The port of The Hague is used to receiving cargo from all corners of the world. This January its most notable import will be writers. With half the events in English, the Winternachten International Literature Festival, based at the city’s futuristic Theater aam het Spui, musters an impressive list of overseas authors as well as home-grown talent. Evil is the theme this year, and Jung Chang opens with a lecture on freedom of speech. Karl Ove Knausgård discusses the final volume of his novel sequence “My Struggle” and tackles the question of whether he should have written it at all; Connie Palmen also explores the meeting of autobiography and fiction. The festival’s signature events are its two “unlimited” evenings, mixing debate and music with readings from two dozen writers, including locals Geert Mak and Herman Koch and visiting dignitaries Andrey Kurkov, Neel Mukherjee – and the Belgian “poetic cabaret artist” Maud Vanhauwaert. ~ ANTHONY GARDNER
Winternachten International Literature Festival Jan 14th-17th
TALKS AT A GLANCE
General David Petraeus (92Y, New York, Jan 7th). Who better to pronounce on Russia, IS and Iran than the ex-CIA director? He will discuss the national security challenges faced by the next president.
San Miguel Writers’ Conference (San Miguel de Allende, Feb 10th-14th). Possibly the only literary festival to boast a “Tequila Welcome”, the bilingual Mexican extravaganza features Joyce Carol Oates and Luis Alberto Urrea.
Adelaide Writers’ Week (Feb 27th to Mar 3rd). Jonathan Bate, Tim Flannery, Kate Grenville and the television-cook-cum-political-pundit Annabel Crabb grace the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden. ~ AG