23. ilb 06. - 16.09.2023

The complete program of the 22nd ilb – a festival as a mirror of our time

Zadie Smith, Margaret Atwood und Bernardine Evaristo [© Dominique Nabokov, Luis Mora, Jennie Scott]
Zadie Smith, Margaret Atwood und Bernardine Evaristo [© Dominique Nabokov, Luis Mora, Jennie Scott]

The complete program of the international literature festival berlin [ilb]is finally here. More than 150 authors from all over the world are expected to participate in about 200 events in Berlin. The ticket pre-sale has started now.

Experience the big names and new voices of international literature up close: With the international literature festival berlin, the literary world will once again be a guest in Berlin from September 7 to 17, 2022. Tens of thousands of literature-loving visitors of all ages meet their favorite authors, literary legends, and the most exciting new discoveries of the year at readings and discussions.

A complete overview of the authors of the 22nd ilb can be found in ourauthor overview. The complete program with all events can be found in our program overview.

Author from all over the world live in Berlin

The ilb brings the greats of literature live to Berlin. For the first time, Zadie Smith and Booker Prize winners Margaret Atwood, Bernardine Evaristo, and Damon Galgut will appear before ilb audiences in Berlin. Also expected to attend are Nobel Prize winners Abdulrazak Gurnah and Herta Müller, Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Muldoon, and German Book Prize laureates Antje Rávik Strubel, Uwe Tellkamp, and Saša Stanišić. Also included: Büchner Prize winners Durs Grünbein and Jan Wagner, as well as Anuk Arudpragasam, Yevgenia Belorusets, Angeline Boulley, Jennifer Egan, Francis Fukuyama, Vigdis Hjorth, Mieko Kawakami, Daniel Kehlmann, Jamaica Kincaid, Wu Ming-Yi, Pilar Quintana, Claudia Rankine, Sam Thompson, Szczepan Twardoch, and David Van Reybrouck.

The festival not only invites internationally established names of contemporary literature, it also introduces the audience to up-and-coming authors, as it does every year: We are pleased to welcome Jay Bernard, shooting star of the British poetry scene, the young Catalan author Irene Solà and Elisa Shua Dusapin, a young Swiss writer with Franco-Korean roots, to Berlin.

In contrast to the past two Pandemic editions, most of the authors are again expected to belive in Berlin. In a few exceptions, authors will participate remotely.

A universe in itself – the festival in all its facets

David Van Reybrouck, Claudia Rankine and Sergei Loznitsa [© Frank Ruiter, Andrew Zuckerman, Anna Prokulevich]

The international literature festival berlin is one of the most renowned literary events worldwide. Its broad stylistic and thematic spectrum is unique and bringsthe entire literary wealth of our time to Berlin with prose, poetry, nonfiction, graphic novels, and books for children and young people. The festival is divided into the sections Literatures of the World, Reflections, Science and the Humanities, International Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Specials, and Memory, Speak.

The program of the 22nd ilb puts the focus on current new publications such as Lauren Groff’s »Matrix« and at the same time once again prepares a large stage for classics such as »The Aesthetics of Resistance« by Peter Weiss or »The Persians« by Aeschylus. It also presents titles not translated into German [such as Claudia Rankine’s »Just Us«] – because even outstanding literature has a hard time in a highly competitive book market.

In addition to the readings and conversations with authors, there will be selected concerts, screenings of films by director Sergei Loznitsa, and the exhibition “Wittgenstein’s Boat” by Marianne Heske. The Graphic Novel Day will take place from September 10 until 11 at silent green.

The festival will open on September 7 with a speech by David Van Reybrouck. This year, the Opening Address of the International Children’s and Young Adult Literature section will be given by bestselling U.S. author Angeline Boulley.

Since 2012, the opening of the berlin international literature festival has been preceded by the citywide reading performance »berlin reads« – this year on September 4, 2022. In addition, the festival calls for a »Worldwide Reading« of Ukrainian literature on September 7.

Selected events will again be broadcast free of charge and in real time on the ilb website and the festival’s YouTube channel. Here you can find an overview of all ilb events in livestream.

A festival of the whole city – for all

Haus der Berliner Festspiele, silent green, Collegium Hungaricum Berlin [© Burkhard Peter, Diego Castro, Tamás Bujnovszky]

While the Haus der Berliner Festspiele will once again open its doors to the ilb as the festival center after a three-year break, the events of the program will take place at a total of 34 different places in Berlin and Brandenburg – including schools, libraries and bookstores as well as the Collegium Hungaricum Berlin, the silent green and the Literaturhaus Berlin.

