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On 8 September, French-Moroccan author Leïla Slimaniwill give the opening speech entitled “Call for Crime” at the festival center silent green Kulturquartier. She will read from her novel “The Land of Others” in a subsequent event. The opening speech of the International Children’s and Young Adult Literature section will be given by the Norwegian author Marianne Kaurin.

Among the guests for the Literatures of the Worldsection, who have new novels, short stories and poems in their luggage, we are pleased to welcome Naja Marie Aidt [DK], Ana Luísa Amaral [P], John Banville [IRL], Jalal Barjas [Jordan], Javier Cercas [E], Louise Erdrich[USA], Jenny Erpenbeck [D], Roxane Gay [USA],Arnon Grünberg [NL/ USA], Aleksandar Hemon[Bosnia and Herzegovina/ USA], Judith Hermann [D], Hiromi Itō [Japan/ USA], Viktor Jerofejew [Russia], Tayari Jones [USA], Lídia Jorge [P], Christian Kracht[CH], Etgar Keret [Israel], Hervé Le Tellier [F], Ijoma Mangold [D], Eva Menasse [A/ D], Ottessa Moshfegh[USA], Adolf Muschg [CH], Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor[Kenya], Ruth Padel [GB], Olga Ravn [DK], Moritz Rinke [D], Helga Schubert [D], Sandro Veronesi [I], Willy Vlautin [USA] and C Pam Zhang [China/ USA]. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the translators who make it possible for us to read internationally.

In addition to the programs Literatures of the World andInternational Children’s and Young Adult Literature, the series Speak, Memory, i.e. with events on works by Toni Morrison, Adam Zagajewski, Thomas Brasch, Susan Taubes and – with Péter Nádas [Hungary] – Miklós Mészöly, will be strongly accentuated this year.

In the Reflections section, the ilb continues its events on decolonization with Nana Oforiatta Ayim [D/Ghana], Götz Aly [D] and Bénédicte Savoy [F/ D]; identity politics and wokeness are illuminated by John McWhorter from New York and Olivier Guez [F]; Niall Ferguson [GB/ USA] will present his new book on the politics of catastrophe, and several publishers will discuss the basic service and program mandate of public broadcasting with the director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Juergen Boos. There will also be discussions on the current crises in Myanmar, Belarus and Hong Kong, on the possibilities of a democratic transformation of China, and on the future of European foreign policy in view of the challenges of the 21st century.

A special on the topic of “Words of Love and Hate: Misogyny vs. Female Empowerment” will again bring together strong, literary voices in a mixture of panels and readings, including Priya Basil [Kenya/ GB/ D], Jagoda Marinić [D/ Croatia] and Maaza Mengiste [Ethiopia/ USA], Louise O’Neill [IRL], Sabine Lemire [DK] and Rasmus Bregnhøi [DK]. The topic of “femicide” is impressively addressed in the novels of Patrícia Melo[Brazil/ CH], Fernanda Melchor [Mexico] and Evie Wyld[GB]; the economist Linda Scott [USA] looks at women as an economic factor.

The event series “Echo. Echo. Indigenous Voices” – developed in cooperation with the Cluster of Excellence in Literary Studies “Temporal Communities – Doing Literature in a Global Perspective” – deals with questions of knowledge production, marginalization and narrative traditions in the context of indigenous literatures. Virtual guests include award-winning authors Louise Erdrich [USA, Ojibwe], Natalie Diaz [USA, Mojave] and Billy-Ray Belcourt [Canada, Driftpile Cree]. The children’s and young adult program will include a reading with Jainal Amambing [Malaysia, Rungus].

On 11 and 12 September, the festival will host the 11th Graphic Novel Day, featuring Steven Appleby [UK] and Davide Reviati [I], among others. From queer superheroes in contemporary London to youthful, intercultural encounters in the Italian province of the 1960s, their works convey new perspectives on highly topical political issues.

In cooperation with the Science Year 2020/21 – Bioeconomy, last year’s series on “Visions of Bioeconomy” will be continued with a focus on Brazil and a final round with energy economist Claudia Kemfert[D], writer Urs Mannhart [CH] and cultural scientist Eva Horn [D]. Other international authors will discuss literary questions about the climate crisis and bioeconomy as a possible way out, present their visions in exclusively written contributions, and shed light on them in discussions with experts such as Hiroko Oyamada[Japan], Charles Trocate [Brazil, via live stream] and Bibi Dumon Tak [NL].

Since 2012, the opening of the international literature festival berlin has been preceded by the city-wide reading performance berlin liest.

The ilb is calling for a Worldwide Reading for the Dead of the COVID-19 Pandemic, which will take place on 5 September. The call and more information can be found here. In addition, the international literature festival berlin is calling for a Worldwide Film Screening of “The Dissident” by Bryan Fogel, which follows the assassination order and murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul’s Saudi Arabian Embassy on 2 October 2018. The film will be presented on 10 December 2021, the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the United Nations in Paris in 1948.

Many of the festival’s events will be streamed live on the ilb website, and some will be pre-recorded and broadcast when the festival begins – including interviews with Georg Stefan Troller [A/ F], Hiroko Oyamada [Japan], Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt [D/ F] and Peter Stephan Jungk [A/ USA/ F].

The program calendar, including the digital events ilbDIGITAL, is available here on our website, and hereyou can download a PDF version of the program booklet, including a program journal produced for the first time in which guests of the festival reflect on the pandemic in words and pictures, John McWhorter’sessay from The Atlantic and Sigrid Weigel’sreflections on archives and legacies are reprinted. You can also find the long interview with McWhorter from “The Fire in German translation and the English translation of Weigel’s essay here.

All information on events, venues and hygiene measures in force throughout the festival period can be found on our website.

Advance ticket sales started today – go to the ticket shop here:

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