Jan Wagner – curator of the program forum:autoren 2018 ©Volker Derlath / Literaturfest

Munich celebrates ninth Literature Festival from November 14 to December 2, 2018

Munich celebrates its ninth Literature Festival: More than 80 international authors will be attending the event from November 14 to December 2. Büchner Prize winner Jan Wagner is curating this year’s forum:autoren (forum:authors). The theme of his program is "Beautiful Babel. European Readings.” The festival guests will include this year’s recipients of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, Aleida and Jan Assmann, as well as Maxim Biller, the Scot John Burnside, Alex Capus, Sweden’s Aris Fioretos, Amelie Fried, the Spanish author Almudena Grandes, Ireland’s Hugo Hamilton, Dörte Hansen, Bertolt Brecht Prize for Literature winner Nino Haratischwili, the British author A.L. Kennedy, Navid Kermani, science journalist and TV presenter Harald Lesch, Adolf Muschg, Edward St. Aubyn and Martin Walser. Also attending will be the Chinese author and peace prize winner Liao Yiwu, Adam Zagajewski from Poland, Serhij Zhadan from Ukraine, and the children’s and young people’s authors Kirsten Boie and Jonathan Stroud. Readings and discussions will be taking place all over Munich. The main venues will be the Literaturhaus München, the Gasteig, the Marstall, the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, the HFF, the Volkstheater, the Lyrik-Kabinett, Milla Club, and Ampere at the Muffatwerk. 

The curator of forum:autoren (forum:authors) (November 15-23), Jan Wagner, has invited writers to Munich from all around the world. The event will focus on Europe’s strengths, including its literary diversity and the beauty of its languages. Readings, discussions, poetry evenings and small concerts are planned at various locations around the city. Wagner, who knows the UK well, will pay special attention to the British Isles ahead of next year’s Brexit, with guests from England, Scotland and Ireland. Lavinia Greenlaw, a London-based author and artist, will also attend along with Hugo Hamilton, A.L. Kennedy, John Burnside and the author and translator David Constantine. Another focus will be on European poetry, with forum:autoren promising a concert of European languages. Outstanding poets from language groups large and small, including Gaelic, Sorbian and Ladin, will read from their original works. Also taking part will be Kateřina Rudčenková from the Czech Republic; Aleš Šteger from Slovenia; Serhij Zhadan, the poetic chronicler of the events in eastern Ukraine; Georgi Gospodinov, one of Bulgaria’s most-translated literary figures; Agnė Žagrakalytė from Lithuania; Simon Armitage from the UK; Bela Chekurishvili from Georgia and Morten Søndergaard from Denmark. The art of translation will also have a voice at forum:autoren, featuring not only translation from language to language but also from literature to film and across the borders between cultures, languages and genres. To round off each day at forum:autoren, the audience and participants will meet in the Stählemühle Schnapsbar at the Luitpoldblock, where Jan Wagner will bring together guests from the worlds of literature, music and the visual arts for discussions entitled “Beautiful Babel in the Schnapsbar.” 

The festival program at the Literaturhaus is dedicated to important new publications this fall and invites visitors on a tour of different countries and nations – Russia, Georgia, China, Argentina and Germany: Nino Haratischwili will be there with her new book “Die Katze und der General” (The Cat and the General), which explores the troubled aftermath of the Soviet Union. María Cecilia Barbetta will introduce her novel “Nachtleuchten” (Night Lights), a family story told against the backdrop of the political upheaval in Argentina. With “Sechs Koffer” (Six Suitcases), Maxim Biller tells the story of a Russian-Jewish family fleeing from East to West and comments on a modern, disjointed world in which very few people are still at home in the place where they were born and grew up. Peace-prize winner Liao Yiwu and Süddeutsche Zeitung’s China correspondent Kai Strittmatter will discuss the future of democracy in China. “Der NSU-Prozess. Die Protokolle” (The NSU Trial: The Record), a book by Annette Ramelsberger and Rainer Stadler, is an important contribution to the current debate in Germany about the resurgence of right-wing nationalist movements. The two journalists were among the few granted access to the courtroom and covered the proceedings from day one. Alongside the readings and discussions, the Literaturhaus festival program once again includes a marketplace focusing on independent publishers and creative book design, entitled “Andere Bücher braucht das Land” (The Country needs Different Books).

