For the seventh year from 22 to 25 October 2015, European writers and literature experts meet in the unique ambiance of Wachau (in Krems and Spitz a.d. Donau) for a weekend of networking, discussion and explorations of European literature.
The European Literature Days comprise a symposium with invited and accredited participants. The focus is on themes chosen annually and presented by the Observatory for European Contemporary Literature, as well as public readings and literary debates with European writers, film screenings and concerts.
The programme includes workshops and readings in schools for youngsters and at the Karikaturmuseum Krems. The collaborative work with the European Literature Youth Meetings (www.eljub.eu) enriches the European Literature Days thanks to innovative forms of contact with literature.
The Migrants is the headline theme for the European Literature Days 2015.
In her keynote speech, the Scottish writer A.L. Kennedy reflects on whether and how European contemporary literature is changing due to the rise of immigrant writers from non-European cultures. Ilma Rakusa, a European cosmopolitan writer par excellence, responds to Kennedy’s reflections in the context of her multicultural family history, which motivates her remarks, “I am a European writer. My roots are in the air, not in the earth. Homelands are my homeland.”
This can be said of many of the guest writers. Literary and intellectual Europe has won more themes, forms and perspectives.
From 22 to 25 October, leading and now well established European writers such as Najem Wali, Iman Humaydan, Jamal Mahjoub, Atiq Rahimi or Marguerite Abouet and many others relate how they left their native country with a particular cultural understanding, how they became acquainted with the language and culture of their host country and the personal role that they see for themselves in the place where they now live.
These issues also concern the Austrian writer Anna Kim, as well as her compatriot, Viennese writer Richard Schuberth who particularly focuses on aspects of migration.
For the first time this year’s programme features a film in addition to readings: French-Afghan writer, Atiq Rahimi directed the film of his novel Stein der Geduld (The Patience Stone), a winner of the Prix Goncourt. Following the screening, the writer and filmmaker discusses his work.
The European Literature Days Symposium in 2015 is also dedicated to other themes – France as a literary landscape, trends in European contemporary literature and, finally, innovations in the digital field of writing and publishing.
Discussions are based on preparatory blogs and dossiers published biweekly throughout the year in the Observatory for European Contemporary Literature at: www.literaturhauseuropa.eu
Walter Grond, Artistic Director of ELit Literaturhaus Europa