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Goenawan Mohamad

Goenawan Mohamad
Goenawan Mohamad

(Java, Indonesia, 1941) isn't only is a famous poet, he's also a journalist, essayist, editor and columnist. Mohamad contributed to the creation of the Indonesian language, Bahasa Indonesia. He took part in the struggle against Suharto's regime in many ways. He founded the succesful critical literary magazine Tempo, which was banned twice by the government. In 1995 Mohamad initiated the Institute for the Study of Free Information Flow. After Suharto's resignation in 1998, Tempo started publishing again. Mohamad has received various international awards for his readiness to resist. Several of his poetry collections were republished around his 70th birthday. His most recent collections are Don Quixote (2011) and 70 Puisi (70 Poems). In 1995, Mohamad was one of the participants of the first Winternachten festival, and has since returned to The Hague several times for the same purpose.

(WN 2020)

Archive available for: Goenawan Mohamad

  • Winternachten 2020

    Opening Night

    With: Adriaan van Dis, Angelina Enny, Antjie Krog, Cynthia Mc Leod, Ellen Deckwitz, Goenawan Mohamad, Hassnae Bouazza, Jolyn Phillips, Karin Amatmoekrim, Nelleke Noordervliet, Petina Gappah, Reggie Baay, Rosabelle Illes, Shailesh Bahoran, Sigrid Kaag, Simon(e) van Saarloos, Ton van de Langkruis, Vamba Sherif

    A fantastic line-up of fifteen Dutch and international authors provided a preview of the festival with their new poetry and prose, mixed with dance performances by Shailesh Bahoran. This festive evening celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Winternachten festival with the presentation of the (Dutch language) anniversary anthology De verovering van Jupiter (Over de dekolonisatie van de geest) (Conquering Jupiter: On decolonising the mind). The festival was opened by Sigrid Kaag, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

    At the behest of Writers Unlimited, all contributors wrote a short essay, story or poem for the anthology to reflect on the festival theme. It is a unique collection of 28 wonderful pieces of writing edited by Toef Jaeger and published by Jurgen Maas. It is available at regular bookstores and online.

    In the same venue in which the first Indonesian Winternacht (forerunner of Winternachten Festival) took place in 1995 - the Theater aan het Spui - on this jubilee opening night we proudly presented (inter)national writers that have developed a special bond with our festival and its audience. These included: Goenawan Mohamad (Indonesia) and Nelleke Noordervliet - who both performed at the first Winternacht in 1995 -, Adriaan van Dis, Antjie Krog (South Africa), Reggie Baay, Manon Uphoff, Vamba Sherif and Cynthia McLeod (Suriname). Tip: be sure to look up these writers in our online video and sound archive!

    Writers Unlimited will always continue to seek out talent, and in 25 years has presented many debuting local and foreign writers. How wonderful, then, to welcome on this evening - once again, or for the first time: Angelina Enny (Indonesia), Rosabelle Illes (Aruba), Jolyn Phillips (South Africa) and, from the Netherlands, Karin Amatmoekrim, Simon(e) van Saarloos and Ellen Deckwitz. We awaited their appearances and recitations with bated breath.

    Theatre maker, choreographer and hiphop innovator Shailesh Bahoran performed parts of his dance solo Heritage that was inspired by his Hindostani background; a short video of The Theatre of Wrong Decisions was shown and the Hesce Mourits Quartet of the Royal Conservatory The Hague also performed.

    The Opening Night was hosted by Hassnae Bouazza.

    The performance of Manon Uphoff, announced for this programme, has been canceled due to illness.

  • Winternachten 2020 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Indonesia: History is an Always-Broken Promise

    Writers from Indonesia and The Netherlands look at the history and the way former colonizers are viewed now. Chris Keulemans talks with them about how this influences their work and invites them to read from their work.

    Besides being a famous poet, Goenawan Mohamad is also a journalist, essayist, editor and columnist. He contributed to the formation of the Indonesian language, Bahasa Indonesia. He participated in many ways in the struggle against Suharto's regime. In 1995, he was a guest writer at the inaugural Writers Unlimited festival and has returned several times since to The Hague to take part again.

    Angelina Enny is a writer, actor and theatre director. Her story debut, Nokturnal Melankolia, was adapted for the stage. In 2019 she collaborated with Dutch writer and musician Robin Block on a volume of poetry, In Between, Di Antara, in which they explore their personal stories, (family) memories and dreams, as well as their shared (Indonesian) history. Enny says: "For me, historical events consist of personal stories. Stories of people whose chronicles we have forgotten. That is specifically why we need to tell them."

    The grandparents of poet. musician and theatre maker Robin Block fled the Dutch East Indies in 1949. They crossed the ocean to build a new life in the Netherlands, a country of which they were official citizens, but where they had never set foot and which did not provide a warm welcome.

