The 17th International literature festival Berlin

The festival will be opened this year with a lecture by Elif Şafak (Turkey/ GB) on 6th September 2017 at 6 pm, in the Haus der Berliner Festspiele. Following this, Robert Menasse (A) will present his new novel “Die Hauptstadt”. The next day, the Booker-Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy (India) will present her eagerly anticipated new novel “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness”. At the end of the festival, Yasmina Reza(F) will present her latest book “Babylon”.

Over the eleven days, more than 200 authors will present their works and discuss important topics of our time. Guests will include, among others, Eliot Weinberger(USA) with his volume of essays “The Ghosts of Birds”, Indian authors Perumal Murugan, Amit Chaudhuri and Namita Gokhale, Bachtyar Ali (Iraq/ Germany) with his new novel “The City of White Musicians”, Nadeem Aslam (Pakistan/ GB) with his novel “The Golden Legend”, Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan) with “Exit West”, Christophe Boltanski (F), Frank Witzel (Germany) with “Direkt danach und kurz davor”, Australian authors Brian Castro, Charlotte Wood and Omar Musa, Guatemalan author Arnoldo Gálvez Suárez, Stefan Hertmans (Belgium)with his new book “Die Fremde”, British journalist and novelist Hari Kunzru, winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction Mohammed Hasan Alwan (Saudi Arabia/ Canada), Nicol Ljubić (Germany), Arturo Fontaine (Chile), Hans Christoph Buch (Germany) and Donna Leon (USA/ I).

For the launch of her book “Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults” we welcome Laurie Penny (GB). The Argentinian writer Pola Oloixarac will present her book “Kryptozän” (‘Las constelaciones oscuras’). Petina Gappah from Zimbabwe will give us an insight into her new book, “Rotten Row”, which will be published in October. Lize Spit (NL) will present “The Melting”. Yaa Gyasi (Ghana/ USA) will celebrate her first German book launch with “Homegoing”. In addition, we will be welcoming internationally acclaimed authors Amanda Lee Koe (Singapore/ USA), Marie N’Diaye (F/ Germany), Madeleine Thien (Germany/ Canada), Shumona Sinha (India/ F),Ottessa Moshfegh (USA), Edna O’Brien (Ireland) and Xiaolu Guo (China/ GB). Following last year, Eva Mattes will read from the third part of the Neapolitan series by Elena Ferrante (I), “Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay”.

This year 32 authors, illustrators and scientists will present 34 books as part of the “International Children’s and Young Adult Literature” section of the ilb, 27 of which will be premieres. On September 6th, Meg Rosoff (USA/ Great Britain) will open the section with a lecture based around her novel ‘There Is No Dog’. At the heart of the section lie the thirteen writers and illustrators Alina Bronsky (Russia/ Germany), Christian Duda (Austria/ Germany), Rambharos Jha (India), Sebastian Meschenmoser (Germany), Levi Pinfold (Great Britain/ Australia) Christian Robinson (USA), Jenny Robson (South Africa / Botswana), Meg Rosoff (USA/ Great Britain), Catarina Sobral (Portugal), Angie Thomas (USA), Øyvind Torseter(Norway), Jon Walter (Great Britain) and Anna Woltz (Netherlands), who will present their new books personally at the festival. Alongside lectures, there will also be workshops, discussion groups, exhibitions and various specials, in which other writers will participate.

As in previous years, the ilb will cooperate with the Science Year 2016/17, which this year centres around the motto Seas and Oceans: in this project, marine researchers examine the habitat of the sea, its uses and threats to its existence. Under the motto ‘Reading the Currents. Shifting Seas’, eleven authors in conversation with scientists will write and present texts exclusively for the ilb which tackle issues surrounding oceans and their state of change. These authors include Lucien Deprijck (Germany), JoeAnn Hart (USA), Cormac James (Irlenad/ F), Merle Kröger (Germany), Lydia Millet (USA), Monique Roffey (Trinidad/ GB), Will Self (GB) and Yoko Tawada (Japan/ Germany). Free Admission!

For the first time in the history of the international literature festival berlin, an author will perform on all eleven days: Raoul Schrott (A) will present his work “The First Earth”, talking to scientists about the genesis of the universe, the earth, the seas and mankind. Free Admission!

