Authors voices 2001-2010
Authors' Reaction 2010:
“The festival was superbly organized and I would like to use this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the nice people who contributed towards the great success of the festival.”
Banaš, Jozef (Slovakia 2010)
“It is rare for me to feel so at ease while attending a festival. Especially the fantastic encounters with authors from all over the world will remain unforgettable. Exciting events and a highly-committed festival team have turned my stay into a brilliant experience. One could only wish for one more thing: To partake in this festival again some time.”
Elsässer, Tobias (Germany 2010)
“Thank you very much for the invitation and your helpfulness throughout the festival. It was a great honour to participate. Best wishes from Bratislava.”
Hvorecký, Michal (Slovakia 2010)
“The collegium hungaricum, which I knew nothing about so far, was an ideal festival site, very, very nice. Should I ever finish my new prose book, I would love to return to the collegium hungaricum for a reading première at the ilb. That would be fantastic.”
Loher, Dea (Germany 2010)
“I really enjoyed the ilb and departed happily and content. The festival was suberbly organized, the moderation of my reading by Arno Widmann was magnificent. For me, my favourite treat of the festival was the shuttle service, which worked flawlessly and was really reliable.”
Mohafez, Sudabeh (Iran/Germany 2010)
“It was a great pleasure, my daughter and I really enjoyed the festival. I also had the special joy of discovering my Berlin contribution on the cover of the festival catalogue, after I had spent hours leafing through it. It was a pleasant surprise.”
Schmidt, Jochen (Germany 2010)
“I also enjoyed participating in the 10th ilb. Impressive was not only the great variety of authors, but also the elegant cogency of the programme, the high quality of events and the flawless organisation.”
Schor-Tschudnowskaja, Anna (Russia 2010)
“I have meant to get in touch for a while now, am still on the road since Berlin, and thank you for your great work. I felt very much at ease … and hope to return to the ilb soon.”
Stavarič, Michael (Czech Republic/Austria 2010)
Authors' Reactions 2009:
I especially liked the Berlin anthologies which I immediately took on a trip with me. It's a very nice idea to read an author from the edges at which his writing merges with the writings of another and gives rise to something new. And it gave me the unique opportunity to see the fixed stars of my poetic universe united with one another. It's a little like being able to wish for a little house in a landscape in which everything which is irreconcilable becomes reconciled: the forest and the desert, the ocean and the emptiness.
Daniela Danz (Germany)
The literature festival was a kind of never-ending party. A party of words, discoveries and translations. I found it was really inspiring the way in which the whole project was conceived, from the warm people who contact the authors to the excellent literary content. I was amazed by the success of every event I attended or took part in, always attended by a respectful and attentive audience. I would like to highlight the excellent job that the hosts and translators did, allowing the foreign authors (is there anybody foreign? Aren't we all "Ausländer"?) to feel at home. My only complaint is: how can you be so punctual? No need to add that Berlin is, nowadays, probably the most interesting European city for culture. So: thank you so much, Literature festival people! You are a world in itself.
Andrés Neuman (Argentina)
What more could you expect from a literature festival?
Honestly, the International Festival in Berlin came close to a heaven for writers. Many thanks again!
Wally de Doncker (Belgium)
It was my pleasure to have attended your wonderful festival in Berlin 2009. It was a very good chance for me to meet my wonderful friends: writers, translators, publishers, journalists, readers. The catalogue of the festival is an important document that will be precious even after the festival is over.
Taleb Al-Refai (Kuwait)
Authors' Reactions 2008:
Once in a while an opportunity such as this comes along for a writer. The doors it opens are felt both immediately and in the future. Berlin for me was one such opportunity. I had two great readings. I met a wonderful readership. I interacted with a lot of fantastic people in the industry. I had the rare opportunity of witnessing first hand your Director in a pair of green trousers (please edit that) and finally, I am sure I set a record... I broke my tooth during the festival. Absolutely unique. Thanks for inviting me and making me a part of the 2008 festival.
Amma Darko (Ghana)
Never, really never, have I had a better, more fulfilling experience at a similar large festival, as I did at the International Literature Festival in Berlin. To describe Miriam Möllers’ organisation as simply perfect would not be enough. Every small detail was taken seriously, and I really had the feeling that I was making friends whose only desire was to wholeheartedly support me. In addition to the actual purpose for my attendance, I was also treated to a wonderful time in Berlin. I have previously attended other such exhibitions catering to younger audiences, and was impressed, as well as the other authors, at how well the young guests at this festival were engaged and interested. This can only be accomplished when contact between the festival management and local schools is a priority. It would greatly calm my fears concerning youth literacy when this example would be followed by all.
