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versfest berlin

















 The versfest berlin (20.-22. March 2017) is an event of the Peter-Weiss-Stiftung für Kunst und Politik in cooperation with Literaturforum im Brecht Haus and the Collegium Hungaricum. It is sponsored by Hauptstadtkulturfonds and it takes place under the aegis of Jan Wagner.

25 events/ 8 book premieres / readings and workshops / opening speech / poetry manifesto / poems about the topic »Imagine« / exhibition / Masterclass Poetry / video project »Poetry Voices«

Free admission / publishing of the program and presale start: January 16, 2017 / publishing of the program booklet: February 1, 2017 / Tickets via kjl@literaturfestival.com or 0049-(0)30-278786-66/-70







Carnegie Medal winner Sarah Crossan (Website/Facebook/Twitter/Wikipedia) from Ireland/United Kingdom presents:

»One« / »Eins« (reading extract/reading extract german/Wikipedia)


Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom Carol Ann Duffy (Wikipedia) from United Kingdom presents:

»The Princess' Blankets« (Wikipedia)


German Children’s Literature Award winner Uwe-Michael Gutzschhahn (Website/Wikipedia) from Germany presents:

»Unsinn Lässt Grüßen« (reading extract German) and »Ununterbrochen schwimmt im Meer der Hinundhering hin und her« (reading extract German)


NSW Premier´s Literary Award winner Steven Herrick (Website/Twitter/Wikipedia) from Australia presents:

»The Simple Gift« (reading extract/reading extract German/Wikipedia)


Swiss Youth Literature Prize winner Franz Hohler (Website/Wikipedia) from Switzerland presents:

»Es war einmal ein Igel« (reading extract German/Wikipedia)


Yu Long Poetry Prize winner Lan Lan  (Website/Wikipedia) from China presents:

»Shiren yu xiao shu«

German Children’s Literature Award nominee Synne Lea (Wikipedia) from Norway presents:

»Nattevakt« (Wikipedia)


Premio Andersen winner Anushka Ravishankar (Twitter/Wikipedia) from India presents:

»Excuses, Excuses« (reading extract)


German Children’s Literature Award winner Edward van de Vendel (Website/Twitter/Wikipedia) from The Netherlands presents:

»Ik juich voor jou« (reading extract Dutch)


National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson (Website/Facebook/Twitter/Wikipedia) from The USA presents:

»Brown Girl Dreaming« (reading extract/Wikipedia)


Special Guest

John Sampson (Website) from United Kingdom


James Krüss  (Website / Wikipedia) from Germany




Every guest of the versfest berlin recommends one special poetic work for young readers.


»Alfabet« (1981) / »Alfabet / Alphabet« (2001) by Inger Christensen

Recommended by Synne LEA: »Still is the first poetry book I turn to every time I am in need of comfort and courage.«


»Come On Everybody« (2012) by Adrian Mitchell

Recommended by Steven HERRICK: » When I first read Adrian Mitchell's words, 'Most people ignore most poetry, because most poetry ignores most people', I knew I'd found a creed for poetry.«


 »Dag Rots« (2001) by Kees Spiering

Recommended by Edward van de VENDEL: »A heartfelt rendition of poetry about a broken love. There is hurt in every line, as much as beauty. It's as raw as it is precise - an little known gem in Dutch poetry.«


»Das große Wilhelm Busch Album« (1959) by Wilhelm Busch

Recommended by Franz HOHLER: »Die Verse und Zeichnungen darin waren für mich als Kind die erste Begegnung mit Satire.«


»Fluit zoals je bent« (2009) / »Hier wohnt mein Glück« (2012) by Edward van de Vendel & Natalie Tornai

Recommended by Uwe-Michael GUTZSCHHAHN: » Ein Buch, von dem ich nur die Bilder lesen konnte, die Gedichte waren in einer anderen Sprache geschrieben und wir mussten sie neu aus den Bildern heraus dichten und die Seiten füllen – ein idealer poetischer Prozess.«


 »Hu Sheng Hua Ji« (1999) by Hong Yi

 Recommended by Lan LAN: »A wonderful book encouraging respect and benevolence toward all life.«


»Out Of The Dust« (1997) by Karen Hesse

Recommended by Sarah CROSSAN: » A pitch perfect verse novel about growing up in desperate times.«


»Poetry in the Making« (1967) by Ted Hughes

Recommended by Carol Ann DUFFY: » A book that looks as closely at poetry as a botanist looks at a flower.«


»The Crossover« (2014) by Kwame Alexander

Recommended by Jaqueline WOODSON: »This novel in verse is at once intriguing, thoughtful and surprising. Loved it.«


»The Right Kind Of Dog« (2013) by Adil Jussawalla

 Recommended by Anushka RAVISHANKAR: »An intellectual and aesthetic delight, because it deals with issues of growing up, like identity and the desire to fit in, with depth and sensitivity and in utterly beautiful verse.«




Ulrich Schreiber (executive director at the versfest berlin):

»We are really grateful for the funding that the versfest is receiving from the Hauptstadtkulturfonds. Poets, who are writing for young readers, have always been guests at our literature festivals in Berlin and Odessa – but we could only depict the spectrum of poetic work to some extent.«

Christoph Rieger (program manager at the versfest berlin):

»Worldwide, there is no event which adequately reflects the diversity and quality of international poetry for young readers and which presents an attractive stage for it. Many excellent poets who write for young readers are almost unknown and their poetic work scrape an economicly and literarily underrepresented, shadowy existence. With the versfest berlin we are trying to call attention to this blind spot of representation of poetry for young readers.«





The versfest berlin is funded by the Hauptstadtkulturfond.