Throughout the Festival, the 59th Munich Book Fair will be presenting over 20,000 new publications at the Gasteig cultural center. Here, visitors can discover literary treasures from every genre and for every generation. Curator Thomas Kraft has put together a large range of accompanying readings and invited well-known authors. One focus in the non-fiction section is on this year’s 50th anniversary of the 1968 movement, including “Die 68er–Bewegung” (The 1968 Movement) by Wolfgang Kraushaar and “1968: Worauf wir stolz sein dürfen” (1968: What We Can be Proud of) by Gretchen Dutschke. The science journalist and TV presenter Harald Lesch will focus on the controversial question of the consequences of climate change, presenting his new book “Wenn nicht jetzt, wann dann? Handeln für eine Welt, in der wir leben wollen” (If Not Now, When? Action for a World We Want to Live in). The fiction selection will include Adolf Muschg’s novel “Heimkehr nach Fukushima” (Returning Home to Fukushima), Amelie Fried’s “Paradies” (Paradise) and Almudena Grandes’ latest book “Kleine Helden” (Little Heroes), the story of a district of Madrid in times of globalization and economic crisis. There will also be exciting events for fans of crime fiction and thrillers. “Tatort” actor Miro Nemec will present his new book “Kroatisches Roulette” (Croatian Roulette), and acclaimed author Jo Nesbø will bring along his take on Macbeth: “Macbeth. Blut wird mit Blut bezahlt.” Also in the Gasteig, the radio station Bayern 2 will be on the couches in the exhibition area talking to selected authors from the Literary Festival every day of the Munich Book Fair.         

Alongside the evening events, the Munich Book Fair will include an extensive program for children and young readers, put together by Edith Offermann. Jonathan Stroud will read from “Lockwood & Co. – Das Grauenvolle Grab” (Lockwood & Co.: The Empty Grave) and give tips on becoming a ghostbuster. Audience favorites Margit Auer and Timo Parvela will present their exciting new adventures. Kirsten Boie will introduce her new title “Ein Sommer in Sommerby” (A Summer in Sommerby), and actor Max von Thun will present his first picture book “Der Sternenmann” (The Star Man). This year will also see the debut of the Literarische Jugendquartett – von Jugendlichen für Jugendliche (Youth Literary Quartet – By Young People for Young People). 

Two prizes will be awarded at the Munich Literature Festival: The Geschwister-Scholl-Preis (Hans and Sophie Scholl Prize) will be presented on November 19 and the Preis für einen Bayerischen Kleinverlag, which goes to Bavaria’s best small publisher, on November 30. 

Check out the full festival program here.

The Munich Literature Festival (November 11 – December 2, 2018) is hosted by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels – Landesverband Bayern e.V. (the German Publishers & Booksellers Association – Bavarian Branch) and the Literaturhaus München (the Munich House of Literature) in cooperation with the Kulturreferat der Landeshauptstadt München (the Department of Arts and Culture for the Bavarian State Capital of Munich).

The Managing Director of the Munich Literature Festival and manager of the festival program at the Literaturhaus is Tanja Graf. forum:autoren (forum:authors) is curated by Jan Wagner. The evening event program at the 59th Munich Book Fair has been prepared by Dr. Thomas Kraft and the program for children and families by Edith Offermann. The project manager for the Literature Festival and for forum:autoren is Heike Braun. Ute Wiemer is project manager for the 59th Munich Book Fair.

The Munich Literature Festival is supported by the Bavarian State Ministry of Education, Science and the Arts, by the British Council and by PwC. The media partners are Bayern 2 and Capriccio.