Press Reviews 2001-2011
Press Review 2011
“The International Literature Festival Berlin will present its 11th edition, and it will - let’s face it - once again ask too much from its audience. Which is good! Hundreds of readings of well and lesser known writers (…) invite the guests of the festival to digest more literature within two weeks as they would normally within three years.”
sally*scout: Internationales Literaturfestival Berlin, 30.08.2011
“This weekend, the medium that has often been labelled a bastard, because it combines literature and visual arts, will enter another hall of advanced civilization. Next Saturday the International Literature Festival Berlin (ilb) will dedicate a whole day (…) to the Graphic Novel (…).”
Der Tagesspiegel: Ball der Bastarde, 7.09.2011, Lars von Törne
“It is a fine anniversary, when one of Berlin’s top events celebrates its 11th edition. Once again for ten days the International Literature Festival Berlin will represent diversity and distinction (…) in 196 events with 140 writers from 53 countries. And those who believe that literature is nothing but paper between two covers will be proven wrong. In addition to your typical reading, the programme offers writers’ talks, political debates, and film screenings. The ilb has always been an offer to people, who enjoy staying home, wrapped in a cosy blanket to read a good book. But it is also an invitation to the newbies, who want to rediscover the pleasure of reading. Which will happen, for example, also at extraordinary venues, e.g. the Tegel Detention Centre or the Berghain Panorama Bar.”
“Joachim Sartorius, Director of the Berliner Festspiele, called upon cultural politicians in Berlin and Germany to “finally” grant a real home and long-term funding for the Literature Festival. He underlined the power of connection that literature enshrines. “None of our festivals is as political as the International Literature Festival, because it brings together people and their languages and stories from all over the world.”
The festival has been hosted since 2005 by the Berliner Festspiele, and is being sponsored by the German government.”
“Given its political orientation the annual late summer festival of novelists, poets and essayist cannot ignore the radical transformation in the Middle East. Having a feel for the topical, and inspired by the enormous wish to rebel against the mainstream, festival director Ulrich Schreiber invited a keynote speaker, [Tahar Ben Jelloun], who persistently and eloquently writes against opportunity thinking and the lame and sloppy Zeitgeist-infested approach. (…) Tahar Ben Jelloun’s praise of the realistic illusion will be followed by exquisite events that are meant to carry us back from a chilly summer into a spring of hope.”
Neues Deutschland: Die Wahrheit ist rund, 9.09.2011, Natalya Arensberg
“With about 180 events for children and adults with about 140 writers from countries all over the world the International Literature Festival Berlin is still considered the biggest in Europe - in spite of the financial cuts in the last few years. Now the first of two weeks has come to an end. This time, the festival focuses on the Asian Pacific region. And the festival has never been as political as in this year.”
http://www.dradio.de/dkultur/sendungen/fazit/1551938/, 11.09.2011, Tobias Wenzel
“If you haven’t gone on holiday this year, you get a chance to do so now: The International Literature Festival offers a literary trip around the world that will take you to metropolises full of history as well as to sleepy provincial towns (…).”
Der Tagsspiegel: Papiertür zum Paradies, 13.09.2011, Elke Brühn
“It is, therefore, a good idea to not only host readings ten years after, to remember the attacks of 9/11 and the wars that followed, but to leave the stage also to those who in words and images defy the commercial constraints of pseudo journalism and its “60 second facts” in the style of Jauch and Plasberg. Because it is true: anybody can do karaoke. But karaoke is only entertainment. Information is more!”
