prize for children's literature goes to Het raadsel van alles wat leeft (The Riddle of Everything Alive) by Jan Paul Schutten. Writer and biologist Tijs Goldschmidt will sing the praise of that book.

    A programme in co-operation with the Dutch Foundation for Literature and the Jan Campert Foundation. The earlier announced performance of Anne Vegter has been cancelled for health reasons.

    In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2014

    NRC Leesclub Live: The Red Cavalry, by Isaak Babel

    With: Bas Heijne, Elsbeth Etty, Michel Krielaars, Sana Valiulina

    A valued tradition of the festival: the NRC Reading Club Live. Visitors read a book and give their opinion. But first we give the floor to the panel, consisting of Elsbeth Etty, Bas Heijne and guest editor Sana Valiulina, and hosted by Michel Krielaars, head of the book pages of NRC Handelsblad. This time we read The Red Cavalry from the collected stories by Isaak Babel.

    Isaak Babel (1894-1940) has many admirers, also in the Netherlands, from writers Tommy Wieringa to Arnon Grunberg, from book critics Arjan Peters (Volkskrant) to Michel Krielaars (NRC Handelsblad). His Red Cavalry Stories are among the master pieces in Russian literature. The stories were recently published anew in an elegant new translation, in a hardback edition by Van Oorschot Publishers.

    In the Red Cavalry Stories Isaak Babel wrote about his experiences during the Polish-Russian war, to which he was sent by his literary mentor Gorki 'to discover real life'. The stories are full of blood and random killings, told in a down-to-earth style, and that's what makes them so penetrating.

    Isaak Babel supported the Bolshevist revolution but he couldn't and didn't want to close his eyes for its sometimes gruesome consequences and that's exactly what he wrote about. That's why the police and the censors were after him all the time. He was arrested in 1939 and sentenced to death and executed on Stalin's orders.

    "You get into a trance by Isaak Babel's incredible style." (Arjan Peters, Volkskrant)

    "All in all Babel is the artist convincing the reader of a completely new vision of the world." (New York Review of Books)

    Don't forget to read the book, and bring it with you!

  • Winternachten 2014 – SATURDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    Writers and film: Herman Koch

    The film The Dinner, based on the international bestseller The Dinner had its premiere recently. Elsbeth Etty talks to writer Herman Koch who shows his choice of film fragments about bad characters who succeed in gaining our sympathy. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2014 – FRIDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    A piece of elite to the people - a polemic

    Gone seem the times of literary fireworks between opponents who, with a feeling for language and humor, sought the boundaries of decency in their zeal to tirelessly cross verbal swords. Those good old times revive with a round of polemics between Abdelkader Benali and Saskia De Coster. Both of them fiercely plead for and against the return of the elite. Down with the dictatorship of the rabble, down with long live the people!

  • Winternachten 2013

    NRC Reading Club Live - The Leopard

    With: Bas Heijne, Elsbeth Etty, Marjolijn van Heemstra, Michel Krielaars

    The reading club discusses The Leopard (Il Gattopardo, 1958) by Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. In 2012 a reprint appeared of the much acclaimed translation by Anthonie Kee. Reason enough to (re)read this historical novel - set in 19th century Cicily, where the citizenry, under the leadership of Garibaldi, takes over from the nobility. Michel Krielaars, editor of the book pages of NRC Handelsblad hosts and there is a panel discussion with NRC editors Elsbeth Etty and Bas Heijne and guest Marjolijn van Heemstra, who based her book De laatste Aedema (The Last Aedema) on her own noble family. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2013 – Winternacht 1 - schrijvers, muziek en film op vijf podia


    How shameless or how intimate do writers dare to be? Do they feel embarrassed by their own divulgences or do they enjoy their shamelessness? What is it like to read sexually charged passages that can excite the audience or give it vicarious shame? Kristien Hemmerechts, Ted van Lieshout and Yasmine Allas give themselves away. Host: Elsbeth Etty. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2012

    A tribute to Hella S. Haasse & Jan Campert Awards

    With: Arjan Peters, Benny Lindelauf, Ellen van Lelyveld, Elsbeth Etty, Erik Spinoy, Gustaaf Peek, Kees 't Hart, Loes Luca, Margot Dijkgraaf, Marijn van Lelyveld, Matthijs Ponte, Maxim Februari, Patricia de Groot, Pieter Steinz, Rudi Wester, Willem Nijholt

    In cooperation with the Haasse Estate and Publisher Querido Writers Unlimited organises a tribute in the Koninklijke Schouwburg: a festive meeting in which the richness and diversity of her life and work are celebrated.

