The Xenophiles Talk Language

Programme editor
In cooperation with
The Xenophiles

Four migrant writers celebrate the power of all that is peculiar, foreign, strange and original with provocative readings and a lively conversation with the audience. This April the Xenophiles talk language. Do we change with language? Do we own it or does it own us? And who gets to be on the inside – and who on the outside?  Join us as we explore what language means and does to us.

We’d love to hear you reading a favourite poem in your preferred language. Please contact Participants get a free ticket.

About the Xenophiles

The Xenophiles are Vamba, the Liberian-Kuwaiti scholar from Groningen; Julie, the American who speaks Dutch with a Frisian accent; Amal, the Indian Sri-Lankan who arrived from Glasgow; and Richard, the Dutchman who still swears like a South African on his bike.

This April the Xenophiles invite Nafiss Nia as guests writer.

Nafiss Nia is a poet, filmmaker, literary translator, and cultural entrepreneur. She made her debut in 2004 with the collection Esfahan, My Haven of Hope followed by several collections. Her autobiographical documentary A, B, C, … premiered in 2011 and in 2015 Dance Iranian Style premiered at Eye, her debut feature film as a screenwriter and producer. Currently, Nafiss is putting the finishing touches to the short feature film Roya Was Here, a tribute to the Woman_Life_Freedom movement. 

Julie Phillips is an American biographer, journalist and critic. She authored several books, such as of ‘The Baby on the Fire’, ‘Escape: Creativity’, ‘Mothering’, and ‘The Mind-Baby Problem’. Her work deals with motherhood, gender and science fiction.

Amal Chatterjee teaches creative writing in Amsterdam and Oxford. His writing consists of novels, short stories, theatre plays, and non-fiction articles. In the 1990s, he published two fiction books, ‘Across the Lakes’ and ‘Phoenix House/Penguin India’. He examined the history of how India is portrayed in the media with ‘Representations of India.’

Vamba Sherif is a writer, film critic and curator. He has written several novels, such as ‘De Zwarte Napoleon’, ‘De Getuige’, ‘Zwijgplicht’, ‘Het Koninkrijk van Sebah’ and ‘Het Land van de Vaders’. His books have been published in many languages.

Richard de Nooy writes novels, short stories and non-fiction in English and Dutch. His debut novel ‘Zes Beetwonden en een Tetanusprik’ was published in 2008. This was followed by the novels ‘Zacht als Staal’ and ‘Zendingsdrang’, in which – as in his debut – violence plays a prominent role. His fourth book ‘Van Kleine Helden’ is about everyday heroes and an exploration of their motivations. 


Nafiss Niapoet and filmmaker
Amal ChatterjeeWriter and academic | Photo: Susan Ridder
Julie PhillipsWriter, journalist and critic
Vamba SherifWriter and curator