Neues Deutschland: „Karaoke-Journalisten“, 14.09.2011, Lilian-Astrid Geese
“At the International Literature Festival Berlin it is as in real life: the quantity of what you miss is more than the quantity you can experience.”
http://www.nzz.ch/nachrichten/kultur/literatur/schreiben_in_der_fremde_1.12515852.html, 16.09.2011, Sieglinde Geisel
“These are the moments you want to experience at a festival of literature. The body of the poet has always been the projection area for his/her audience. Enthusiastic crowds wanted to see Schiller, Dickens, and Hugo (…) At the International Literature Festival Berlin the mating call of real presence worked for nine years, too. Last year, however, when the festival had to move to the House of World Cultures, because its regular venue at the Schaperstraße was closed for refurbishing, the numbers of visitors dropped. (…) This is partly due to the current situation of literature. (…) But there are also reasons to be found in the festival itself. It is worrying that a writer like Gary Shteyngart with his “Super Sad True Love Story” attracts only one third of number of visitors that could fill the hall. (…) The festival in Berlin, unlike its successful competitors in Munich, Hamburg and Cologne, does not want to be the gofer of the literary industry. Instead it has tried, year after year, to convey an independent idea of the global community of poets. (…) This is a noble venture, yet it quickly hits its limits in the sensation-seeking city of Berlin with its excessive supply with cultural events.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: Groß im kleinen Kreis, 16.09.2011, Andreas Kilb
“Once again the Haus der Berliner Festspiele proved to be the ideal venue. All in all, 24,000 visitors came to see and hear writers from all over the world. Once again the International Children and Youth Literature section, managed for the first time by Christoph Peter, proved to be a crowd-puller. More than 700 enthusiastic spectators watched the Grüffelo Show hosted by Axel Scheffler and Julia Donaldson. Another favourite of the audience was Finn-Ole Heinrich, who presented his book Frerk, du Zwerg. (…) One of the many highlights of this section was Amir’s and Khalal’s graphic novel Zarah’s Paradise, published by the Knesebeck Verlag (…) It was a very moving moment, when Amir and Khalil joined the young people in the hall, sitting in front of their computers at 3 o’clock a.m. local time, in order to answer the questions of the German students. A true experience for everybody involved.”
“The 11th International Literature Festival Berlin, with most events hosted by the Haus der Berliner Festspiele from from 7th to 17th September, offered more contemporary, political, personal and global events than almost all the other festivals in the German-speaking region. The difference between (real) life, writing, and the discourse could well be seen (…).
Thus, it is extremely important and great to note that almost all writers are present in person. Because this way, a book or an (often exemplary) life, cannot simply be forced into a scheme, as might be the case in the re-enactment of a theatre production or a university thesis. And every visit of an event helps shape ideas beyond the geopolitical and mutual claims of guilt, sociological theories or, in the worst case, a kind of pathological - and sympathetic - disaster tourism. (It would be great to have such a festival in the Ruhrgebiet area!).”
“Last Wednesday, the International Literature Festival Berlin (ilb) offered a first insight into this year’s programme. The Chinese refugee Liao Yiwu presented For a Song and a Hundred Songs. An eye-witness report about life in Chinese prisons in the Haus der Berliner Festspiele.”
“What is the task of a writer? How does she/he find her/his themes, her/his stories? In which language should she/he write? Can art be a compass in a very complex world, a world we find hard to understand? All these are questions to which artists and experts answered at the 11th international literature festival berlin that took place from 7th to 17th September.”
Press Review 2009
„The festival, which is now in its 9th year, is an exuberant celebration of a culture of reading. It included almost three hundred events in twelve days this year, and has thereby expanded.”
die tageszeitung: Das grosse Lesenlassen. Katharina Granzin, 22.9.09
„Over ten days and nights it concentrated on the word, largely subtle and quiet […]. Even if this year's festival did not draw a record number of visitors, it was still the best in its history. […] The festival featured an enormous number of young authors, who will with certainty become world famous in the near future.”
Berliner Zeitung: Weltstars von morgen. Sabine Vogel, 19. / 20.9.09
„There is no Arabic world, and the literature festival in Berlin is the place at which the varying interpretations of deficits, blanks and diversity were made apparent. At the beginning Joachim Sartorius, the director of the Berliner Festspiele, spoke of the overwhelming of culture by expectations of reconciliatory aspects, and highlighted literature's primary role in bringing forth the Other. The ilb treats the matter in an equally impressive and irritating manner.”
