While the number of people reading books continues to decline, the interest in literary events has seen steady growth. What does it mean for literature, authors and literary event organisers when shared literary experiences and writers’ personalities increasingly become the focus of attention? The network of literature houses in Germany, Austria and Switzerland have jointly developed the project “The Language Trade” in cooperation with other literature organisers such as the Slovene publishing agency JAK, the Bulgarian Nest Foundation, the Writers’ House of Georgia and the London-based organisation Free Word. As part of a kick-off meeting in Ljubljana, an essay collection and a festival in Berlin, the organisers wish to shed light on the subject of “Literature in Public Space” from a European perspective. The project focuses on how the relationship of the author and the public sphere has changed and to what degree literary presentation is influenced by performative aspects. During the festival, the international team of curators intend to examine their own institutions and formats of literary presentation: What might literary presentation look like in the future? How can literary organisations get more involved in urban society and reach a new, younger audience?
The recent tension between supporters of internationalisation and those who advocate nationalisation is another important focus of the project. While some authors are now writing in English in order to reach a global audience, others have consciously embraced their native languages. How are literary event organisers dealing with these so-called minor and major languages? The participants at the kick-off meeting in Ljubljana will discuss what it means for minor-language writers and organisers to compete with the major languages. The highlight of the festival in Berlin will be an event presenting a broad and diverse array of formats by European literary organisers.
Artistic directors: Claudia Dathe, Tomas Friedmann, Florian Höllerer, Ursula Steffens, Renata Zamida
Authors and guest speakers: Priya Basil, Thomas Böhm, Zaza Burchuladze, Sharon Dodua Otoo, Heike Fiedler, Dagmara Kraus, Amalija Maček, Terézia Mora, Tina Popović, Schamma Schahadat, Aleš Šteger, Marlene Streeruwitz and others
3 June, 2020 to 5 June, 2020: Symposium → Postponed until autumn 2021
Different Venues, Berlin
11 November, 2019 to 12 November, 2019: Festival and Opening
Buchagentur JAK and other venues, Ljubljana
Netzwerk der Literaturhäuser c/o Literaturhaus Hamburg