    Tip: Angelina Enny and Goenawan Mohamad read from their own work at Opening Night - A Free Mind on Wednesday, 15 January. Robin Block performs together with poet Ellen Deckwitz in 'Indische roots in poëzie en muziek' in Biblotheek Nieuw Waldeck on Friday evening 17 January.

  • Winternachten 2006 – WINTERNACHT 1

    Indonesia: from censorship to unprecedented freedom

    For years journalist/writer Goenawan Mohamad fought for the freedom of speech in Indonesia. There are no better witnessess of the history of censorship in Indonesia. Also former NRC correspondent Dirk Vlasblom talks about his experiences with the Indonesian censor. Paul van der Gaag chairs the discussion. Writer and journalist Goenawan Mohamad is the founder of the leading newsmagazine Tempo . For his pugnaciousness Mohamad received several awards, amongst others the first Professor Teeuw Award from the University of Leiden. Mohamad received the Wertheim award in December 2005. For this programme we earlier announced teh participation of Joesoef Isak, journalist and publisher from Indonesië. For reasons of ill health he cannot make the trip to the Netherlands. He is replaced by A. Munandar, an Indonesian exile living in The Netherlands. English spoken.

  • Winternachten 2003

    Nation Building and Writing History

    With: Bob de Graaff, Goenawan Mohamad, Henk van Woerden, Michaël Zeeman

    Nation Building is the process in which citizens of a country develop a sense of a common identity. The writer, the journalist and the historian play major parts in this process. How do they deal with that responsibility? Do they feel free to be critical against the nation? The Indonesian poet and journalist Goenawan Mohamad experienced Soeaharto's censorship. Historian and Japan-expert Bob de Graaff discusses his experiences as a researcher for Srebrenica investigation of the Dutch Institute for War Documentation. The role of the writer in this process is illustrated by the Dutch author Henk van Woerden. English spoken. The participation of the South-African author Achmat Dangor has been cancelled for reasons of ill health.

  • Winternachten 2003 – Winternacht 1

    Liberators, occupants and freedom fighters

    Japan as the liberator of Indonesia. It is an image that is not accepted by the Ducth. Last year a Japanese movie, Merdeka, showed that general Japanese view on history. How different are the views on the common past of Japan, The Netherlands and Indonesia? Paul van der Gaag (VPRO radio) talks to Goenawan Mohamad, Indonesian poet and journalist, the Dutch writer Rudy Kousbroek, and Japan-expert Rikki Kersten. English spoken, and illustrated with historic film fragments.

  • Winternachten 2000 – Winternacht 1

    Indonesia: Writers of Freedom

    Writer/journalist Goenawan Mohamad; Ayu Utami, a young writer who with her first bestseller novel broke sexual taboos, and Sitok Srengenge, a performing poet from Jakarta. He travelled Aceh and East Timor and reported of his experiences in his poems. Just like three years ago at the Winternachten festival, Sitok Srengenge made an impressive performance. Hosted by Kees Snoek. English/Indonesian spoken.

  • Winternachten 2000 – Winternacht 1

    Indonesia and East Timor: Poetry in Exile

    Abe Barreto Soares, East-Timorese resistance-poet; Hersri and Agam Wispi, Indonesian poets in exile in The Netherlands met their fellow-countrymen from Indonesia, poets Goenawan Mohamad and Sitok Srengenge. Kees Snoek was hosting the poets. The five guests also read some of their poems. English/Indonesian spoken.

  • Winternachten 2000 – Winternacht 1

    New opportunities for Indonesia

    Writer/journalist Goenawan Mohamad, one of the most prominent freedom-activists, talked to Kees Snoek on the position of poets and writers in his country. English spoken.

  • Indische Winternacht 1995

    Indische Winternacht 1995

    With: Aart van Zoest, Anneke Grönloh, Ernst Jansz, F. Springer, Goenawan Mohamad, Hamid Jabbar, Hella Haasse, Jill Stolk, Liane van der Linden, Marion Bloem, Nelleke Noordervliet, Paula Gomes, Rayuan Samud'ra, Rendra, Sitok Srengenge, The Blue Diamonds, Toeti Heraty, Yvonne Keuls

    The Indische Winternachten was the final programme in the Festival Indië/Indonesië (Festival Dutch East Indies/Indonesia). In the main autitorium of Theater aan het Spui, writers read from their work. In the foyer they were interviewed. In three venues of Cinematheek Haags Filmhuis a programme of old and new films on the Dutch East-Indies and Indonesia were presented. The music programme presented Krontjong, the Blue Diamonds, Indo-rock and a show by Anneke Grönloh. You can download the complete festival programme magazine as a pdf here.