(1982) debuted in 2014 with Vervoering (Rapture), a family chronicle of four generations of Hindustanis. In 1912, 18-year-old Ramdew Rajput travels from India to Suriname, where he ends up as a labourer on a sugar plantation. Despite repression, the overseers cannot knuckle under this stubborn and charismatic young man. De kier (The Crack, 2020) is both an engaged novel and love story in which young civil servant Uma wants to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable women invisible to the outside world. Singh studied at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the city in which she lives and works as a public administrator. She has written for magazines and newspaper such as Trouw, Joop.nl, De Volkskrant, Contrast, Wereldjournalisten, and OHM Magazine. Singh is part of the writers' collective Fixdit, which aims to raise awareness of gender inequality in literature. June 2023 she will publish her book Na de komma, Hindoestaans perspectief op slavernijverleden (After the comma, Hindustani perspective on slavery history).(WN 2022)
Archive available for: Shantie Singh
All the World's Excuses
With: Angel ArunA, Astrid H. Roemer, Caleb Azumah Nelson, Chika Unigwe, David Diop, Dean Bowen, Martine Woudt, Nazrina Rodjan, Neske Beks, Rachida Lamrabet, Radna Fabias, Sarita Bajnath, Shantie Singh
In the Winternachten festival programme All the World's Excuses, prominent authors Chika Unigwe (US, a.o. On Black Sisters' Street), David Diop (France, International Booker Prize-winner for At Night All Blood is Black) and Caleb Azumah Nelson (UK, a.o. the well-received debut novel Open Water) talked about the global traces of slavery and how this permeates our current society, literature and their books. They addressed (post)colonialism, migration and identity formation. And, of course, they read from their own work. Interviewers were Rachida Lamrabet and Dean Bowen.
Furthermore, writer Neske Beks told about how her new book De kleine Morrison (The Small Morrison, 2023), an introduction into reading Toni Morrison's books from a Black perspective, relates to the theme of All the World's Excuses, and if that also applies to Dutch or Flemish authors with roots in former colonies. Writer Astrid H. Roemer and poet Radna Fabias also contributed with readings from their work. Singer Angel ArunA performed her own work and poems by poet and singer-songwriter Raj Mohan in Sarnámi, the language of people with a Hindustan background in Suriname and The Netherlands.
Preceding the performances in Zaal 1, we opened the evening programme in the lobby of Theater aan het Spui with a short pre-programme with readings by writer Chika Unigwe and poet Dean Bowen from their works, hosted by Sarita Bajnath.
All the World's Excuses asked questions about how stories about slavery and its abolition have taken their place in our collective memory, and about what authors pass on to young people searching for their (invisible) story and identity in the country where they were born.
On all continents, stories about these subjects went unheard, were suppressed or were rendered invisible for a long time. Thanks to the talent and work of many authors, these stories have since found a home in world literature. Through this literature, the weight of this history and the importance of sharing these stories is made palpable.
Bookstore De Vries van Stockum was present in the lobby with a stand offering books by participating authors of this programme, among others!
This programme was curated by Shantie Singh, author of a.o. the novels Vervoering (2014) and De kier (2020).
This event was in English; translations of non-English readings were simultaneously projected on a screen.
With day ticket also to afternoon programme Verhalen die verbinden (Connecting Stories)
Preceding All the World's Excuses on Sunday 16 April as of 14:30h in Theater aan het Spui was the, Dutch spoken, Winternachten festival afternoon programme Verhalen die verbinden. A reduced price day ticket for both festival programmes on 16 April was available.
Verhalen die verbinden (Connecting Stories)
With: Angel ArunA, Arturo den Hartog, Astrid H. Roemer, Babs Gons, Britney Lindo, Daphne Huisden, Fiep van Bodegom, Holland Baroque, Lucretia Starke, Maria Vlaar, Mariëlle Vavier, Nazrina Rodjan, Rabin Baldewsingh, Sarita Bajnath, Shantie Singh, Tessa Leuwsha
Dark, forgotten and forbidden pages: it is taking a long time for the colonial history of the Netherlands to penetrate our collective memory. But history has many forms of transmitting lore, of which stories are the most powerful. They are passed from one continent to another, from generation to generation. And then, with great imagination and creativity, they are recorded in literature, music and language. In this way, the stories come to belong to everyone. This event was in Dutch.
The Winternachten festival afternoon programme Verhalen die verbinden (Connecting Stories) explored Dutch colonial history in our literature, language and music. Prominent Surinamese authors Astrid H. Roemer and Tessa Leuwsha talked in conversations with respectively Maria Vlaar and Fiep van Bodegom about the significance of 150 years of abolition of slavery for them, their country, their relatives and their books. Both published new books in 2023: Astrid H. Roemer wrote the novel DealersDochter (Dealers' Daughter) and Tessa Leuwsha published her De wilde vaart: op zoek naar de veerkracht van Suriname (Tramp trade: the search for the resilience of Surinam).
Author Babs Gons performed spoken word. Authors Tessa Leuwsha and Daphne Huisden read from their contributions to Dat wij zongen (What we sang), the essay collection in which twenty leading writers of today make a case for a Caribbean author of the past who inspired them personally. Mariëlle Vavier, deputy Mayor and alderman of the City of The Hague for Poverty, Inclusion and Public Health, gave a speech.
Singer Angel ArunA performed her own work and poems by poet and singer-songwriter Raj Mohan in Sarnámi, the language of people with a Hindustan background in Suriname and The Netherlands. Furthermore soprano Lucretia Starke and countertenor Arturo den Hartog performed, accompanied by six musicians from ensemble Holland Baroque, with their version of Surinamese song Lolo mi boto, among others.