In the section ‘Science and the Humanities’, in which the focus lies upon the presentation of scientific thought, disputes and results of scientific research, Ulrich Dirnagl and Jochen Müller will present their book “Ich glaub, mich trifft der Schlag”. As well as this, we will welcome the neurobiologist Dietmar Schmitz, plus John-Dylan Haynes, Antje Meyer, Jacqueline E. Ross among others.

Following our 2015 focus-day ‘The Art of Translation’ and the 2016 ‘The Art of Proofreading’, this year Stefan Zweifel, Andreas Platthaus, among others, will speak on The Art of Literary Criticism.

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of ‘Banipal’, the Magazine of Modern Arabic Literature, we will welcome Algerian author Amin Zaoui, writer Mariam al-Saadi, born in the United Arab Emirates, the Egyptian author and journalist Emad Fouad, the Syrian Poet Nouri al-Jarrah and Veronika Dintinjana from Slovenia.

In the Special Series New German Voices, the ilb will present a new generation of young, talented German writers. This year, among others, Fatma Aydemir will present her hotly-debated novel “Ellbogen”.

We are particularly delighted to inform you of the book launch of our project Refugees Worldwide with Khaled Khalifa and Nora Bossong. In summer 2016, the “Refugees Worldwide” project was launched as part of the international literature festival berlin, aiming, through literary reportage, to convey experiences, impressions and information about the situation facing refugees in a European and global context. 14 authors have written texts on the topic, each focusing on one particular country. The anthology of reportage will be published in German by Wagenbach Verlag and in English by Ragpicker Press.

In the series “Memory, speak”, the translator Gabriele Leupold and Jürgen Dormagen will present “Die Baugrube” by Andrej Platonow. René Böll and Tanja Dückers will come together in discussion to remember the 1972 Nobel Prize Laureate Heinrich Böll. There will be an event on W. G. Sebald with Uwe Schütte and Markus Joch; Stefan Zweifel and Andreas Isenschmid will turn their attention to Marcel Proust.

On this year’s Graphic Novel Day, Amruta Patil (India) and Javier de Isusi (Spain) will contribute. The day will open with Ulli Lust’s (Germany) presentation of her graphic novel “Wie ich versuchte, ein guter Mensch zu sein”. Reinhard Kleist will present his new comic “Nick Cave: Mercy on Me”, at an event on 7th September.

Due to current political developments and upheavals, the Peter-Weiss-Foundation is organising September 8-10 an ‘International Congress for Democracy and Freedom’. Inspired by the First International Congress of Writers for the Defence of Culture, held in Paris in 1935, and the Russell Tribunal of 1966, the aim of the congress is to discuss the causes of the various political mistakes of recent decades and to compile ideas for the future. From 8th – 11th September 2017, authors, journalists and scientists will reflect upon the challenges and opportunities for democracy and freedom. Speakers will include, among others, Can Dündar, Andre Wilkens, Daphne Büllesbach, Ulrike Guerot, Laurie Penny, Catherine Banner, Paul Mason, Arjun Appadurai, Geert Mak and Priya Basil, who works with us about the concept of the congress.

During the 17th ilb, reading groups will take place devoted to discussing texts by Peter Weiss, Karl Popper, W.G. Seebald, amongst others. The first meeting will take place on 10.09 in the Haus der Berliner Festspiele.

There will be an event on 6th September as part of the Worldwide Reading of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On the 11th September, the Congress will conclude with the series of events for children and young adults entitled ‘Rethink Democracy’. In five individual events, authors will discuss with school students – as well as over the course of the preceding Congress-Weekend – questions on the status quo of democracy, the meaning of social media for democratic processes, equal opportunities as well as perspectives and alternatives to the democratic model.

Bookable too: Salman Rushdie on November 30th with his new novel “Golden House” – in the Großer Sendesaal des rbb.

We would also like to draw your attention to a reading in memory of Peter Weisswith Natalia Wörner as part of the festival LIT:potsdam on 9th July 2017 at 5 pm at the Museum Fluxus. Free entrance!