Frankfurter Rundschau: Lesarten des Mangels. Die arabische Welt auf dem Literaturfestival. Harry Nutt, 16.9.09
„Dozens of events illuminate an impressive spectrum of Arabic literature: there are poetry nights and prose readings, film screenings and discussions. Established writers as well as young, new authors present their works, some of which are already known to larger audiences in Germany, whereas othershave not yet been translated. The festival is performing pioneer work here, inviting us to make new discoveries and enter a world of experience far beyond the televised images from Iraq and Afghanistan. […] The festival's many readings point in a clear direction: listen closely, be curious about new stories from the Orient. […] The wealth of voices and images could provide a counterpoint to the cookie-cutter stereotypes and the fear.”
Kölner Stadtanzeiger: Die Verniedlichung des Orients. Elke Biesel, 16.9.09
“The great thing about the international literature festival in Berlin is that every year you find authors in the festival programme who actually have nothing to do with the actual theme – this year the “Arabic world” - but who are present despite this, because they were simply invited or because we needed to be reminded that they are also there.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung: Das grosse Kichern. Beim Literaturfestival in Berlin gastierte die Schrifstellergruppe „Oulipo“. Julia Encke, 13.9.09
„The ”international literature festival in Berlin” stays true to itself in its 9th year. This also applies to the internal directions: international, very political, and strictly literary. […] The festival thus remains a beacon which shines its occasionally harsh light by preference in geographically and mentally distant regions. […] A remarkable contribution to “the understanding of otherness”, which is, in this globalised age, a key qualification – and to which literature has much to contribute.”
Kölner Stadtanzeiger: Den Biss bewahrt. 11.9.09
„The ilb has established itself as a major event in the capital city. 293 events with 220 authors from 52 countries! In its 9th year the festival remains so congenial in part because an author can list these figures as if he can hardly believe them himself.”
die tageszeitung: Demokratie und Nichtverstehen. Natascha Freundel, 11.9.09
„The 9th international literature festival in Berlin has already proved its internationality – or even its downright globality: the world-famous Indian writer Arundhati Roy opened the festival with a speech, despite the fact that this year's festival's emphasis is on Arabic literature.”
Welt kompakt: Ökonomie der Provokation. Wieland Freund, 11.9.09
“Since its inception in 2001, the Berlin International Literature Festival has been considered a prestigious literary festival and has been able to attract major literary names from around the world. This September, the festival celebrated Arabic literature through its “Focus Arab World” section. The festival hosted more than thirty Arab authors, who participated in tens of literary readings and intellectual forums which were held at the festival centre, the Berliner Festspiele, and at other main venues in Berlin. The “Focus Arab World” section was viewed as an attempt by the Berlin Festival to connect Arab authors with their colleagues worldwide. In addition, the festival itself presents a cultural space in which views and visions of major literary issues currently in circulation all over the world can be brought closer together.”
Banipal (GB), Nr. 36: Berlin Festival celebrates Arabic Literature. Autum/Winter 2009
Press Review 2008
The Literature Festival […] wants to offer a platform to those authors who often gain little support in their own countries and are disadvantaged in favour of European and North American writers. […] However the Literature Festival does not solely regard itself as a means for importing talent, but exporting it too. For the first time ever, in the event “New German Voices” young German authors are presented to the international literary sphere. Maybe one day they will be noticed in Africa too.
Berliner Zeitung: Kulturkalender. Africa in Focus. Mounia Meiborg, 18. – 24.9.08
Visitors to the Festival have the unique opportunity to meet literary figures who are totally unknown in this country.
Tipp: Writings from the black Continent. 18.9.08
The yearly event has grown quickly in importance and carved its own niche in the literary world.