    Willem Nijholt reads from his letters to the writer and Loes Luca performs cabaret texts written by Hella Haasse. Elsbeth Etty, Marjolijn Februari, Kees 't Hart, Patricia de Groot, Gustaaf Peek, Margot Dijkgraaf, Rudi Wester and Arjan Peters tell anecdotes and stories. Her daughters Ellen and Marijn van Lelyveld will add a personal contribution to the programme, which will be presented by Pieter Steinz. Hella S. Haasse died on 29 september 2011. She leaves behind a massive oeuvre, among other books the popular novels Oeroeg, In a Dark Wood Wandering, The Tea Lords. She won many awards, including the Dutch Letters Award in 2004.

    After the interval the Jan Campert Prizes will be presented, the literary awards of the Municipality of The Hague, including the Constantijn Huygens Prize, which has been awarded to A.F.Th. van de Heijden. Erik Spinoy (1960) is recipient of the Jan Campert-prijs 2011 for his book of poetry Dode kamer (Dead room). Gustaaf Peek (1975) is recipient of the F. Bordewijk Prize 2011 for his novel Ik was Amerika (I was America). Benny Lindelauf (1964) receives the biennial Nienke van Hichtum Prize for children's literature 2011 for De hemel van Heivisj (Heivisj's heaven) the triennial G.H. 's Gravesande Prize for special literary merit 2011 goes to Stichting Perdu. Host: Trio Droomvogels.

  • Winternachten 2012

    NRC Reading Club Live: The Great Gatsby

    With: Bas Heijne, Elsbeth Etty, Gustaaf Peek, Pieter Steinz

    A tradition at the Writers Unlimited festival. This time the Reading Club tackles F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. A classic novel in which the American Dream and other possible dreams occupy the minds of those in it. Pieter Steinz, Elsbeth Etty, Bas Heijne and Gustaaf Peek discuss the novel with each other and with readers. The Great Gatsby (1925) is invariably mentioned the most important candidate for the title Great American Novel. Deservedly, because the story of the nouveau riche Jay Gatsby, who cannot seem to escape his (shadowy) past, is more than just a clever version of the pursuit of the American Dream. It is also the account of an unequal friendship (between Gatsby and his neighbour on Long Island, the hopelessly naïve first person narrator Nick Carraway), as well as a Shakespearean tragedy about envy and broken illusions. Right now director Baz Luhrman (Moulin Rouge) is filming The Great Gatsby, with Leonardo Di Caprio in the role of Jay Gatsby. NRC editors Elsbeth Etty, Bas Heijne and Gustaaf Peek discuss with each other and with readers. Host: Pieter Steinz, editor of the NRC Handelsblad book pages. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2011

    NRC Reading Club Live

    With: Elsbeth Etty, Frits Abrahams, Pieter Steinz, Sanneke van Hassel

    In this 6th edition of the successful series NRC Reading Club Live columnists and NRC editors Elsbeth Etty, Frits Abrahams and writer Sanneke van Hassel together and with the audience read Haruki Murakami's collection of short stories Blind willow, sleeping woman. Editor of NRC Handelsblad's book pages Pieter Steinz leads the conversation.

    The Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has an outspoken readership. His multitude of fans can't hear a word of criticism about him. His critics find him greatly overrated. Now that the translation of his trilogy1q84is published part by part that discussion has flared up. The personally phrased, yet highly critical review by Pieter Steinz in NRC Handelsblad for example aroused many disappointed reactions. High time to ask the question: is Murakami a classic in his lifetime or is it time to take the scales off the eyes of the fans? In Dutch.

    Read the book and join the debate! Murakami's collected short stories can be ordered from NRC Handelsblad's webshop.

  • Winternachten 2010

    Readers' Club Live: Kafka!

    With: Bas Heijne, Elsbeth Etty, Naema Tahir, Pieter Steinz

    A man wakes up as an enormous insect, a circus artist fasts until death, a hangman demonstrates a new torture machine, a son has his father sentence him to death by drowning.

    The stories of Franz Kafka (1883-1924) are often absurd, but they are presented with the highest degree of realism and in a simple style. Kafka's tragicomic main characters, laden with a guilt feeling based on nothing, try to make the best of the nightmare that life is.
    In NRC's Reaers' Club Live columnists and editors of the NRC book pages Elsbeth Etty and Bas Heijne discuss with each other, writer/lawyer Naema Tahir and the audience The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, the new Kafka translation by Willem van Toorn. Host is chief editor of NRC's book pages, Pieter Steinz.

    Over the years Kafka's work has been read as a quest for God, a satire on eastern European bureaucracy, an allegory on the human condition and a symbolic autobiography. Kafka serves all sorts of purposes, and exactly that makes him such a suitable subject for the fifth edition of the successful Readers' Club Live at Winternachten.

  • Winternachten 2009

    NRC's Readers' Club Live

    With: Bas Heijne, Elsbeth Etty, Pieter Steinz, Yasmine Allas

    Nuruddin Farah's novel Maps was the subject of the special live edition of NRC Handelsblad's readers' club. The novel, on geographical as well as mental boundaries, is part of the newspaper's AfriCanon.

