Press release 20 March 2023
I hereby announce that I will be stepping down as Director of the international literature festival berlin [ilb] on 31 March 2023.
Back in August 1998, while attending “Erlanger Poetenfest“, I was asking myself: “Why is there no literature festival in Berlin?” It has been a great pleasure and honor for me to pursue the idea for this project over the following years together with friends, colleagues, members of staff and volunteers, and to fill it with life by setting thematic focusses. So far, more than 3,600 guests from 123 countries have come to the ilb and appeared in the program sections that range from “Literatures of the World” to “Science and the Humanities” and “Reflections” – among them many Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize and Booker Prize winners, but also authors who were not known or not even published in Germany.
The ilb has become one of the most renowned literature festivals in the world – due to the international outline of its program, the strong children’s and youth literature program, its political positions, the enthusiasm, love of literature and the legendary author’s tent, where everyone meets before and especially after the events.
I would like to thank all of those who have shaped the festival, first and foremost, of course, to speak with Thomas Bernhard, the authors and translators, but also the moderators, actors and actresses, musicians, interpreters, photographers, cinematographers, staff, volunteers, sponsors – first and foremost the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM), the Federal Foreign Office, the Capital Cultural Fund, the Jan Michalski Foundation and the Heinrich Böll Foundation. I would also like to thank all former and current partners such as the Sophiensaele, the Berliner Ensemble, the Berliner Festspiele, silent green, the bookstores and literary institutions of this city, for which we in Berlin are rightly envied around the world, and the newly acquired partners for the 2023 festival, especially the State Library and the Barenboim-Said-Akademie, for their offers to make the 23rd ilb a reality. And last but not least, I thank the audience for their loyalty.
I remain loyal to the festival and look forward to continuing to support it during the current period of funding, which runs until 2025, together with the Peter Weiss Foundation for Art and Politics e.V. and its directors of board, Barbara Wahlster and Prof. Johannes Kister. I wish the team of the ilb all the best for a productive preparation and success in the realization of the 23rd edition of the ilb.
Berlin, 20 March 2023