Curatoren, English, Poetry, Politiek, Prose, RMW Festival 2014

you have to write about it

Kettly Mars Amsterdam

English below

Van 16 mei tot 16 juni was de Haïtiaanse Kettly Mars, op uitnodiging van het Letterenfonds en het Amsterdams Fonds voor de kunsten, Writer in Residence in Amsterdam. Read My World organiseerde een bijeenkomst over haar werk en dat van andere Haïtiaanse auteurs in de OBA. Mars is ook curator voor het Read My World Festival 2014, waarvan de focus zal liggen op Caraïbische literatuur, journalistiek en poëzie.  Hieronder een filmverslag van Mars’ tijd als writer in residence.

From the 16th of May until the 16th of June, the Haïtian Kettly Mars was Writer in Residence in Amsterdam. Below a short film about her stay (in English).



“When you are Haïtian and a writer you just cannot write for writings sake. I started writing poetry and I thought it was a very personal affair, describing my state of mind, my longings, my joy. But soon you’re caught up by actuality, you are caught by the needs, the cries, the shouts and they just haunt you. You cannot forget about them. And you realise you have to talk about it. It’s too much.”


On May 12, Kettly Mars discussed her authorship and that of other Haitian writers at the Central Library of Amsterdam as a guest of Read my World. Mars’ books have been translated into Dutch, German, English, Italian, Danish, and Japanese and include themes like power, spirituality, class differences, and gender.

Mars made her debut in 2003 with Kasalé, a novel about women living in the village of Lakou, close to Port-au-Prince, who are dealing with family ties, local traditions and spirituality. In 2005 L’heure hybride came out, a novel about a man named Rico, of mixed descent in modern-day Haiti. The book is themed around Rico’s contemplations about his origin, his mother who works as a prostitute, and love. In 2008 Fado was published, about a prostitute in Haiti and the consoling powers of Portuguese Fado music.

Saisons sauvages (2010) is Mars’ first novel that has been translated into Dutch, at publishing house De Geus. In this novel she tells us about Haiti in the sixties, under Duvalier’s dictatorship. The main character Nirvah’s husband, a journalist for the opposition, is arrested. Nirva has to infiltrate the underworld in order to get him back.

Mars will be one of the curators for the Read My World Festival in 2014.