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In times of fake news, Twitter, Facebook posts and ultra-short fragments of the world news on your smartphone, we will be resorting to the novel this evening. Why did It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, a novel from 1935, suddenly return to the spotlight after Donald Trump was elected? Is it a coincidence that Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is back in the bestseller lists, thirty years after it was first published, at a time when a new generation of feminists are putting up resistance against toxic masculinity? And what does the fact that Black Lives Matter activists are seeking inspiration from James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time tell us? This night also contains a tribute to Philip Roth, a great novelist who passed away earlier this year, and has a programme around the books of Elena Ferrante.

A journey around the world in novels, in four halls at TivoliVredenburg, with a range of contemporary novelists from various parts of the world, as well as talks about classics that are still current today. Novels that don’t simply reveal timeless truths, but that offer surprisingly relevant insights into the world we’re living in today.

International authors

National and international authors who will appear on stage this evening include: Lisa Halliday (USA), Alejandro Zambra (Chile), Leni Zumas (USA), Ciler Ilhan (Turkey), Fatma Aydemir (Germany), Eric Vuillard (France), and more!

Classics about feminism and racism

De Groene Amsterdammer presents two panel discussions, led by journalist and novelist Joost de Vries about (contemporary) classics that can teach us something about the present. One panel will focus on feminism, with Marja Pruis discussing The First Stone by Helen Garner and Niña Weijers discussing Le deuxième sexe [The Second Sex] by De Beauvoir. In a second panel, about racism, Stephan Sanders will discuss The First Next Time by Baldwin and Lotfi El Hamidi will discuss Kamel Daoud’s Moussa of de dood van een Arabier [The Meursault Investigation].

Philip Roth Tribute

Earlier this year one of the best international authors passed away: Philip Roth (1933-2018). During the Night of the novel ILFU will bring a tribute to the writer of well-known titles as I Married a Communist and The plot against America. Several guests will discuss Roth’s majestic oeuvre and we will show fragments of a documentary made by Michaël Zeeman, one of the few journalists who had the honour of talking to the author. Among our guests are Ronald Giphart, a great Roth-fan, and Saskia Schaik, who joined Zeeman when he visited Roth at his home in Connecticut, New England.



The World of Elena Ferrante

Seldom has a book become such a literary sensation as My Brilliant Friend, part one of the Naples-trilogy by Elena Ferrante. Even more sensational: this happend without any performances in the media, campagnes or interviews with the author, as Elena Ferrante is the pseudonym of a writer who wishes to remain anonymous. In the past years there have been several speculations about the identity of this mysterious Italian writer, but so far no-one has come forward to claim the fame. During the Night of the novel various admirers will speak about Ferrante’s novels and we will show parts of documentaries about the author. Liddie Austin will have a conversation with Joyce Roodnat, cultural critic at NRC Handelsblad, and with Marja Pruis, author and journalist at De Groene Amsterdammer.



Start of Book Week for Young People

This evening, the Best Book for Young People Prize (Prijs Beste Boek voor Jongeren) will also be awarded in the context of the Book Week for Young People (Boekenweek voor Jongeren), which starts today. The following authors have been nominated for the prize: Arjan van Veelen, Alex Boogers, Henk van Straten, Roelof ten Napel and Nhung Dam. This year’s gift book, 3PAK, which is given out as part of the book week, was written by Nhung Dam, Tim Hofman and Raoul de Jong, who will also appear.


In English and Dutch (depends on programme)

The Night of the Novel is organised with the following partners:

Friday 21 September

Time: 19:00 - 23:00 Hour
Admission fees: €20
Admission fees friends: €15
Category: ,
Language: Nederlands|Engels

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Vredenburgkade 11
3511 WC Utrecht