The Local, Berlin gets bookish, 23. September 2008
Established literary greats stand next to new talents. The competitive structive of the event is similar to that of the Film Festival: In several main programmes, ordered thematically, authors chosen previously by different panels read aloud. However of course there is no winner. […] At the Literature Festival it is the taking part which counts.
Die Tageszeitung: Literature, Import and Export. 23.9.08
The city of Berlin will be beautiful between the 24th September and 5th October, when it is again home to the poetry and prose of the world.
Neues Deutschland: The City, it will be beautiful. Natalya Arensberg, 24.9.08
The International Literature Festival Berlin […] has developed well under the roof of the Berliner Festspiele. This building offers a central venue for the almost unmanagable diversity of the programme. […] The writers, whose presence is achieved every year by literature enthusiast Ulrich Schreiber, have an impressive enthusiasm and come from all over the world, creating political interest and an increasing recognition of the power of culture. The invitation of African authors to Bellevue Castle by the Bundespräsident Horst Kohler was not solely down to protocolic gesture.
Berliner Morgenpost: Literature Festival invites Africa. Eckhard Fuhr, 24.9.08
The Literature Festival offers an opportunity almost two weeks long to observe how poetry and politics help each other out or try to throw each other off – no matter if you travel on the Ganges with Amitay Ghosh, to present-day Namibia with Uwe Timm, on the brazilian Amazon with Milton Hatoum or to Beijing with the newest generation of Chinese lyricists.
Tagesspiegel: People and Powers. The International Literature Festival presents 130 authors from 50 countries. Gregor Dotzauer, 24.9.08
The world will become literature and then return to be the world again – you can experience this now until the 5th October at the International Literature Festival Berlin.
die tageszeitung, 30.9.08
The 2008 International Literature Festival presents entirely wonderful literature from Africa – talks with Amma Darko, Nuruddin Farah, Helon Habila, Alaa Al-Aswani, Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton – alongside fascinating discussions entitled “Reflections”, which provide time to contemplate and rich intellectual nourishment.
Neues Deutschland: Do you really want to know?. Natalya Arensberg, 30.9.08
The Poetry festival is a Berlin institution, the Literature Festival a national event.
F.A.Z.: The Rhinoceros and his Stories. 02.10.08
Reading is an intimate affair, and this intimacy can be experienced this year at many of the performances.
NZZ: The Flights and the Tartaros. Sieglinde Geisel, 6.10.08
Maybe it is actually due to the common identity derived from the after-effects of colonialism, but the focus of this year’s Berlin Literature Festival, when compared to other years, creates clearer contours and a more distinct profile. Even on the level of political cultural discussion.
Süddeutsche Zeitung: Through the Flowers of Irony. Hans-Peter Kunisch, 7.10.08
The concept of the International Literature Festival, which takes place for the eighth time this autumn, has developed over the past years into a simple formula: the programme is a melting-pot of vibrancy. There are enough prominent guests to lure the public into the events. And on the way to the festival it is found possible to wander off and discover something surprising, thanks to the incredibly internationally focused programme. […] The joy of reading is awakened, along with the interest in political and social discussions.
Zitty: Books as Social Glu. Stephanie Grimm, 25.9 – 8.10.08
Press Review 2007
Writing means listening, too – and the children’s and young adult’s literature programme ultimately offers its young readers simply everything. The selection reveals an unmistakable feel for quality. The ten thousand children and adolescents who attended these readings, sold out months before, with their classrooms, let themselves be effortlessly carried away. The work of Guus Kuijer, the grand old man of Dutch letters (and European) children’s literature, is testament to how one cannot always decide between adult and children’s literature. In his slim books he expects things from his readers that in life are demanded of children too. Yet his books are not sad, but rather immensely beautiful. One must describe the terrifying in beautiful language too, otherwise one has no access to readers, says Kuijer, who also claims that as author he does not interfere. “I listen, and then stories arrive like dreams." What takes place when one reads? We received many different answers to this question at the festival. “A good book draws you out of the crowd,” says David Grossman. “Reading does not make you more intelligent. But something changes in our lives,” believes Aharon Appelfeld and laughs his translucent laugh: “The soul expands a little.” “Who understands the Sleeping Beauty?”, asks Guus Kuijer. “I don’t. Children don’t. But we all experience something.
