World Literature in Berlin
Over the next few days Berlin will once again be the focus of the international literary scene. This is where writers from every corner of the globe meet each year in September at the International Literature Festival Berlin (ilb). Arabian lyricists, American short story writers, Israeli poets, Russian novelists and German authors: the tenth edition of the ilb (September 15 - 25), which will be opened by the Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo, is making the great diversity of literature in the age of globalization into a vivid experience.
For eleven days the festival is uniting some 270 writers from 65 countries in the German capital. They include big names, such as Nuruddin Farah, one of Africa’s best-known authors from Somalia, the Canadian writer Yann Martel and the multi award winner from Germany, Sibylle Lewitscharoff. This year’s extensive programme, with a good 300 readings, discussions, film showings and other events at 40 venues in the city, is focusing on the special theme of Eastern Europe and Russia.
Enlarge image (© dpa-picture-alliance)
Artur Becker and Wladimir Kaminer, two writers with Polish and Russian roots respectively, are presenting their new books at the ilb. They both belong to a generation of young Eastern European writers who have something in common in the German literary scene: they write brilliantly in German, often making it into the bestseller lists, and they regularly win prestigious literary awards, as do Ilija Trojanow, Alina Bronsky or Saša Stanišic. But the most well-known writer among these authors with Eastern European roots is probably Terézia Mora. She was born in 1971 in Hungary, has won numerous awards and has been living and writing in Berlin since 1990. The arts critics praise Mora’s novels as “texts that are utterly confident in style and full of sparkling humour”. In 2010 she received the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize which is awarded each year to authors writing in German and whose mother tongue is a different language. By the way, her predecessor in 2009 happened to be Artur Becker.