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Het Grote Gebeuren, Northern Netherlands’ largest literature festival, offers a stage to well-known writers and new talent every year. As always, we welcomed international guests as well.

This year, we presented three international guests. Science-fiction writer Adrian Tchaivosky, Austrian novelist Robert Menasse and poet Ronelda S. Kamfer. The poetic dance performance Peach Season was also in English. Together, these four programmes formed a full-length literary programme in English.

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Ronelda S. Kamfer

Poet Ronelda S. Kamfer is one of today’s leading South African authors. She writes poems about the past and present of the “brown communities” in South Africa. Topics in her poems include violence, complex family relationships, and everyday life in South Africa. Kamfer deals with these harsh realities by describing them in her penetrating poetry.
That poetry will be heard frequently by the audience of Het Grote Gebeuren. Additionally, Sophia Blyden, a writer, poet, programme maker and host, will join her in conversation. They will talk about Kamfer’s work and her life as well as her experiences during her writers’ residency in Amsterdam.
The conversation will be in English and the poems will be in Kaaps, with Dutch and English translations provided on screens.

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Robert Menasse

Robert Menasse’s novel The Capital has been called a satire on Europe. Menasse himself denies that it is satire. Why is The Capital a satire or not, and why, or why not, would a writer use satire to describe harsh reality? How does a writer deal with reality? Menasse will be interviewed on these questions and more.

The interview will also focus on Menasse’s latest novel, The Expansion. This tells the story of two Polish brothers who both started out as underground fighters against the Communist regime but who, afterwards, took a completely different path in life. For this novel, Menasse won the European Book Prize in 2023.

The interview will be in English. During this interview, Menasse will read excerpts from both novels in German. These excerpts will make the audience think about where they stand concerning the sometimes complicated facts in 2023. English and Dutch translations of the excerpts will be visible on screens so that everyone can enjoy Robert Menasse’s literature.

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Adrian Tchaikovsky

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s fantasy of the future Children of Time is considered one of the best science-fiction stories of recent times, and it won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2016. This novel was the sensational start of an exciting trilogy that earned Tchaikovsky the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Series. Dutch writer Hannah van Binsbergen talks to Adrian Tchaikovsky about his impressive novels, in which the last remnants of the human race try to find a new planet to call their home in a distant future. In that search, they unexpectedly encounter an intelligent spider population, with all the consequences this entails.  During the programme, the author will also read an excerpt of his novel to immerse you in his future universe.

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Peach Season

Peach Season is a multidisciplinary dance performance in which two dancers, two poets and a composer create a physical, visual and auditory representation of a love relationship. The techniques used are inspired by ASMR therapy.

“Love stories have always inspired me. My whole life can be divided into seasons of relationships and the input that these interactions brought to my sense of my “self” and “the world. My, and others, love stories are important because no matter how much the social climate changes and with it our expectations of love, the essence of love stories somehow remain the same. With Peach Season, I want to return to this essence. I want to give people the feeling of falling in love.” – Gaja Caruso