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Marja Pruis

Marja Pruis - foto Bob Bronshoff
Marja Pruis - foto Bob Bronshoff

(The Netherlands, 1959) has been writing about the expectations men and women have of each other and of life since her debut novel Bloem (Flower). Her novel Atoomgeheimen (Nuclear Secrets is about intimacy and the loss of ideals. She has been called the chronicler of contemporary womanhood; she explores her themes further in her novels De vertrouweling (The Confidant) and Zachte riten (Soft Rites). Pruis works at De Groene Amsterdammer weekly as a literary editor and columnist, writing essays on topics as diverse as humour, shyness and greed. She received the Jan Hanlo Prize for her collection of essays Kus me, straf me, and the J. Greshoff Prize for essayism with Genoeg nu over mij. For her columns, collected in Oplossingen (Solutions), she received the J. Heldring Prize. In Boos Meisje. Over vrouwen en frictie (Angry Girl. About Women and Friction), she writes about the split in which girls and women find themselves, including portraits of writers she admires such as Renate Rubinstein and Vivian Gornick. Her recently published confrontational novel Huiswerk (Homework) is about white privilege and the tension between employer and employee.

(WU2024)

Archive available for: Marja Pruis

  • Writers Unlimited 2024

    Marja Pruis in Bibliotheek Nieuw Waldeck

    With: Marja Pruis, Roos van Rijswijk

    Writers Unlimited International Literature Festival The Hague welcomed you to the Nieuw Waldeck Library for an appearance by writer Marja Pruis. She talked to Roos van Rijswijk about her new novel, Homework, and also read excerpts from it.

    In the novel, Clara Feij has come to live in the most beautiful house in Amsterdam, according to herself. The cleaning is left to a slew of maids who have all fled their own countries. When Rose moves in, everything changes. How can you help someone you know nothing about? And how can you trust someone when all evidence seems against her?

    Homework is a confrontational novel about intimate happiness and domestic betrayal. About being in charge and not wanting to be. With great precision, Marja Pruis exposes the confusion that traps Westerners with all their good intentions.

    Marja Pruis has been writing about the expectations men and women have of each other and of life since her debut novel Bloem (Flower). Her novel Atoomgeheimen (Nuclear Secrets is about intimacy and the loss of ideals. She has been called the chronicler of contemporary womanhood; she explores her themes further in her novels De vertrouweling (The Confidant) and Zachte riten (Soft Rites). Pruis works at De Groene Amsterdammer weekly as a literary editor and columnist, writing essays on topics as diverse as humour, shyness and greed.

    She received the Jan Hanlo Prize for her collection of essays Kus me, straf me (Kiss Me, Punish Me) and the J. Greshoff Prize for essayism with Genoeg nu over mij (Enough about me now). For her columns, collected in Oplossingen (Solutions), she received the J. Heldring Prize. In Boos Meisje. Over vrouwen en frictie (Angry Girl. About Women and Friction), she writes about the split in which girls and women find themselves, including portraits of writers she admires such as Renate Rubinstein and Vivian Gornick. Her recently published novel Huiswerk (Homework) is about white privilege and the tension between employer and employee.

    "Huiswerk is classic Pruis: bouncy, associative, multifaceted, imaginative, humorous, you regularly burst out laughing, but ultimately more serious than anticipated." (Tzum)

    Festival tip: Pruis and many other writers and poets appeared at the grand festival evening Saturday Night Unlimited (20 January 2024), during which you chose your own route between twenty events on five stages at Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis Den Haag.

  • Writers Unlimited 2024 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Book of My Life with Marja Pruis

    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.

    Marja Pruis chose as her favourite Mrs. Dalloway (1925) by Virginia Woolf, the novel in which Clarissa Dalloway goes to buy flowers one summer morning. She is making final preparations for the party she is going to give that evening. As she walks through London, she reflects on her life.

  • Winternachten 2019

    Feast of Writers

    With: Aad Meinderts, Annemarie Estor, Douwe Draaisma, Hans Aarsman, Hassnae Bouazza, Jan van Aken, Jenny Arean, Maartje Meijer, Marja Pruis, Mathilde Santing, Maxime Garcia Diaz, Nelleke Noordervliet, Pauline Krikke, Robert van Asten, Sumai Yahya

    Appearances by singer, cabaret artist and actress Jenny Arean (accompanied on piano by Peter van der Zwaag), singer Mathilde Santing (accompanied by musicians Bastiaan Mulder and Guus Bakker), memory psychologist and author Douwe Draaisma, jazz pianist and composer Maartje Meijer and photographer and writer Hans Aarsman made this a fantastic Schrijversfeest edition.

    They performed to honour the winners of the literary prizes that the Jan Campert Foundation awarded on behalf of the City of The Hague. These were handed out during this Winternachten festival afternoon by the Mayor of The Hague, Pauline Krikke, and Robert van Asten, alderman for mobility, culture and strategy.

    The Schrijversfeest was opened by young poet Maxime Garcia Diaz who reads from her own work. Then high-school students recited their poetry written during workshops at school. Among them Sumai Yahya, who won the Young Campert Prize last year. The audience decided which of three student nominees won this award for a young Hague poet this time.

