With Love - To All the Lonely Hearts

Nobody wants to be lonely right now. That’s why we brought  you a series of intimate and unique letters: With Love – For All the Lonely Hearts. With contributions by Beri Shalmashi, Alfian Sa’at, Rodaan Al Galidi, Karin Karakaşlı and Marjolijn van Heemstra. Designed by Anja Groten and illustrated by Nawel Louerrad.

How do we deal with the persisting crisis? What can long lasting solidarity look like? Where do we find connection and joy in these pandemic times? Five writers from the Netherlands, the United States and Turkey search for answers and wrote you a letter.

From January onwards, subscribers received one letter each week. 

  • “And so, every night, at 3am, I talk to you. The people I haven’t met but know deep down, somehow. I try to picture your houses and your rooms. We are a tribe; a commune that rewrites the concept of family. I seem to have confidants in every corner of the world. It is a fresh prospect that reminds us of patience, to hope for the future.”

    Letter 1: Karin Karakaşlı
  • “There is no better way to escape reality than reading, there is also no better way to connect with it.Some books aren’t written to touch our souls, but for the writer to tell us something he knows. Those books I throw away to the recycling bin, even after reading just one page. I only read books that empower me and make me stronger, that touch my soul. Regrettably, I sometimes feel we are living in the past. The past that destroys us.”

    Letter 2: Rodaan Al Galidi
  • “He parks the car next to the tall grass, at the edge of the silhouette of the mountains. There he stands, an iPhone with a broken screen in his left hand, a Nokia with broken dreams in his right. Silver dots float through the twinkling air while a languorous voice speaks through the old device. Her husband has suspicions, she says. They have to end this.”

    Letter 3: Beri Shalmashi
  • “The genome is the blueprint of a cell and ninety percent of our human cells are filled with genomes of bacteria, fungi and other single cell species. Countless small, internal companions keep us upright. Our inner world is a teeming ecosystem, existing in many forms and far from lonely.”

    Letter 4: Marjolijn van Heemstra
  • “Humidity. Mosquitoes. Tropical traumas. Each morning, as part of a world slowly mending, I would hear birds quarrelling outside my window. One morning, I decided that they were actually beckoning. And so, for the first time in 20 years, I bought a pair of jogging shoes. I slapped on sunblock and marched to a nature trail 40 minutes from my house.”

    Letter 5: Alfian Sa'at

The writers

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Marjolijn van Heemstra

Marjolijn van Heemstra (1981) is a poet, writer, theater director, journalist and podaster. Her novel En we noemen hem (In Search of A Name) (2017) was awarded the BNG Bank Literature Prize and has been translated into English. Since 2019, Marjolijn van Heemstra is outer space correspondent at De Correspondent. Currently, she is writing a non-fiction book about space and, as a theater maker, establishing Sterrenwacht Spreeuwenpark, an observatory where she delves into outer space with neighbors. Her poetry collection Reistijd, bedtijd, ijstijd (Travel Time, Bed Time, Ice Age) appeared at Das Mag in 2020.

IG: marjolijnvanheemstra

photo: Bowie Verschuuren

Rodaan Al Galidi

Rodaan Al Galidi (1971) is a poet and writer. Born in Iraq, trained as an architectural engineer, he has lived in the Netherlands since 1998. His book Holland was published in 2020 as the sequel of the bestseller Hoe ik talent voor het leven kreeg (Two Blankets, Three Sheets), which was recently translated into English. His poetry collections De herfst van Zorro (Zorro’s Autumn) (2007) and Koelkastlicht (Refrigerator Light) (2016) were nominated for the  VSB Poetry Prize. His novel De autist en de postduif (The Autist and the Carrier Pigeon) (2009) won the European Union Prize for Literature. Shortly thereafter, he failed his inburgeringsexamen (citizenship test).

IG: rodaanalgalidi

photo: Serge Ligtenberg

Alfian Sa’at

Alfian Sa’at (1977) is a poet, writer and playwright from Singapore. His published works include three collections of poetry, One Fierce Hour, A History of Amnesia and The Invisible Manuscript, a collection of short stories, Corridor, a collection of flash fiction, Malay Sketches, three collections of plays as well as the published play Cooling Off Day.

In 2001, Alfian won the Golden Point Award for Poetry as well as the National Arts Council Young Artist Award for Literature. He has also been nominated for the Singapore Literature Prize three times. Alfian has won Best Original Script at the Life! Theatre Awards four times, He is the playwright in residence at Wild Rice and the co-artistic director of the biennial Singapore Theatre Festival. He was one of our guests at Read My World 2015.

Karen Karakaşli

Karin Karakaşlı (1972) is a writer from Istanbul. She is a columnist at Agos and Radikal newspapers, writes fiction and poetry and teaches Armenian language and culture and translation studies. Her books include a children’s novel called Ay Denizle Buluşunca (When the Moon Meets the Sea), short story collections Başka Dillerin Şarkısı (Song of Other Languages), works of poetry, Her Kimsen SANA (Whoever you are this is FOR YOU). She is the co-writer of the research book Türkiye’de Ermeniler: Cemaat, Birey, Yurttaş (Armenians in Turkey: Community, Individual, Citizen).

IG: @KarinKarakasli

Beri Shalmashi

Beri Shalmashi (1983) is an author, screenwriter and film director. She studied film in Amsterdam and obtained her master’s degree in Utrecht and Los Angeles. Shalmashi teaches authenticity in film in the Resolution master’s programme at the Sandberg Institute. One of her many films is Mama, which was nominated for a Gouden Kalf award. Recently, she made the interactive documentary Big Village, about Iranian-Kurdish warriors, like her own parents, who tried to overthrow Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime from the mountains. Together with her sister, she wrote Taste of Home, a book with recipes and stories that was published at Rose Stories.



photo: Lisa Zilver

Nawel Louerrad

Nawel Louerrad was born in 1981 in Oran, Algeria. After training as an architect, she studied theatrical design in Nantes, then theatrical studies in Montpellier. She returned to Algeria and worked  in theatre and in newspaper graphics before beginning to work in comics.


Anja Groten

Anja Groten is a designer and researcher based in Amsterdam. Anja’s design practice revolves around the cross-section of digital and physical media, design and art education and her involvement in different interdisciplinary collectives. Anja works on (self-) commissions and besides heads the design department at the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam, Master of the Rietveld Academie.

In 2013 she co-founded the initiative Hackers & Designers, attempting to break down the barriers between the two fields by enforcing a common vocabulary through education, hacks and collaboration.

Order now!

Order With Love for yourself or as a gift. For €20  you’ll receive five letters in your letterbox (including shipping, shipment to countries outside the Netherlands costs €5,- more). From January onwards, you’ll receive one letter each week. 

Limited edition, so hurry up and order now. All letters are printed in both Dutch and English translations.

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