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Johan Fretz

Johan Fretz - foto Sanja Marusic
Johan Fretz - foto Sanja Marusic

(1985) studied at the Amsterdam Theatre School and Cabaret School. He calls himself a "toriman", a storyteller. In 2012 he debuted with Fretz 2025, which was nominated for a Bronze Owl Award. His second novel, Onder de Paramariboom (Under the Paramari Tree, 2018) won the 2019 Book Dealer's Award. It tells the story of a hilarious and disarming road trip through Suriname, a quest for roots and identity as a person of mixed blood and reconciliation between mother and son. The novel is on the longlist for Best Audiobook of the Year 2019 (voiced by Fretz himself) and is being made into a film. Fretz also created a solo performance of the book, which was nominated for the Neerlands Hoop Cabaret Prize, and is a columnist for Het Parool newspaper.

(WN 2020)

Archive available for: Johan Fretz

  • Winternachten 2020 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Book of My Life: Johan Fretz

    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.

  • Winternachten 2020 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Johan Fretz's road trip through Surinam, Onder de Paramariboom, and film

    Before writer, toriman and newspaper columnist Johan Fretz went to cabaret school, he studied at the film academy - so we can trust in his love of film! Inspired by his literary work, especially his Surinam travel tale Onder de Paramariboom (Under the Paramari Tree), moderator Gerlinda Heywegen presents film clips to invite him to tell us about two countries and perhaps even the whole world.

    Fretz on Surinam: "Suddenly the shutters flew open. How incredible that there seems to be a whole world there. And where they speak Dutch, more beautifully and with more love than in the land of its origin."

    Fretz' novel Onder de Paramariboom was published in 2018, a hilarious and disarming road trip through Surinam. It is a search for roots and identity for someone of mixed blood, but above all about a reconciliation between a mother and a son. The book won the Bookseller's Prize in 2019. Fretz created a solo performance based on the book, which he toured through the Netherlands and which was nominated for the cabaret prize Neerlands Hoop.

  • Winternachten 2020 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Unmasking Colonial Myths

    Are we dealing with stubbornly clinging myths about colonial times? Writers Reggie Baay, Cynthia McLeod and Johan Fretz discuss colonial myths under the guidance of moderator Sarah Sluimer, with an introductory reading by Nelleke Noordervliet.

    The romantic idea lives on that the Netherlands introduced civilization and welfare as a colonizer. But wasn't something specific taken away before that, namely spices and raw materials, at the cost of the local population? Do these myths manifest themselves only in our thoughts or do they also creep into our literature? Have we learned from our history?