News and events

Stand-alone workshops, writing suggestions, books of note, and occasional other news. Scroll down, and ensure to check back here every so often!

News and events

Stand-alone workshops, writing suggestions, books of note, and occasional other news. Scroll down, and ensure to check back here every so often!

News and events

Stand-alone workshops, writing suggestions, books of note, and occasional other news. Scroll down, and ensure to check back here every so often!

the art + writing series

As a visitor to, and occasional worker at TEFAF – The European Fine Art Fair, over many years, I’ve often sought ways I might share my experience of this extraordinary event. Around 275 exhibitors gathered together under one roof, showing the best of the best of around 7,000 years of creative human endeavour – and everything is for sale. You could spend a thousand or two euros, or, if you’d prefer, you could easily spend a few million as well. From old master paintings to video art to contemporary sculpture to modern jewellery to Roman antiquities – if it’s exquisite and of museum quality, chances are you’ll find it at TEFAF.

So for 2023 I’m happy to say I did find a new way of sharing some of the riches I saw in person. Over on Instagram, I began something called the art + writing series, which is simply artworks from TEFAF, plus writing suggestions. Per example, here’s what accompanies the diamond sunburst brooch. Write about a time when everything seemed bright. Who, what, or where did the brightness emanate from? If it faded or stopped, why did that happen? What happened next? There’s no right or wrong here. Simply… Write first, ask questions later.

Curious for more? Then visit @amsterdamwriters and if you enjoy what you find, please give a shout!

One image comprised of six images of artworks, viewable on Instagram

Soulful Summer 2023
a resounding success!

September 1st & 2nd, 2023

Over a full Friday and Saturday, I joined breathwork facilitator Nanneke van Drunen and yoga teacher Vivianne Viguurs to present Soulful Summer 2023 – a day to reconnect with nature, yourself and with others. In and around the exquisite grounds of a 14th Century (former) presbytery in Berlicum, Netherlands, we enjoyed beautiful end-of-summer weather, healthy food and snacks, and the entire process of slowing down and reconnecting. We will certainly be doing other versions of these days in the future, so if you’re interested in our Soulful Seasons offerings, feel free to let us know!

Some writing prompts…

Here are some writing suggestions to get your pen moving – usually we write for around 15 minutes per suggestion. Try this as well as the time pressure can be helpful.

• Use one of the following images / situations to commence a piece of writing:
– fresh snow on the steps of a wooden staircase
– a filthy sink, its plughole jammed with hairs
– lights pulsating and bodies sweating on a crowded dance floor

• Start with a mirror, and then get specific – is it giving a clear or somewhat obscured reflection? What is it showing? If it is a person, or people, what are they doing?

• Write a journal entry for an explorer, or a thief. What kinds of terrain are being explored? What kinds of things are being stolen?

Hands of male writer at his desk struggling to get started with writing and crumpled writing notes.

Books Away From Home – aid for Ukrainian refugees

Established in the last months of 2022, Books Away From Home is a Netherlands-based foundation, set up to support refugee children by supplying them with books in their native language.

The first project from this foundation is entitled Books for the Youngest Ukrainian Refugees, and Amsterdam Writers is already a strong supporter. Won’t you help out as well? As little as 5 euros ensures 5 brightly illustrated picture books will be printed and distributed to Ukrainian refugee children in need, in refugee centres, private homes and schools throughout the Benelux. Please consider making a donation today.

A book recommendation

When I read The Shallows by Nicholas Carr some years ago, I learned how much the internet has affected our abilities to read deeply, and to engage with complicated subjects and ideas. Now, with Stolen Focus, Johann Hari brings to this topic an even broader understanding of the huge forces at play in our lives today that are distracting us, making us less empathetic, and making us more prone to outbursts of anger and violence. The good news? Once we know the extent of the problems at hand, and what are driving them, it turns out solutions are within reach that can help us reconnect, engage with things that truly matter, and heal much that is broken in our societies and on our planet.

A book recommendation

In her masterful book Stoned – Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World, Aja Raden examines and deconstructs history and society through the lens of six incredible stories about jewelry. While The Truth About Lies isn’t exactly a sequel, it does expand upon some ideas Raden begins to work with in Stoned. But this time we’re being taken through a delightful taxonomy of lies and liars. Why do we believe the things we believe? Did you know that it’s built into our DNA to lie, deceive and manipulate, sometimes for our very survival? This book is a fascinating examination of not only how lies work, but why they work. Prepare to turn upside down the things you’ve held true about facts… and what you believed were fictions.