    Nelleke Noordervliet received the Constantijn Huygens Prize for her complete oeuvre. Since 1987 she has published a large number of novels, novellas, stories, essays and radio commentaries. Themes of historic ties, freedom, the collective and responsibility characterize her work. Her latest novel is Aan het eind van de dag (At the End of the Day, 2016)

    Jan van Aken received the F. Bordewijk Prize for his novel De ommegang (The Procession). It takes place in Europe during the year 1400, "a time when fierceness prevails, death is always lurking, and the equally brilliant and opportunistic protagonist attempts to defend his position so that he can build a cathedral", according to the jury.

    Annemarie Estor received the Jan Campert Prize for Niemandslandnacht (No-Man's-Land Night). This swirling prose poem, which reveals itself further at every reading, evokes a world that is both surreal and contemporary.

    The biannual J. Greshoff Prize went to Marja Pruis for her essay collection Genoeg nu over mij (Enough Now about Me). "I" must deserve you, writes the journalist, critic and writer. She certainly deserves this prize for her full-out and unabashed thinking and writing.

    This programme is a collaboration with the Jan Campert Foundation / Literature Museum.

  • Winternachten 2016 – Friday Night Unlimited

    The writer as accomplice

    Writers like to give bad guys their say. In her debut novel Muidhond, shortlisted for the ECI Literature Prize, forensic psychologist Inge Schilperoord knows how to generate sympathy for Jonathan, a convicted pedophile. In Alles verandert (Everything Changes), which plays a virtuostic game with John Coetzee's novel Disgrace, Kristien Hemmerechts gives voice to Iris, who has inappopriate sexual contact with a student but shifts from offender to victim. Are Schilperoord and Hemmerechts accomplices to the unconscionable deeds of their characters?

  • Winternachten 2013

    Writers' Fest 2013

    With: Bart Moeyaert, Denise Jannah, Ellen Deckwitz, Guus Janssen, Jaap Cohen, Joke van Leeuwen, Lucas Hüsgen, Marja Pruis, Nico Dijkshoorn, Pieter Steinz, Roland Colastica, Ronald Giphart, Stephan Enter, Wouter Godijn

    The festival closes with a Writers' Fest in the Koninklijke Schouwburg. A programme around Dutch literature, with performances by among others Joke van Leeuwen, Nico Dijkshoorn, Ronald Giphart, Bart Moeyaert, jazz singer Denise Jannah and pianist and composer Guus Janssen. 


    What is the state of affairs in Dutch letters? At the beginning of the year we take stock. Writer and critic Marja Pruis gives her vision on how Dutch literature fares. With music and readings we honour three great writers and poets who passed away in 2012. Queen of jazz and singer Denise Jannah, accompanied by guitarist Robby Alberga, sings a poem by Gerrit Komrij, Holland's foremost poet and promotor of Dutch poets and poetry. Composer and pianist Guus Janssen honours the prolific Dutch writer  Bernlef with a composition for voice and piano. And we'll listen to a recording of poet Rutger Kopland, the grand old man of Dutch poetry. Curaçaoan writer and actor Roland Colastica, who made his debut last year with the children's novel Vuurwerk in mijn hoofd (Fireworks in my Head), tells us a story about his mother tongue, Papiamento, how as a child he got to know Dutch literature, on the importance of reading and telling stories. 

    Presentation of the The Hague literary prizes
    Four writers are awarded with a prize today: Stephan Enter is recipient of the F. Bordewijk Prize for his novel Grip, Wouter Godijn receives the Jan Campert Prize for his book of poetry Hoe H.H. de wereld redde (How H.H. Saved the World), and Lucas Hüsgen receives the J. Greshoff Prize for contemplative prose for his book Nazi te Venlo (Nazi in Venlo). Multitalent Joke van Leeuwen is recipient of the Constantijn Huygens Prize for her entire oeuvre. The afternoon closes with her theatrical word of thanks: a unique performance by Van Leeuwen,  this writer, poet,  illustrator and comedian. In cooperation with the Nederlands Letterenfonds, Stichting Lezen and the Jan Campert Stichting. The prizes are given by the alderman for culture of The Hague, Marjolein de Jong.

  • Winternachten 2011 – Winternacht 2

    The comfort of the bedside table

    In the collection of essays The Possessed the Turkish-American writer Elif Batuman describes her love for literature and tries among other things to find and answer to the question as to how to bring literature as close to your everyday life as possible. Writer Manon Uphoff wrote Hoe te lezen (How to read) in which she examines what writers, what books aim at. Thereby raising the phenomenon that the writer and the story are increasingly identified as one and the same. Marja Pruis talks to them about the comfort that literature exerts and what the key to it is. In English.

  • Winternachten 2011 – Winternacht 1

    Wintercafé 4: Late Night Utopia

    Jeroen van Kan talks to Marja Pruis about her collected essays on literature. What is the happiness of writing about the minutest details? The Congolese/American spoken word artist Omékongo Dibinga enters into a poetic battle with Martijn Knol and Hagar Peeters on the feasibility of a better world. In Dutch and English.

  • Winternachten 2010 – Winternachten 1

    Love's Golden Rules

    At the end of the evening writers Ramsey Nasr and Marja Pruis will go in search of Love's Golden Rules in the grote zaal. What are the most important and sincerest rules in love? And who has written about it in the most beautiful terms? Writing about love is an art because it's such a great and sweeping emotion. Because it's either over the top, or too sweet. How to prevent that from happening? And are there any writers who show this well? The writers read the most beautiful love lines. Dutch.