The talks and performances in Zaal 1 were followed in the theatre foyer by a short post-programme hosted by Sarita Bajnath with contributions and readings by Britney Lindo, writer and spoken word artist, and by Rabin Baldewsingh, writer and, since 2021, National Coordinator against Discrimination, among others.
Also the (English spoken ) evening programme All the World's Excuses on this Winternachten festival day 16 April, focused on the significance of 150 years abolition of slavery. All the World's Excuses took a wider perspective by inviting authors from various backgrounds to speak about the traces left by slavery, apartheid and colonialism in society, storytelling, language and literature: guests were Caleb Azumah Nelson (UK), David Diop (France), Chika Unigwe (USA), Astrid H. Roemer (Surinam), Neske Beks (Belgium) and Radna Fabias (Netherlands).
Bookstore De Vries van Stockum was present in the lobby with a stand offering books by participating authors of this programme, among others including signing opportunities!
This programme was curated by Shantie Singh, author of a.o. the novels Vervoering (2014) and De kier (2020).
With day ticket also to evening programme All the World's Excuses
Verhalen die verbinden was followed on Sunday 16 April as of 19:30h in Theater aan het Spui by the, English spoken, Winternachten festival evening programme All the World's Excuses.
A reduced price day ticket for both festival programmes on 16 April was available.
Optimistische woede (Optimistical Anger)
With: Annelies Verbeke, Christine Otten, Jannah Loontjens, Manon Uphoff, Rachida Lamrabet, Sanneke van Hassel, Shantie Singh
In this Writers Series programme, writers' collective Fixdit, in collaboration with Writers Unlimited, celebrated the publication of the Fixdit manifesto Optimistische woede: fix het seksisme in de literatuur (Optimistic Rage: fix sexism in literature), a publication of De Geus, at Theater aan het Spui in The Hague.
Many people openly admit to barely reading books by women. Reading lists in schools are dominated by books by (white straight) men. Women win fewer literary prizes than men. Is that a bad thing? Yes, because it reflects and shapes relations in society.
Eleven female writers are outraged by the unequal position of women in the arts, and united in the collective Fixdit. From alliance, they fight for change, in the literary world and in the canon. In the eleven pieces of this manifesto, they explore the problem in depth. Furious, combative, and above all: optimistic.
No fewer than eight of the eleven Fixdit authors read from their contributions to their joint manifesto: Sanneke van Hassel, Rachida Lamrabet, Jannah Loontjens, Christine Otten, Shantie Singh, Fleur Speet, Manon Uphoff and Annelies Verbeke. You probably read their books and met them in previous Writers Series programmes or at the Winternachten festival.
The programme in Zaal 1 opened and closed with parts from Gregory Shaggy's urban dance performance (Y)our eyes only about the reality of young black men in Western society. With their own dreams, goals and talents, they try to make a name for themselves in a world where prejudice, racism, inequality and distorted images in the media are unfortunately still among today's problems. The men want to search for their own truths. They try to face personal blockages in order to ultimately follow their dreams.
After the programme, we celebrated the book launch with bubbles and book signing at De Vries Van Stockum Boeken's book sales stand in the foyer. This book launch marked the start of a Fixdit tour along bookshops and literary venues throughout the Netherlands and Belgium.
Fixdit consists of Yra van Dijk, Sanneke van Hassel, Rachida Lamrabet, Jannah Loontjens, Munganyende Hélène Christelle, Christine Otten, Gaea Schoeters, Shantie Singh, Fleur Speet, Manon Uphoff and Annelies Verbeke.
Home & Violence
With Manon Uphoff, Shantie Singh, Sanneke van Hassel, Raoul de Jong, Müesser Yeniay, Margijn Bosch & Meltem Halaceli
For whom is home actually home? What if your safest place isn't safe at all? Why does "domestic violence" sound like something "domestic" or even cozy? The theme Whose House is This? also requires us to discuss human violence within walls, war and peace under our own roofs, the unsafe interior world that so often remains hiden. Domestic violence, especially against women, is not a matter of isolated incidents but a societal problem. Or, like Manon Uphoff said in an interview: "They are shards that together form a mirror into which society needs to look."
What does literature tell us about this great theme? We invited you to an initial exploration, a collage of literary texts about domestic violence. Manon Uphoff, Iris van Vliet, Shantie Singh and Sanneke van Hassel of the writers' collective Fixdit, together with Meltem Halaceli and Ellen Walraven of Winternachten, collected a large number of literary excerpts for this event.
Writers Manon Uphoff, Sanneke van Hassel, Shantie Singh, Raoul de Jong, Müesser Yeniay, Meltem Halaceli and actor Margijn Bosch read these excerpts in an intimate setting, close to the public. We read works by and sometimes also with the actual authors:
Elif Shafak, Manon Uphoff, Shantie Singh, Margaret Atwood, Rebecca Solnit, Alice Munro, Astrid Roemer, Philip Huff, A.M. Homes, Müesser Yeniay, Ronelda Kamfer and many more. And yes, this could be painful and confrontational. But this topic deserved a literary investigation and probe. What is going on in the various rooms of ever-changing houses in which it is not safe?
Dancing into Saturday Night
Dancing into the night with DJ Socrates. His incendiary Afro Beat and Tropical Funk, Reggae, sultry Cumbia grooves, and a dash of Electro Swing add up to a musical feast.
New Talent in the House!
Five powerful new female stars in the literary firmament talk about their ultimate sense of being at home in specially written commentaries. Much-discussed debutante Nina Polak and her up-and-coming colleagues Bregje Hofstede, Mira Feticu, Roos van Rijswijk, and Shantie Singh appear in a varied program. Presented by Simone van Saarloos. In Dutch.