Berlin International Literature Festival

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Logo of the Berlin International Literature Festival

The Berlin International Literature Festival (also international literature festival berlin or short ilb) is an annual event based in Berlin. It was founded in 2001 by engineer and cultural manager Ulrich Schreiber, who has remained the festival's director until today.[1] The 15th festival was held 9–19 September 2015.

The festival[edit]

The festival's focus is on contemporary developments in prose and poetry from all around the world which are reflected in its subsections Literatures of the World, Reflections, Speak, Memory, Specials and International Children’s and Young Adult Literature. The section Specials itself is subdivided into the New German Voices, the Slam Revue as well as Scritture Giovani, an international competition for young authors

At all events of the international literature festival berlin, texts are presented by the authors in their mother tongue, followed by the reading of the German translation which is done by actors. With presenters and translators available, a discussion between presenter, author and even the audience is made possible.

The festival is an event of the "Internationale Peter-Weiss-Gesellschaft" and Berliner Festspiele under the patronage of the German U.N.E.S.C.O. committee. The Haus der Berliner Festspiele in Berlin-Wilmersdorf has been the festival center since 2005. Other events take place in different venues across Berlin.

List of previous participants[edit]

Selected authors' opinions and press reviews[edit]

"I do feel an extraordinary energy here for both – dialogue with the audience and communication between the authors." Nuruddin Farah, Somalia

"The festival provided an opportunity to test ideas and share experiences with writers and thinkers from all over the world. There was more brain power and creative energy in Berlin than perhaps anywhere else in the world during that week! I was glad to be a part of it." John Prendergast, USA

"Ten days, with more than 320 events in 60 locations across the city, from 9 o’clock in the morning to midnight, over 130 authors from across the world, well over 32 000 visitors, one third of them children and young people. A current advertising campaign may claim that stinginess is sexy. The Literature Festival seduces – without the slightest aristocratic attitude – through abundance." Der Tagesspiegel, 22 September 2003

"Truer and more beautiful and better than Frankfurt, because there aren’t any deals being done here; it is just literature. Pure." Die Zeit, 18 September 2003

"Bubbling unrest, richness and quality, these are the characteristics of the very young international literature festival, that took place for the 4th time in Berlin from the 21st September to 2nd October ... " Le Monde, 8 October 2004

Annual publications[edit]

  • The Berlin Anthology: All authors who participated in the program section 'Literatures of the World' come together and select 99 poems, that will be published in their original language and a German translation.
  • Catalogue: overview of all participating authors of the festival through the means of a short biography, bibliography, photos, and an author pen portrait.
  • Scritture Giovani: Each year, the ilb publishes five short stories which have been exclusively written for the ilb Scritture Giovani contest according to a specific theme in the languages of the five participating countries (UK, Italy, Norway, Germany and a guest country).


  1. ^ Jörg Lau: „Schreibers kühnste Pläne." In: Die Zeit, Nr. 40/2002.

External links[edit]