Olga Ravn presents 'The Employees'

Thu 18.11.2021
20:00 - 21:30
Ravn Olga copy Lærke Posselt


book presentation, lecture


€8/6 (€10 supporting united stages)


the preferential rate offers a €2 discount for all who feel like they need it.

practical information

In order to attend the event, you will be required to have a Covid Safe Ticket. With this CST, social distancing and the wearing of a mask will no longer be mandatory (although the mask is still strongly recommended).


in English


Ever since the Danish writer Olga Ravn appeared on the shortlist of the International Booker Prize with her novel The Employees, all eyes have been on her, or many at least. Author and reviewer Persis Bekkering will talk to her about this unusual science-fiction novel and about her work as head of the feminist writing school Hekseskolen.

Unfortunately our event with Olga Ravn is cancelled. Her visit to Passa Porta was part of a small book tour through Belgium and The Netherlands. The new covid restrictions in The Netherlands make this tour impossible.We do hope to welcome Olga Ravn on our stage somewhere in the future. For now, tickets will be reimbursed.

Olga Ravn has long enjoyed considerable prestige in Denmark, where she is active as a writer, critic and head of the feminist performance group and writing school ‘Hekseskolen’ (Witch School). The world outside Denmark is getting to know her work now that her third novel, The Employees, has been shortlisted for the International Booker Prize. Together with the publishing house Das Mag, we are pleased to present this much-talked-about novel to you.

the employees

Many light years away from Earth, a spaceship circles a planet. On board this ‘Six Thousand Ship’ are humans and humanoids, mortals and immortals. When they bring some strange objects on board from the planet, they notice to their surprise that they become attached to the objects. Humans and humanoids develop similar desires. For intimacy, warmth, absent loved ones, shopping, children. They long for Earth, which exists only as a vague memory.

hard vs soft

In The Employees we read the result of a major survey among the crew, an investigation into the labour process. In their testimonies, we read about everyday problems during cleaning, but also about their dreams and doubts, about each other (‘How would you manage without work and without colleagues?’) and about themselves (‘When I started crying, you said: “You can’t cry, you’re not programmed for that.”’). The Employees is a study of what it means to be a human being, and at the same time it is an unequivocal denunciation of a society at the mercy of the logic of productivity. It is, says Ravn, ‘a novel about trying to stay hard, but gradually being exposed to yourself as the softest material’.

‘Everything I’m looking for in a novel. I was obsessed from the first page to the last. A strange, beautiful, deeply intelligent and provocative investigation into humanity. The Employees is an alarmingly brilliant work of art.'
Max Porter

Olga Ravn (b. 1986) is one of Denmark’s most celebrated contemporary writers. She has written three novels and three books of poetry and she is also a critic. Ravn compiled an anthology of forgotten work by Tove Ditlevsen and was one of the most vocal advocates for the revaluation of her work in Denmark. Together with Johanne Lykke Holm, Ravn runs the feminist performance group and writing school Hekseskolen. The Employees, her first work to be translated into Dutch, will be published by Das Mag.

Persis Bekkering (b. 1987) is a Dutch writer and reviewer. She reviews for NRC Handelsblad and writes columns, prose and essays for De Gids, Mister Motley and Nederlandse Boekengids, among others. In 2018 she made her debut with the novel Een heldenleven, which was followed in 2021 by the novel Exces, an ode to rave culture.

Organization: Passa Porta, Das Mag

picture © laerke posselt