Wolf Erlbruch (Germany)
I had a great stay in Berlin. I met with friends who live there, had some great food, some nice whisky in the tent, met the nice people from the festival, nice journalists and photographers, had some nice walks around town, and a reading that went well, everything was fine. So thanks to the festival for inviting me.
Jon Fosse (Norway)
Ilb is one of the few literary festivals which gather real literary lions in a human-size ambient. Under the tent in the cosy back yard of the Berliner Festspiele, you can meet face to face and talk naturally to authors that were only books to you. And the discovery for me this year were the new poets from Africa.
Georgi Gospodinov (Bulgaria)
Thank you for a wonderful experience at the ilb last weekend. Your hospitality and generosity are unequalled! I’ve been to many festivals in the past few years – this was the best, by far. Thank you again.
Leonie Joubert (South Africa)
For further authors' reactions 2008 click here.
Authors' Reactions 2007:
Berlin Literature Festival has a special place among all the literary festivals around the world. Here is a festival wherein literature is not confined to segregated spaces. In Berlin literature belongs to everyone, not only the elite. It breathes with and within the whole city. For an author it is a unique intellectual and spiritual stimulation to be part of this great festival.
Elif Shafak (Turkey)
I have read at literary festivals on three continents and some large islands and I can say that the berlin literaturfestival is certainly the best organized and most hospitable. It is also in one of my two or three favourite cities. Furthermore, the German breakfast is a masterwork of civilization. (Have I said enough to be invited back?)
Robert Gray (Australia)
I was struck by the tone of the literature festival berlin: it was that of reflections and meditative comments rather than declarations. And this made that festival a wonderful learning occasion: people had no certainties to sell, only doubts to probe and questions to ask. The fact that your invitees came from the four corners of the planet made it like a microcosm of what a multi-cultural future will be: an opportunity to listen to others. An opportunity to empower yourself by sharing doubts instead of clubbing others by market-oriented truths. I thank you a lot for giving that opportunity to meet, among other things, Indian friends I have not seen since the 1980s.
Fatema Mernissi (Morocco)
In fact, I am grateful for the time you have given to me during those incredibly busy days, the biggest literary festival I have ever attended. And honestly, the best. (I am not the kind of writer who uses such adjectives easily, especially to people of power, in fear of being misunderstood as being 'diplomatic'.) The writers were very well chosen, representing a wide variety of languages, cultures, backgrounds and I felt that it is one of the rare meetings that ideas and words can overcome the established status quos in our world, even in our literary world, ie the hierarchy of languages and cultures, fame etc. The moderators were very well researched and quite 'tough', and in the case of my readings, both the actress and the translator were simlpy incredible.
Asli Erdogan (Turkey)
It was a pleasure to attend the Festival, not only because I had an opportunity to speak to a full house of enthusiastic readers, but also because it was flawlessly organized. The staff was wonderful!
Isabel Allende (USA)
For further authors' reactions 2007 click here.
Authors' Reactions 2006:
I can't tell you how warmed and delighted I was by being able to attend your Festival (and to see Berlin for the first time) this year. At every stage, your level of efficiency, of kindness, of hospitality and of generosity really touched me, and I felt indulged and warmly made welcome every step of the way. I think what impressed me most about the Festival, compared with others that I have attended, was, first, the friendliness, and the relaxed, youthful, almost idealistic nature of it, which took me back to my student days and gave everything an unstuffy, loose, accommodating air that I am not used to--from your garden to your impromptu dinners to the events themselves; and, secondly, the range and quality of the authors you assembled.
Pico Iyer (GB/Japan)
Literary festivals are in general extremely important when it comes to the sharing of knowledge, not only for the public but especially for the authors. They become much better when they manage to gather an efficient team in its organization, a wise and interested audience, a wide range of subjects and - perhaps the most important of all - people with whom one really wants do be friends with. It was most fortunate for me that in the Internationales Literaturfestival Berlin I could find all of them together and what is more: perfectly settled in this beautiful city. Literary festivals are in general extremely important and was it not for them and for the generosity of our guests, most of us - brazilian writers, who are somehow so far away from Europe - would hardly ever have the opportunity of going through such enlarging experiences as those I had at the Internationales Literaturfestival Berlin.
Luiz Ruffato (Brazil)
I thoroughly enjoyed the festival programs and meeting the other writers. I would also like to express my deep appreciation to your staff for supporting this world-unique event with the friendliest attitude I ever experienced. Everyone I met there also made me so happy and created beautiful memories of my first visit to Berlin. In the near future, I will introduce my experience in the festival program in a short essay I am writing for a Japanese newspaper.
