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Maxim Februari

Maxim Februari - foto Merlin Daleman
Maxim Februari - foto Merlin Daleman

(Coevorden, NL, 1963) was born as Marjolijn Drenth. Besides being a writer, he is an ethicist, an art historian, and a lawyer. Februari understands the art of turning moral dilemmas and legal issues into elegant prose. "It's got to be exciting and entertaining. If you write a pamphlet, no one will read it," he commented. His novel De literaire kring (The Book Club, 2007), on the morals of the Dutch cultural elite, got a very positive reception. From 2001 to 2010 Februari wrote columns for the Volkskrant newspaper. Some of these columns were published in Park Welgelegen - Notities over Morele Verwarring (Welgelegen Park: Notes on Moral Confusion, 2004). In his PhD thesis Een Pruik van Paardenhaar & Over het Lezen van een Boek (A Wig of Horse's Hair & On Reading a Book, 2000), nominated for the Golden Owl Award, he examines the relationship between economics and ethics. Currently he writes a weekly column for opinion page of NRC Handelsblad. Some of these, together with some Volkskrant columns, have been anthologised in Ons soort mensen (Our Kind of People, 2011). De maakbare man (The Makeable Man), notes on transsexuality, was published in 2013.


Archive available for: Maxim Februari

  • Winternachten 2015 – FRIDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    We're Not Holding Our Breath for a Good Book

    Philosopher Maxim Februari and writer Martijn Knol are passionate readers. In which novels do they feel at home, and in which ones would they absolutely not want to live? A playful and personal exchange. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2013 – Winternacht 2 - schrijvers, muziek en film op vijf podia

    The Third Chamber of Parliament

    Third Chamber chair Ruben Maes invites you to debate, interrupt, and introduce amendments. Bring true democracy closer. Even if it is just for one evening. Five guests will spark off the debate: philosopher Maxim Februari opens with a column on the notion of citizen. Then cultural historian Thomas von der Dunk, journalist Paul van der Gaag and writers Christine Otten and David Van Reybrouck enter into a discussion with you, the audience. 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 2010 – Winternachten 2

    Zeeman's zealousness

    On 27 July 2009 Michaël Zeeman died. He was only 50. His love of books and literature were unequalled. Books were his friends, his relatives, his loves. As a host Zeeman was attached to Winternachten for thirteen years. His death is not only a great loss for cultural life in the Netherlands, but for the festival as well. He leaves behind a gap which no-one can fill. But spiritually is he still with us. In Zeeman's Zealousness Bas Heijne talks to people from the world of the arts and politics about responsibility and inspiration; themes which were very dear to him. With poet/writer Antjie Krog, philosopher/writer Marjolijn Februari and foreign minister of state Frans Timmermans. Host: Bas Heijne. In Dutch

  • Winternachten 2009 – Winternachten zaterdagavond

    The Real Thing 1: Morality

    Ethicists, writers and artists talked to each other about their quest for truth and genuineness. A pure tone, a clear line, the rules of the game: What do these concepts mean to them? The Real Thing was a full evening's, three-part programme hosted by Michaël Zeeman.

    Part 1: morality. If people lose their moral bearings, can the law keep them on the straight and narrow path? But what if the law itself is bad? Writer and ethicist Marjolijn Februari read a column specially written fot this programme: 'Who keeps guard over morality?' Then the German writer Juli Zeh, the South African writer and criminal lawyer Chris Marnewick and Marjolijn Februari talked about morality and the profession of letters.

  • Winternachten 2008

    In A State of Fear

    With: Adriaan van Dis, Bram Peper, Fouad Laroui, Frank Furedi, Maxim Februari

    "The only thing we fear is fear itself", said president Roosevelt. The Netherlands is one of the safest countries in the world. The government does everything to protect us. And yet fear reigns. British sociologist Frank Furedi, writer of among others 'Culture of Fear', says: "Societies capable of projecting a positive image of the future do not know the need to use fear as a currency in everyday life. And politicians trying to enthsue the electorate for a positive programme, largely avoid the politics of fear."

    In this Friday afternoon debate Furedi talks to writer and philosopher Marjolijn Februari, writer Adriaan van Dis and former politician Bram Peper. Each of them presents a recommendation to state and citizens, about how to deal with risks and fear. Four students of the Institute of Social Studies, coming from non-western countries, form a shadow panel. In a dialogue with the public they assess the recommendations, adapting them where needed. Host is writer and professor in migrant literature Fouad Laroui. In English

  • Winternachten 2006

    I capitulate - a debate about threats, solidarity and self-censorship in art and journalism

    With: Afshin Ellian, Bas Heijne, Breyten Breytenbach, Maxim Februari, Michaël Zeeman, Sybrand van Haersma Buma

    Freedom of speech is under pressure in the Netherlands. Almost every artist or journalist who has appeared in the news as a result of receiving threats, has capitulated. From theatre director Johan Doesburg (Fassbinder's The dirt, the city and death) to Hasna el Maroudi (columnist for the newspaper NRC Handelsblad, 2005).

    Each time two aspects came under threat: the person in question, who as a result sought shelter, and the freedom of speech, which after a wave of public indignation is abandoned until the next incident. Afshin Ellian, lawyer, poet and columnist of NRC Handelsblad, opens the program with an introductory essay. Followed by a debate with Sybrand van Haersma Buma (spokesman for the ministry of justice of the Christian democratic party, lower chamber), Bas Heijne (writer) and Marjolijn Februari (philosopher, lawyer and writer). The situation in the Netherlands is given an international perspective by the presence of South African poet and former anti-apartheid activist Breyten Breytenbach. Joesoef Isak, publisher, journalist and champion of the free word in Indonesia, was announced to take part in this discussion, but he had to cancel. Because of ill health he cannot make the trip to the Netherlands. Michaël Zeeman chairs the debate.
    Dutch spoken