NZZ. Sieglinde Geisel, 19.9.07
At the international literature festival teachers learn how to make reading enticing for children.
Berliner Zeitung. Carolin Benack, 24.9.07
And with over 200 events with significantly more than 200 authors from around the world, there remains, in addition, ample room for discoveries during these thirteen days -- exceptional circumstances under which the ilb floods the entire city with literary events.
tip magazine. Kai Schmidt, 22.8.07
This year’s international literature festival is all set to out-sparkle its predecessors – in ambition, scope and geniality of choices. Besides the high-class selection of prize-winning authors from all continents, the 2007 festival has invited artists such as Willie Perdomo and Sapphire, whose work, whilst not strictly fringe, is far enough away from the mainstream to lend the festival some street cred.
ExBerliner. Eve Lucas, 09/07
And what the international literature festival berlin (for short, the ilb) is good for – the enormous city and its adventurous inhabitants, the (world) literature and its cosmopolitan readers – should meanwhile be considered beyond dispute.
Die Welt. Wieland Freund, 4.9.07
Despite alleged streamlining, the program is immense and the cornucopia of choice is virtually blind. But that precisely makes for the charm of this feast of literature. (…) There is, however, a danger for the public of events being “sold out”. Whoever cannot experience their idols in the flesh need not drown his or her sorrows at the festival bar – one can form the best acquaintances there. The toing and froing of convergences allows for the discovery of many unknowns. And that alone can tide one over during the forthcoming inescapable winter void.
Berliner Zeitung. Sabine Vogel, 4.9.07
This year’s international literature festival berlin: a chaotic (some say), wonderful and lively (say others), at any rate vast and colorful series of events, which up until September 16 introduces literary stars, new discoveries and these-writers-must-be-on-stage.
die tageszeitung. Dirk Knipphals, 6.9.07
If there can be something like a heterogeneous homogeneity, then this is that, what one comes across at the 7th international literature festival berlin, currently held at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele. Or is it a homogeneous heterogeneity? In any case, it is very harmonious and multifaceted, above all the most recent one. (…) What a beautiful and interesting evening at this political festival of cosmopolitanism, with cultural exchange between different grand human beings at eye level.
F.A.Z. Meike Hauck, 9.9.07
The individual events are carried out with care and bring uncomfortable political themes astoundingly close to a large audience.
die tageszeitung. Wiebke Porombka, 11.9.07
Berlin is a miracle. Visitors stream into the international literature festival for twelve evenings straight. (…) The main thing to celebrate, above all, is that in the festival’s seventh established year this virtually took place amidst chaos-free and professional organization.
Berliner Zeitung. Sabine Vogel, 17.9.07
This year’s berlin literature festival offered new insights into the poetic imaginations of the globalized world. (…) The berlin literature festival (…) has always looked in both directions, towards good as well as popular literature. (…) The core lies within encounters with those writers whose work has not had record distributions or been on the bestseller lists. Not that one doesn’t wish them success in this country. Yet they write irrespectively of that, without a view of their German audience. They are like voyagers who have just arrived: they bring with them scents from abroad.
F.A.Z. Andreas Kilb, 17.9.07
Literature’s hearing loss. Unknown names illuminate, known names flicker down, before the audience: The berlin literature festival suspends all rules of operation.
Schreiber is, quite simply, an enthusiast (…) and his enthusiasm hasn’t only transmitted itself to his team (…), but has also been transformed into a productivity and professionalism which is evident throughout. That applies to the festival as a whole: the program has been significantly streamlined, and through its connection to the Berliner Festspiele the festival has also received a local concentration, alongside its contents (…) One often meets presenters who are not only dazzlingly prepared, but who interact with the invited authors with real conviction (…) The literature festival’s enthusiasm has acquired shape. It’s lovely that we were invited.
die tageszeitung. Wiebke Porombka, 18.9.07
From prison to a cellar and then further, on to Russia and Cuba: the international literature festival berlin has circled the world.
