Writers Unlimited: Human Voices

  • Date: 18 January 20:00 - 21:15
  • Location: Bibliotheek Ypenburg

Writers Unlimited

Writers Unlimited International Literature Festival welcomes you to Ypenburg Library with a wonderful literary-musical evening dedicated to a young generation of writers and poets with Indian roots. Watch and listen to the stories, poetry and music of Ellen Deckwitz and Robin Block. This generation with a family background in the former Dutch East Indies learns about the stories of the past through their grandparents, among others. Ellen's "steel grandmother" - grandmother Koos - lived next door to the family, telling her about what she had experienced in the Japanese internment camps from 1942 to 1945. Her collection Higher Physics - part story, part poem - is the result of countless conversations Ellen had in the years since with people whose roots also lie in present-day Indonesia. Ellen performs with a contemporary of her generation: poet, musician and theater-maker Robin Block. His grandparents left Indonesia in 1949. They crossed the ocean to build a new life in the Netherlands, a country of which they were officially citizens, but where they had never been and which did not give them a warm welcome. Robin presents their stories in poetry and music. In his recent collection of poems, Handbook of Displaced Persons (2023), Block, balancing between different cultures and nationalities, mirrors his own search for identity with that of his grandparents. Two worlds flow together: stories of the old colony and the discovery of modern Indonesia.'

Ellen Deckwitz
Ellen Deckwitz (1982) has been unstoppable since she made her entrance into writing: in recent years prize-winning collections, books on writing (the acclaimed Zo je een geweldige dichter) and the bestseller Olijven moet je geleerd lezen (Olives must be learned to read) have appeared. She also presents poetry slams, won countless herself, made the finals of De slimste mens and writes columns in NRC. The poetry collection Higher Physics will appear in 2019 and the omnibus First Aid for Poetry in 2022. Ellen will win The Johnny, the oeuvre prize for performing poetry, in 2021 and the Tollens, the oeuvre prize for all her written work, in 2022. She is a regular guest on radio programs and reads a Dutch or translated poem in her NPO Listening podcast Poetry Today every working day morning.

Robin Block
Robin Block (b. 1980) is a poet, musician and performer. Block often poems about the shared history of the Netherlands and Indonesia, about displacement, migration background or an upbringing between different families and cultures. Block has released several albums of dreamy indie folk; he won the award for Best Musician at the Grote Prijs van Nederland in 2008 and did a music tour in Java last year. After Bestials (2005) and the bilingual In Between, Di Antara, he seeks a new balance between the Netherlands and Indonesia in his collection Handleiding voor Ontheemden (Handbook of Displaced Persons, 2023). The collection will appear in translation in Indonesia in February 2024. In addition, Robin is a columnist for Indian magazine Moesson.
This evening was created in cooperation with Writers Unlimited International Literature Festival The Hague. For the full program visit www.writersunlimited.nl

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