1. international literature festival odessa ends with over 4.000 visitors

The first international literature festival in Odessa ended on Sunday, the 4th of October. It exceeded all expectations. With over 4.000 visitors this first edition was a great success and was well received.

In the beautiful, exuberant harbour town, we experienced this first international literature festival odessa: a numerous, lively and highly interested audience enjoyed readings, lectures and talks with authors from all over the world.

The opening on the 1st of October with greetings from the city and the University of Odessa in the traditional Hotel Londonskaya lured many journalists from Ukrainian TV and radio stations, as well as international press (such as BR, ORF FAZ, NZZ, SZ, Deutschlandradio Kultur and the WDR).

The school lectures inside the puppet theatre of the city and in schools were overbooked and proved very popular. They took place before and after noon with the authors of books for young people: Yves Grevet, Nils Mohl, Melvin Burgess und Sema Kaygusuz. The questions by the students towards the authors and their discussions were at a high level and were characterised by curiosity and openness.

The readings took place inside the beautiful literature museum of Odessa, accompanied by actors reciting the Ukrainian translations of the non-Ukrainian or Russian authors. A diverse and interested audience posed many questions and lionised the invited authors.The discussions between the authors concerning current affairs, too, found a broad interest.

Highlights were the readings and talks with Eliot Weinberger and Lukas Bärfuss, the great performance by Viktor Jerofejew, who kept answering questions by the visitors in the foyer of the museum until two hours after the event, the political discussions of the Russian writing authors Andrej Kurkow and Michail Schischkin with Juri Andruchowitsch and the final reading with the Romanian author Varujan Vosganian.

The Terminal 42 – a very popular club among young visitors – was fully crowded (500 visitors), when the literature star Serhij Zhadan recited poems and rounded off the evening with his energetic Ska-Punk-Band.

The festival, which has brought about numerous fruitful discussions between authors and people interested in literature and has also contributed to the re-blooming of the literary city of Odessa as a pearl and a cultural metropolis of the Black See, ended on Sunday with readings and discussions.

The festival was primarily financed by the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin, the Jan-Michalski-Foundation and a few embassies and cultural institutes.

The plentiful positive feedback on the part of the city Odessa and the audience have very much encouraged us to continue this work. The concept of an international literature festival is fully convincing.

The second international literature festival odessa is planned from the 28th of September until the 1st of October 2016.

Hans Ruprecht and Ulrich Schreiber
Participants of the first edition of the international literature festival odessa:

- Juri Andruchowitsch, Ukraine
- Lukas Bärfuss, Switzerland
- Marica Bodrožić, Germany
- Melvin Burgess, UK
- Thomas Espedal, Norway
- Yves Grevet, France
- Nino Haratischwili, Georgia/ Germany
- Viktor Jerofejew, Russia
- Sema Kaygusuz, Turkey
- Andrej Kurkov, Ukraine
- Barbara Lehmann, Germany
- Nils Mohl, Germany
- Ilma Rakusa, Switzerland
- Joachim Sartorius, Germany
- John Ralston Saul, Canada
- Robert Schindel, Austria
- Michail Schischkin, Russia/ Switzerland
- Zveta Sofronieva, Bulgaria
- Witold Szablowski, Poland
- Dato Turaschwili, Georgia
- Varujan Vosganian, Romania
- Eliot Weinberger, USA
- Serhij Zhadan, Ukraine