Süddeutsche Zeitung. Hans-Peter Kunisch, 18.9.07
One can count on nearly all 150 authors for a concentration of experience and aphoristic statements about writing. Above all the section “Literatures of the World” is immune to insipid prose, for the 22 authors were chosen by 11 jurors who come from their region. The voices are unmistakable, the material breathtakingly foreign, and the names, until now, have never been heard. On Poetry Nights one can experience gentle word eruptions...
NZZ. Sieglinde Geisel, 19.9.07
Press Review 2006
The festival programme astonished with an overabundance that was by all means intentional.
Börsenblatt: Allende´s Alter Ego. 21.9.06
The international literature festival has found its format. The house of the Berliner Festspiele offers precisely the combination of main and off-stages, foyer and garden that is necessary and propitious for taking a stroll through world literature. Hereby, one also comes across writers that have not yet been catapulted into bestseller lists. Even the most refined tomatoes do not ripen in a green house, but in the world’s gardens.
F.A.Z.: Matured. 18.9.06
The festival presents a wide gamut of authors, whose own lives represent, what has become the irremovable sign of our times: they are modern nomads, neither sedentary nor without a home. The ilb has brought the world of these taletellers closer to us. In the hectic moments of the present and in the face of the dominance of the electronic media, the call to reflect, a time for books and stories, even poetry, is immeasurable and indispensable. This is the mission of the international literature festival berlin. […] That there is an audience that counters today’s fast-paced trend and enjoys taking its time for lectures and author discussions has been proven through continuously very well attended events.
Neues Deutschland: Lust for Diversity. 16.9.06
For the second time the festival is consolidated as part of the Berliner Festspiele and it has become more concise, mature, and natural. It does not need exotic venues. It is a reassuring alternative to all the other event orientated reading festivities, which tear their public to aquariums or to the edge of dams. The festival has developed its own character and has grown up to the next stage. Schreibers reading world does not present a self centred product as is the case in most literature festivals. With Schreiber literature is presented as a global village. In the Haus der festspiele a meeting of different reading cultures is possible- something there is not enough of. Using literature that is not found in the trendy book market scene, (a good attempt at this was the portrait of contemporary Francophone literature). And the literature festival provides literary ground work. In times with reducing numbers of readers, the worst Pisa results and a lack of a basic literary knowledge at schools, one cannot praise enough what these events achieve through readings, author encounters and writers workshops in schools.
Die Welt: Think big instead of small talk. 18.9.06
That elating effect of a large festival is created precisely through that overload, that bombardment of so many interesting and possibly important author’s one did not previously know about. [... ] In the section “Children’s and Young People's Literature, which also was from the beginning a supporting pillar of the festival, the only thing that counts is the individual encounter with the author. The school classes occupy themselves for weeks with an author’s work, and the term “promotion of reading skills" is much too artificial to give meaning to what goes on here. [... ] The international literature festival Berlin has become part of the Berlin Autumn scenery
NZZ: A romance of the cultures. 18.9.06
This complex overload is, in fact, a stroke of luck. In Berlin, you can drift through the magic garden of the written word. Literature festivals present not only a challenge to the patience and receptiveness of its audiences, but also a playground for fantasy: everything that is being read is accompanied by an image. A face, a gesture, a play of features, and sentences already bear a very different sound.
F.A.Z.: Out of the window plane. 12.9.06
And finally a good, carefully selected programme and something as special as the international literature festival.
Berliner Morgenpost: Berliner Boheme vorm Balkon. 11.9.06
A grandiose, marvellous twelve-day dialogue between writers from all over the world in front of a grand audience. A great dialogue among each other and with time and again surprisingly large number of readers and listeners.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung: Magnificent Days of Chaos. 10.9.06
The comma is back. The distinctive, small symbol, an invitation to pause, to listen, to question, to let your thoughts follow suit; an abduction into the world of fantasy; an engagement with the hilly plains of everyday life.