    Farah's Africa and Africa in the media: do they match? A discussion hosted by NRC's Pieter Steinz, with NRC editors Bas Heijne and Elsbeth Etty and Somali born writer Yasmine Allas, and audience participation.

  • Winternachten 2008

    NRC Reading Club Live

    With: Bas Heijne, Elsbeth Etty, Fouad Laroui, Pieter Steinz

    A city gripped by fear, and what does that fear do to people: Albert Camus wrote his fabulous novel 'The Pest' (1947) about it. Are their paralls to be drawn with our present day and age?

    In the section De Leesclub (The Reading Club) in the leading Dutch daily paper NRC Handelsblad the paper monthly discusses with its readership a book selected by the book editors. The live editions of the Reading Club during Winternachten proved very successful, that's why we're proud to present Reading Club Live again. This year with reviewers Bas Heijne, Elsbeth Etty and the Moroccon/Dutch writer Fouad Laroui, hosted by Pieter Steinz and with audience participation. The book? Of course: The Pest by Albert Camus. Bring a pen, paper and the book! See the relevant pages in NRC Handelsblad. In Dutch

  • Winternachten 2007

    Reading Club Live

    With: Bas Heijne, Elsbeth Etty, Pieter Steinz, Sjoerd de Jong

    The NRC-Handelsblad reading club came live from Winternachten. Bas Heijne, Elsbeth Etty and Sjoerd de Jong publicly discussed Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness, in thetranslation by Bas Heijne.

    Last year Winternachten experienced the successful premiere of the Reading Club Live. This year's reading club focussed on Conrad's classic Heart of Darkness.

    Heart of Darkness, which appeared in bookform in 1902, is the haunting report of a descet into hell on the river Congo, as told by Charley Marlow. He is looking for the legendary commercial agent Mr Kurtz, who has opened a mission post in the depths of the jungle. When Marlow finally finds his icon, bewilderment strikes hard. In the heart of darkness 'Mistah Kurtz' ruled like a cruel god over the savages. When a dying Kurtz passes judgement on the adventures of his soul on earth his lasy words are: 'The horror! The horror!' A scream which echoed all through the last century. Dutch spoken.

  • Winternachten 2006

    Reading Club Live

    With: Abdelkader Benali, Bas Heijne, Elsbeth Etty, Pieter Steinz

    The NRC Handelsblad Reading Club performs live at Winternachten. Four employees and editors of this paper, Abdelkader Benali, Elsbeth Etty, Bas Heijne and Pieter Steinz (panel chairman) discuss Salman Rushdie's Shalimar the clown . Each one of them gives a short introduction and throws some light on certain aspects of this novel, after which there will be plenty of opportunity for discussion with the audience.

    Shalimar the clown is a breathtaking story that stretches from Cashmere to California, and from the second world war to the beginning of modern day Islamic terrorism. It's about an ambitious village beauty from Cashmere, who drives her childhood sweetheart into becoming a professional terrorist. As in all his novels Salman Rushdie interweaves the personal history of his main characters with world history and by doing so creates not only a deep insight into human motivation, but also into the important questions of our time. These contents provide enough matter for lively discussions. Bring along pen and paper and the novel (read)! Also look out for the readers offer in the NRC Handelsblad. Dutch spoken.

  • Winternachten 2003 – Winternacht 2

    I love Holland

    'Strange that only one belief has survived in Holland: we still feel Dutch.', was writer Geert Mak's conclusion after describing the many changes that the Dutch may expect in society. But what about this feeling? Are we as patriottic as the Americans? Are we prepared to die for our country? Writer/historian Geert Mak discusses this subject with the Dutch 'journalist of the 20th century', H.J.A. Hofland.

  • Winternachten 2003 – Winternacht 1

    The Final Judgement on The Netherlands

    What's happening to The Netherlands? Is the moralizing attitude still appropriate? Criticizing others has never cost the Dutch much trouble. But how about self-criticism? Writer Leon de Winter opens the festival with a sermon, giving his 'final judgement on The Netherlands'. Afterwards he discusses his sermon with writer H.M. van den Brink and moderator Elsbeth Etty.

  • Winternachten 2002 – Winternacht 1

    The Language of Love

    Antjie Krog and Kristien Hemmerechts are both masters in writing odes to loved ones. 'Liefste, jy mág nie doodgaan nie' (Dearest one, you can not die), Antjie Krog wrote in her collection Kleur komt nooit alleen nie (Color never comes alone). This book was launched in the Dutch translation at Winternachten. To keep the loved one alive, he is embalmed in language. The Flemish writer Kristien Hemmrechts also used this in her poetography Taal zonder mij (Language without me). Dutch/Afrikaans spoken.