The festival is not only aimed at adult readers, but also offers a broad program for younger and youngest readers with over 50 events in the International Children’s and Young Adult Literature section. As part of the »Literature Behind Bars« series, non-public events will also be held again in five prisons.

The festival as a seismograph – the burning issues of our time with the authors of the hour

Rebecca Rukeyser, Sarah M. Broom and Pilar Quintana [© Janine Kuehn, Adam Shemper, Manuela Uribe]

The ilb sees literature as a way to engage with our complex and often overwhelming world. Literature makes you understand how it feels to live on our planet today. The program of the 22nd ilb proves this once again, bringing diverse and often bold perspectives from around the world to Berlin.

»We think that there should be no taboos in writing and that authors should not censor themselves, as long as the way of storytelling aims at complexity, shows our world in many facets, observes precisely and describes empathetically. Ugly and sad things should also have their place, because they are part of our world.« – Dr. Simone Schröder, Head of Program

Thematic focal points of the 22nd ilb include the examination of racism, antisemitism, and the climate crisis, as well as a look at post-Soviet, Arab, and feminist literature:

The series »Echo. Echo: Postsoviet Cosmopolis« in cooperation with the Exzellenzcluster Temporal Communities at Freie Universität Berlin deals with the aesthetics and discourses of post-Soviet literatures. Highlights include the book premiere of Yevgenia Beloruset’s War Diary, a panel with Sergei Lebedev and Boris Akunin on Russia as a toxic homeland, and a Poetry Night with Semyon Hanin and Volha Hapeyeva.

The continuation of the feminist series »Words of Love and Hate: Frauenhass vs. Female Empowerment« presents a total of nine readings and panels thematically focusing on current non-fiction and novels with feminist narratives and perspectives. These include a reading with Bernardine Evaristo as well as »Writing Motherhood«, a conversation and reading about literature and motherhood with Colombian author Pilar Quintana, whose new novel »Abyss« will be published in German in August, and Swiss author Julia Weber, who has just published the acclaimed autofictional novel »Die Vermengung.« Also part of the series is »Stories of Sexual Violence and Survival,« a conversation on writing about sexual violence with the grande dame of Finnish literature, Monika Fagerholm, and her translator, Antje Rávik Strubel, winner of the 2021 German Book Prize.

The question of how to deal with the resources of our planet runs right through the entire program, including the panel »Paths to Climate Neutrality« with Franz Josef Radermacher, Ulrike Herrmann and Carla Reemtsma or the staged reading of »Water in Flux«, the new play by Kathrin Röggla in cooperation with the Theater des Anthropozän. Following a reading by the two U.S. authors Rebecca Rukeyser and Nell Zink, visitors will be able to find out for themselves which bird species are found in Brandenburg and how climate change is already affecting biodiversity.

The intensive examination of the topic of racismin international contemporary literature is noticeable in various events of the 22nd ilb. Sarah M. Broom’s »The Yellow House,« for example, tells of a New Orleans family’s life and survival and their experiences with racism. Also on the program: the panel »Race and Identity« with Glenn Loury, Joyce Nyairo and Thomas Chatterton Williams, as well as Claudia Rankine, who in her new collection of essays »Just Us« negotiates the question of what it means to be white and the privileges that come with it.

Antisemitism as a pressing social problem is the topic of the panel »What is Antisemitism?« with Felix Klein, Eva Menasse, Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Miriam Rürup.

With »Hours of Lead« Radka Denemarková has presented a monumental novel about contemporary China. The alliance between thePeople’s Republic and Russia is the subject of a panel discussion with Rüdiger von Fritsch, Viktor Jerofeyev, Stephan Thome, Bobo Lo, Volker Stanzel and Katja Gloger. And at a post-event of the 22nd ilb on September 29, 2022, Liao Yiwu and Herta Müller will talk about Liao Yiwu’s new novel, which traces the origins of the Corona virus.

As part of the three events in the series »Not Dead But Dreaming: Focus on Contemporary Arabic Literature,« authors writing in Arabic will present their works in readings and roundtable discussions. To kick off the series, novelist and screenwriter Khaled Khalifa, who has been nominated several times for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, will present his latest novel for the first time in Berlin.