Neues Deutschland: Mutato nomine, de te fabula narratur. 5.9.06
Since its foundation six years ago, the literature festival berlin has continued to define itself as a political event, a multilingual and intercultural space for reflecting upon the unresolved conflicts of today’s world. Whilst hosting fewer events, this year’s festival impresses with even greater professionalism.
Stuttgarter Zeitung: Ready for the Money. 31.8.06
Barely an important name in contemporary literature is missing: Doris Lessing, Isabel Allende, Jostein Gaarder, Frank McCourt, Jorge Semprún, Margriet de Moor, Tim Parks, Feridun Zaimoglu and Clemens Meyer are all expected.
Neues Deutschland: The Great Names. 24.8.06
A Time to Meet Friends (Who Love Books)
Berliner Morgenpost. 4.7.06
Press Review 2005
What most distinguishes a festival from the continuous nourishing programmes of literature institutes is the dazzling array. The visitors remain between enticement and frustration because either way they will miss more than they can attend – whether they opt for the big names (Kenzaburo Oe, William Gass, Friederike Mayröcker or younger stars such as Jonathan Safran Foer) or try and look for the unknown.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Ecstasy for Writers, The International Literature Festival Berlin. 17.9.05
A 12-day marathon of readings and talks took place between both appearances [of H.M. Enzensberger, Germany, and Ghcina Mhlophe, South Africa] and the result was through and through positive: full halls, pleasant ambience, relaxed writers and a higher quality of moderators and translators.
Der Tagesspiegel: Time of the Signs. 19.9.05
It will take weeks until the many poems have disappeared that are still sitting behind Berlin street lamps whispering verses in the ears of passers-by. The fifth international literature festival draws to a close today, and many of its events brought literature to every corner of the city in the past eleven days, opening up a new topography of Berlin history of literature.
Berliner Morgenpost: The World at a Visit to Wilmersdorf. 17.9.05
Press Review 2004
Wonderful was above all the concert of languages. So many voices can not be heard at any other event in Germany. ... Africans, Arabs, Australians and Europeans spoke about literature with the help of many interpreters – for twelve days, Berlin was the metropolis of poetry.
Süddeutsche Zeitung: Poetry and Politics. 1.10.04
Hustle and bustle, richness, quality, these are the characteristics of the very young international literature festival.
Le Monde: Berlin Open for the World. 8.10.04
The international literature festival is one of the biggest literary festivals in the world today and still it centres on individual texts rather than on commercial aspects, as the past years have shown. This year, most of the visitors won't mind running quite breathlessly and unsystematically through Berlin to listen to as many literary voices as possible since the quality is so high.
Berliner Zeitung: More Text. 22.9.04
Press Review 2003
What's great about the international literature festival is that it is true to its name in every respect. It is genuinely international. And it is a real festival. Almost like during the Berlin film festival, you are tempted to take a few days off and browse through the various sections of the programme. At this festival, you have various opportunities to enjoy yourself and also to make yourself a little bit more clever. The latter is due to the sound interpretation of internationality here, which goes beyond publishing trends.
Zitty: Foreign Places. 3.9.03
This is what paradise would look like for passionate readers. The encounter of well known writers with ones who were only recently discovered is no doubt unique internationally.
Gießener Allgemeine: 'A small miracle' with contemporary writers and classical authors. 9.10.03
Good for Berlin: In the third year of its existence, the international literature festival has become an institution – a great event, not only in regard to the quality and the global origin of the writers but also the number of visitors.
