Wander through downtown Leeuwarden from 24 to 26 November during festival Explore the North for a weekend of undiscovered art. You will see word artists, performances, literary pop shows, musical pioneers and much more at special locations in the old town.

Leeuwarden City of Literature is there with, among other things, co-reading sessions, books on prescription, a conversation with Finnish writer Juhani Karila and the theatrical final presentation of the Literary Performance Masterclass. You will also find our reading magazine LETTER at the festival.

In the run-up to the festival, the Stadskas can already be found on the Oldehoofsterkerkhof. On 10 November, together with Explore the North and Marrit Jellema, we will present the fourth (freely accessible!) edition of spoken word night Hoge Woorden.

Co-reading sessions
Books on prescription
Juhani Karila
The end begins

Co-reading sessions

Sat 25 Nov. 14:00-15:00 and 17:30-18:30, De Utrecht
Sun. 26 Nov. 14:00-15:00 and 16:00-17:00, De Utrecht

You can see and hear a lot of writers and poets during Explore the North. They race by on stages, but hello, what was that even all about? Would you like to spend an hour quietly immersing yourself in their work? Or just take a good look at a piece of writing, to know how to do it? If you want to spend some time delving deeper into their work or just picking out a piece of text, come to a co-reading session! In a small group, you will dive into beautiful fragments and poems on the spot. Led by a reading tutor, you talk to each other about what the texts evoke: what exactly does it say? What does it do to you? Do you recognise it? The sessions take place in the beautiful Jugendstil building De Utrecht. At the and of the session, the writer drops by. No preparation is needed.

Sat. 25 nov. 14:00-15:00: we will read texts by Tiemen Hiemstra
Sat. 25 nov. 17:30-18:30: we will read texts by Juhani Karila
Sun. 26 nov. 14:00-15:00: we will read texts by Anne-Goaitske Breteler
Sun. 26 nov. 16:00-17:00: we will read texts by Walt Whitman, with Preston Losack and Tsead Bruinja

There is limited space available: register via Explore the North’s website or during the festival at The Stadskas.

The sessions are a prelude to the project ‘Mei-inoar lêze’ (Reading Together): collaborative reading groups which Leeuwarden City of Literature and Cultural Pharmacy will start in Fryslân in early 2024.

Books on prescription

Sat. 25 & Sun. 26 November, 15:00-17:00, De Stadskas

Does the futility of existence ever bother you? Do you suffer from a Calimero complex, or just from ‘save-the-world’ syndrome? Or a finite sadness or after-me-the-flood thoughts? Leeuwarden City of Literature and the Cultural Pharmacy offer relief from these and other everyday ailments! Come to the walk-in clinic at the Stadskas for a brief yet fundamental consultation and pour your heart out. You will receive a highly personalised book prescription on the spot, including the right dosage, the best time to take it and any side effects.

Kirsten van Santen in conversation with writer Juhani Karila

Sat. 25 November 20:45-21:30, De Waalse Kerk

Juhani Karila comes from rural Finland and wrote a completely original and absurd book that is now acclaimed all over the world: Fishing for the Little Pike. In the story, riven with mosquitoes and mysterious characters, tough Elina goes in search of a formidable pike magically linked to her own destiny. As the story progresses, more and more strange creatures appear. Yet they are not really strange, because in this village, ‘nixes’ are as normal as biscuits on a Sunday morning. That is what makes this anything but a fairy tale. Karila talks with Kirsten van Santen, journalist, swimmer and author of Catching Water, a book in which initially, without realising it herself, a phantom swam. Finland and Fryslân seem to know each other. Are we talking about magic here? Or about an extra sense we humans have forgotten how to use?

Literary performance: The End Begins 

Sun. 26 November, 15.00-15:45 and 17.45-18:30, the Kapel in dbieb

For the second time, Explore the North, Leeuwarden City of Literature and Tryater organised a masterclass series for writers and poets who want to take their performances to the next level. Theatre maker Karel Hermans explored with participating authors the possibilities of communicating text. The focus is on their own texts, written in any language. During festival Explore the North, you can see the results of this quest in the Chapel of the dbieb library. A playful, literary performance, this time focusing on the festival theme: the (in)finiteness of existence. Participating writers: Ytje Hoekstra, Tialda Hoogeveen, Remco Kuiper, Eise Ivo Smit, Bauke Vermaas and Jetze de Vries

View the complete program and order your ticket at: