About us

Das internationale literaturfestival berlin [© Schirin Moaiyeri]

Everything is different on eleven days in September. And always has since 2001.

In theatres, museums, concert halls, even in prison. For eleven days each year, the international literary scene takes over cultural life in Berlin. In readings, talks, workshops and encounters. For eleven days, everything revolves around a great shared passion: literature.

The international literature festival berlin (ilb) ranks as one of the world’s most important literary events Its comprehensive stylistic and thematic spectrum is unique – encompassing prose, poetry, non-fiction, graphic novels as well as children’s and young adult literature. The program ranges from roundtable discussions with Nobel Prize winners in literature to events aimed at promoting reading and the teaching of literature. Contemporary political issues and scientific discourse are discussed, as are trends in the literary scene with all its forms, temperaments, and styles. From mainstream to niche. The aim of the ilb is to address as broad an audience as possible and to involve them in a variety of ways. In short, the festival offers individuals in Berlin and the surrounding region an extraordinary opportunity to gain a curated insight into the fascinating world of literature. The ilb is committed to human rights, cosmopolitanism, multiple perspectives, dialogue, and hospitality.

The ilb Hall of Fame: from Salman Rushdie to Isabel Allende

Guests at past festivals included: Leila Aboulela (Sudan/ Great Britain), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria/ USA), Swetlana Alexievich (Ukraine/ Belarus), Isabel Allende (Chile), Assia Djebar (Algeria), Tahar Ben Jelloun ( Morocco/ France), John M. Coetzee (South Africa/ Australia), John Green (USA), David Grossman (Israel), Daniel Kehlmann (Germany), Judith Kerr (Germany/ UK), Judith Hermann (Germany), Robert Menasse ( Austria), Michael Ondaatje (Canada), Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Kenya), Yasmina Reza (Iran/ France), Arundhati Roy (India), Salman Rushdie (India/ USA), Elif Shafak (Turkey/ Great Britain), Charles Simic (Serbia). / USA), Wole Soyinka (Nigeria), Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru/ Spain), Irvine Welsh (Great Britain).

Sections

Literatures of the World

The audience experiences big names of the literary scene and the stars of tomorrow in a very special setting. he international authors read their texts in the original language, then actors recite the German translation. Actors then present the German translation. In the subsequent moderated discussion, insights and outlooks as well as exciting discussions emerge. It is not uncommon for works to celebrate their book premiere here. At the end of the event there is a book signing.

Reflections

Always cutting-edge, always with an exciting cast. Authors, journalists, scientists, and politicians explain and discuss a wide range of social and political issues

Memory, Speak

This retrospective pays tribute to well-known, misunderstood or forgotten authors from decades and centuries past. Readings, lectures, and discussions lead to exciting new discoveries and allow for rediscovery.

Science and the Humanities

Looking ahead. In this section, the latest scientific research is as much the focus as socially relevant debates. A progressive way to combine different disciplines as well as nationalities.

Specials

Every year is different, every year is special. The ilb will present projects and events on selected special topics.

ilbDIGITAL

Experience the ilb digitally: Authors who cannot be present on site will be connected live or will appear via pre-recorded talks. Selected events will also be streamed live.

International Children’s and Young Adult Literature

The section presents a wide range of readings and workshops. Young readers are introduced to unusual and courageous positions in international children’s and youth literature, both creatively and thematically.