F.A.Z.: O Basil of Desire!. 23.9.03
Press Review 2002
The Berlin International Literature Festival was a great success. ... It was more than that, not just another series of events, but a genuine festival with a wild and merry campfire atmosphere. A lot of writers were glad to stay for several days, a lot of visitors come time and time again. ... The public and the authors are equally delighted by Schreiber’s programme ... Schreiber’s enthusiasm has also infected private enterprises, whose involvement surpassed that of state bodies. It has been profitable for both. For two weeks literature has been the talk of the town, and the many new contacts formed in this time between writers may well lead to something truly remarkable.
Die Zeit: Schreiber's most daring plans. 26.9.02
The small, concentrated, and intelligently moderated meetings seemed to make the huge dimensions of the festival quite irrelevant. ... Among the merits of the festival was its lack of simple reliance on crowd-pleasing stars of literature. The “Kaleidoscope” section gathered together a collection of writers largely unknown to the German public. ... We can look forward to the third edition with anticipation.
Die Welt: Second Literature Festival draws to an end. 21.9.02
The dissolving of national and cultural boundaries through the medium of literature is the leitmotiv of the whole festival, perhaps indeed its secret agenda. It is not simply a playground for literature from all around the world, but also a sophisticated concept of world literature, to be understood as a continuous process of exchanging ideas to create new literature.
Stuttgarter Zeitung: Voices from the Orient. 16.9.02
Press Review 2001
“Berlinale“ now for poems too
Der Spiegel, 28.5.01
Ulrich Schreiber ... seems to know the ropes when it comes to the pleasures of reading. His edited “Berliner Anthologie” is most definitely a beautiful and felicitous book. We’ll want to read it, the next time it appears on the market.
die tageszeitung. Jana Sittnick, 18.6.01
Sophiensaele, buzzing and writhing place with all the tongues of world literature!
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 21.6.01
So there will be, at the end of this festival which started one week ago, once all the guests have departed and their presented texts have faded away, one thing left over: A montage of pictures of this monumental event and its protagonists.
Frankfurter Rundschau. Ursula März, 21.6.01
Ever author, each in their own respect, is better than the other, and a whole bunch of them stepping foot in Germany for the first time…
Der Tagesspiegel. Gregor Dotzauer, 22.6.01
Despite its exuberance the first international literature festival in Berlin still provides an atmosphere for concentration… Three poets chat about composition, and the room is full… Not a second is boring… Ulrich Schreiber wants to hold the festival in the Sophiensaele again next year. One can only wish him much success. Just hope that the opening ceremony doesn’t last four hours again. But he already promised that!
Der Tagesspiegel. Martin Z. Schröder, 23.6.01
With more than 6,000 listeners hearing the readings and lectures, the Literature Festival, Berlin met its expectations!
Berliner Kurier, 25.6.01
The courage ... to hold back from an audience pleasing concept, paid off. ... In this way, during the ten day festival in Berlin, one could not only become a star but also, for example, get to know the white South African Antjie Krog, Abdourahman A. Waberi from Djibouti and the Australian John Tranter. This dazzling diversity potentiates itself in the festivals “Berlin Anthology”, a book to take a mental stroll through: Each of the 33 writers, who were nominated by a jury, selected on their part 3 poems that, put together, give an idiosyncratic cross section of mankind’s poetry.
NZZ. Sieglinde Geisel, 30.6.01
It was not the usual audience that attends literary events. It was younger, academic and did not come out of obligation.
Der Tagesspiegel. Helmut Böttiger, 27.6.01
The international literature festival was based on the belief in immaculate poetry as a universal language which would even have enabled the building of the tower of Babel. Verses are celebrated here as something holy which can be understood beyond all historical, social and cultural constraints.
F.A.Z.: The Building of The Tower of Babel. 18.6.01
During the first international literature festival berlin the city was declared a crossroads for world literature for a week. .... When writers from Uganda or Mexico, China, India or Australia had the chance to speak, remote literary spaces proved to be familiar. Others remained foreign and undiscovered but one had heard the author's voice and hoped for the translation to be published soon.
Buch & Media: Poetry, Flagged. 29.6.01