(France, 1989) is an award-winning photographer, journalist and writer. Through intimate stories, her work revolves around social, feminist and post-conflict issues in the Middle East, Latin America and Europe. Her photos have been featured in publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post and Le Monde and exhibited internationally. Her novel Que sur toi se lamente le Tigre (May the Tigris Grieve For You, 2020), which won the 2021 Prix Goncourt for a debut, is about a family tragedy in Southern Iraq. Her non-fiction book Les serpents viendront pour toi (The Serpents Will Come for You, 2021) about the murder of social leaders in Colombia, won the Albert Londres book prize. Her second novel Le colonel ne dort pas (The Colonel Doesn't Sleep, 2021) brings to life three characters struggling with a war they cannot win. It has been translated into several languages.(WU2024)
Archive available for: Emilienne Malfatto
Freedom to speak or write is important but impossible for many. The festival opened with "human voices" (the theme of this edition) from The Netherlands and beyond: a unique lineup of famous writers speaking out. This was one of those evenings of inspiration, creative thoughts and apt words that make a deep impression. Meet the authors who make their voices heard for four delightful days of this Hague festival!
Opening Night 2024 was focused on freedom of speech and the power of literature, with appearances and readings by US author Celeste Ng, internationally one of the most-read authors with Asian roots; the British writer Aminatta Forna (The Hired Man); Adriaan van Dis, whose moving new novel Naar zachtheid en een warm omhelzen was published Fall 2023; Burhan Sönmez, author of Istanbul, Istanbul and chair of the writers organization PEN International.
Young spoken-word artist and writer Daniëlle Zawadi from The Hague and, accompanied by percussionist Hashem Kabreet, writer and novelist Sholeh Rezazadeh gave spoken word performances.
Host Jörgen Tjon A Fong discussed with the US novelist Celeste Ng (Our Missing Hearts) and French writer and photojournalist Emilienne Malfatto (Le Colonel ne dort pas; The Colonel Doesn't Sleep) what "human voices" means to them in relation to freedom of speech. Finally, Hague mayor Jan van Zanen kicked things off by officially opening the festival!
The programme included the short film Monument for murdered writers and journalists 2023, a project by Theatre of Wrong Decisions, Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ) and PEN International.
Our favourite Hague bookstore De Vries Van Stockum had well-stocked tables of books for sale in the foyer of the Theater aan het Spui throughout the festival (English and Dutch language) by the authors appearing at the festival. Browse to your heart's content, and maybe the author is even present to personally sign your freshly bought book.
Writers tell us about their favourite book: the book that inspires or touches them, that set their artistic, moral or intellectual compass. In short, the book they would recommend to everyone. Interview: Hassnae Bouazza.
Emilienne Malfatto chose as her favorit Undesirable Alien (L'indésirable, 1975) by French author, philosopher and academic Jules Régis Debray, a novel about a Swiss man who joins a group of insurgents in Latin America, and the politics and personal drama that follow.
Power and powerlessness are rewarding themes in literature, drawn from extreme situations in history and real life. Emilienne Malfatto wrote the confrontational novel Le colonel ne dort pas (The Colonel Doesn't Sleep), about the power imbalance between a soldier and a prisoner, from the colonel's perspective. Burhan Sömnez wrote his novel Istanbul, Istanbul from the prisoner's perspective.
How do they portray this power imbalance, a per definition unequal situation of prisoner and guard? Both authors read an excerpt from their work and discussed power and powerlessness with Sophie Derkzen, host of a daily Radio 1 program for the VPRO broadcasting company.
Emilienne Malfatto is an award-winning photographer, journalist and writer. Her work deals with social, feminist and post-conflict issues in the Middle East, Latin Ameria and Europe. Her novel Le colonel ne dort pas (The Colonel Doesn't Sleep, 2021) brings to life three characters struggling with a war they cannot win.
Burhan Sönmez is a writer and board member of PEN International. His novels have been translated into 40 languages and won many awards. He became internationally known with his novel Istanbul, Istanbul, in which prisoners tell one another stories full of compassion and humour that are gradually more and more about life outside, in the city.
Festival tip: Emilienne Malfatto and Burhan Sönmez also appeared during Opening Night on 18 January 2024, and Malfatto again, together with Sacha Bronwasser, in the event Picture This during Saturday Night Unlimited (20 January 2024).
Sacha Bronwasser is an art historian as well as a writer. Emilienne Malfatto is a war photographer besides a writer. In both of their work, the language of the image plays an important role. What can you express in pictures that you cannot express in words? And conversely, what can you say with language as a writer that you cannot express via photos or fine art? Margot Dijkgraaf moderated this discussion, illustrated with images chosen by the writers, and with presentations of excerpts from their novels.