Hiroshi Sakagami (Japan)
I had a wonderful time at the Berlin Literaturfestival; it was pleasant to be fussed over, and to have so many interesting events to go to, but best of all was the liveliness and intensity and enthusiasm of the audiences. The festival is now so much a part of one's image of Berlin that it is hard to believe that just a few years ago it did not exist.
Vikram Seth (India/GB)
For further authors' reactions 2006 click here.
Authors' Reactions 2005:
The festival is the work of the daring Ulrich Schreiber, who has moved heaven and earth in order to raise the means for his ambitious project. Two anthologies of texts which were read at the last festival have recently been published in both their original versions and in the German language, an outstanding compendium of the best of contemporary literature in half a dozen languages.
Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru)
Am now back home and already missing all of you! Thank you for a wonderful, memorable week in Berlin.
Shauna Singh Baldwin (India/USA)
The festival was simply great! Words are not enough to capture its wonderful impact on me and my writing. I am deeply grateful for the warmth and generosity you and the rest of the organizers and staff showed me. The festival has made Berlin a new home for my poetry and I wish I could come home again and again.
Rofel Brion (Philippines)
The Berlin litfest was stimulating and exciting, it radiated energy and intelligence. I was honored to be in the company of so many fine minds. Thank you, all of you, for those days in Berlin. In the meanwhile, "I left a suitcase in Berlin!"
Namita Gokhale (India)
For further authors' reactions 2005 click here.
Authors' Reactions 2004:
The Festival gave me the impression of vitality, the power of the German culture, and particularly the openness of Berlin as international forum for literature and arts. Besides that, I had a good time. Many Thanks for giving me the opportunity to live this interesting event.
José Luis de Juan (Spain)
Berlin is fantastic city and it was fantastic festival. This city is very good for such a festival and this festival is very good for such a city.
Juri Andruchowytsch (Ukraine)
For further authors' reactions 2004 click here.
Authors' reactions 2003:
One festival speaks more than a thousand isolated authors.
Eugene Trivizas (Greece)
Uli Schreiber is our Kofi Annan.
Eliot Weinberger (USA)
For further authors' reactions 2003 click here.
Authors' reactions 2002:
Your Berlin Literature Festival was not only thrilling, delectably exhausting, and electrically charged, but it was historically important. It drew well-known major writers and young talents across all the borders of politics, culture, and language, and let them mix in that petri dish of the Berliner Ensemble and in malls and theatres and rooms all around the city. Writers who would never ordinarily meet each other or meet the splendid audiences that swarmed the readings, fell together speaking in Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Russian, German, Swedish, a swirl of languages, and mime when no common language could be found. They broke bread together over the word, and fresh ideas, new friendships, collaborations, and the beginnings of new works were generated in the intimacy and intensity of those engagements. It was a splendid, exemplary gathering. The entire staff was so helpful, so honestly friendly and compassionately interested, I bend my head in thanks to all of you and send a collective and strong embrace.
Forrest Gander (USA)
Thank you so much for inviting me to the festival. It was a lovely experience. I thought the festival was very well organized. I have attended many festivals in various parts of the world and the Berlin Festival compared more than favourably with others that have been in existence for much longer. The tent was a very good idea. It is so important for writers to meet in a place where they can relax and engage in conversation. I was most impressed with the fact that you had provided interpreters for those of us who did not speak German. Everything, as far as I was concerned, was well organized and everyone was very kind, especially Martin who was very generous with his time. I enjoyed my readings and found the audiences interested and responsive - they had so many questions about South Africa. I must say I enjoyed Berlin tremendously too. I'd forgotten what an interesting city it is. It was a wonderful venue for such a festival. A very valuable addition are the two anthologies we received from the festival. It is something that I will treasure. I wish you lots of luck and success with the next festival. I will always have many fond memories of my time there.
Farida Karodia (South Africa)
For further authors' reactions 2002 click here.
Authors' reactions 2001:
I must tell you I was very impressed with the literary festival. In my life I had attended great many of them over the world, but I do not know another one as ambitious as the one that just took place in Berlin. I, like many others, had many interesting conversations, both with the writers and with people in the audience, and such encounters are the ones that are most valuable in the end. I want to thank you inviting me.
Charles Simic (USA)
I want to let you know how much I enjoyed attending the inaugural Berlin International Literary Festival. The range of different writing and different cultures presented throughout the Festival was extraordinary. It's good to see Berlin taking the lead in cultural relations like this.
John Tranter (USA)