Have you been dreaming of writing a crime novel or trying yourself at scriptwriting? Ever wondered what “Russian soul” might mean? Or have been interested in the future of Arabic literature in Europe?
Photo by: Publikum Dacia Maraini, Ali Ghandtschi, 2013
All these and many other topics are on the fully packed program of this year’s International Literature Festival (ilb). Among lovers of contemporary prose, poetry, non-fiction, graphic novels as well as children's and young adult literature, International Literature Festival, which takes place in Berlin each year since 2001, is known as one of the most important literary events in the world. The festival welcomes all types of authors and media from the worldwide literary scene, hosting a number of readings, workshops, discussion panels over 11 days in various venues (such as, silent green Kulturquartier, Admiralspalast, Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek, Babylin and Institut français among others) across the city. The ilb’s guest speakers list has always been spectacular and in the past included world-famous authors (including Nobel Prize winners), like Salman Rushdie, Svetlana Alexievich, Isabel Allende, David Grossman, Daniel Kehlmann, Elif Shafak and many others. This year, a French-Moroccan author Leïla Slimani, a winner of the prestigious Goncourt prize, will give an opening speech entitled “Call for Crime" and will also read from her novel "In the Country of Others" in a following event.
Photo by: Buhne Publikum, Hartwig Klappert, 2013
Photo by: Grosse Buhne, Ali Ghandtschi, 2013
There’s a room and a topic for every bookworm at the festival. It is divided into sections, so anyone can find something they like. For example, The Literature of the World opens up doors for the stars of tomorrow. Participating authors get to read their texts in their original language with actors reciting it in German, following with a moderated discussion and concluding with a book signing, the first ever for most writers. Memory, Speak section includes readings and lectures of the forgotten or forbidden authors from the past, while the International Children's and Young Adult Literature section connects the next generation, both in the classroom and outside of the school, and is a series of events for teachers and students. Worth noting that this particular section was expanded this year, emphasizing the importance of children having a contact with the books, promoting reading skills and the very adventure that comes from reading.
Literature has always been a source of empowerment. This year, the festival examines themes of bioeconomy, decolonization, identity politics, misogyny, and threats to social life. The program includes many female authors, among which is the aforementioned opening speaker Leïla Slimani as well as the Pulitzer Prize winners Louise Erdrich and Natalie Diaz. Also on the program is commemorating those who passed away: a Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison will be celebrated, together with Susan Taubes, Adam Zagajewski and Thomas Brasch. Not to miss are program’s special events, including poet’s connection, the art of editing, new German voices, nature writing, graphic novel day, and many more, as well as the events with a geographic focus on various continents.
No doubt, the festival offers the general public and professionals alike an extraordinary opportunity to gain a curated insight into the fascinating world of literature. We encourage you to review the festival’s program and promise that you won’t be disappointed by the diversity of angles it presents for everyone.