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The first International Literature Festival Odessa (ILO), 1-4 October 2015

International Literature Festival Odessa (ILO), 1–4 October 2015

This year, the International Literature Festival Odessa (ILO) will take place for the very first time. The idea for this event emerged during a discussion in October 2013 (before the crisis in Ukraine), which took place in Romania between the Kievan author Andrey Kurkov, cultural manager from Bern Hans Ruprecht and Ulrich Schreiber from Berlin.

 Odessa is predestined for this festival:

 - Historically, it is one of Europe’s great cities of literature – think back to Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837), Adam Mickiewicz (1798–1855), Isaak Babel (1894–1940), Ze’ev Jabotinsky (1880–1940) and ultimately Ilya Ilf (1897–1937) and Yevgeny Petrov (1903–1942), who all lived in Odessa and left their mark on the city as a literary point of reference.

- Odessa is and always has been one of Europe’s large cultural metropolises with an opera house that opened at the end of the 19th century, various theatres and a literary museum (since 1984), which is dedicated to the literary history of the city and the country as a whole since the end of the 18th century.

- Ethnologically, the city was and is one the most diverse in Europe, even worldwide. It has been traditionally influenced by many peoples and religions and its history has been shaped by the cosmos of the Black Sea with its different cultures (Ukraine, Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece).

- Geographically, Odessa – with more than a million inhabitants – is the largest city on the Black Sea. The cosmopolitan city of Odessa and the Black Sea formed the border between Europe and Asia, between the Orient and the Occident for centuries.

The festival, like the Odessa International Film Festival (founded in 2010), has the objective of drawing attention to the city’s cultural ambience and its international flair and aims to collaborate in strengthening its link to other cultural metropolises in Europe and on other continents. This will be expressed in the festival programme, which by no means will only focus on Eastern European accents and the Black sea region (although these will, of course, play a considerable role), but – like the festivals directed in Switzerland and Berlin by Hans Ruprecht and Ulrich Schreiber respectively – will take on a truly international form. This will be contributed towards by the participation of guests from other European countries, as well as from Asia, Africa, Latin America, the USA and Australia. In addition to purely literary events, a political discourse is also supposed to take place, dedicated to both European and non-European issues. The festival will be presented at the locations mentioned above as well as at universities and in schools.

The Festival is bilingually designed: foreign authors’ texts will be read in their original languages and in Ukrainian translation. The talks will be simultaneously or consecutively translated.

The organizers will strive to integrate the ILO in the existing regional literary networks, including the festivals in Lviv, Czernowitz,and Iaşi (Romania), and the book fair in Kiev, as well as to establish international collaborations with other international literature festivals and the Word Alliance.

The Festival will receive organizational support from a local committee that, along with the initiators and directors, will present itself at a press conference in Odessa’s Literature Museum at 11:00 AM on 17 July 2015. On this occasion, the program points and authors of the 1st ILO will be announced. 

Bern and Berlin, 15 July 2015

Hans Ruprecht and Ulrich Schreiber

Press releases:






1st International Literature Festival Odessa (ILO) 1–4 October 2015
State 15th of July 2015

Authors that have already accepted:

- Juri Andruchowitsch, Ukraine
- Lukas Bärfuss, Switzerland
- Marica Bodrožić,  Germany
- Melvin Burgess, UK
- Thomas Espedal,  Norway
- Yves Grevet, France
- Nino Haratischwili, Georgia/ Germany
- Viktor Jerofejew, Russia
- Irena Karpa, Ukraine
- Sema Kaygusuz,  Turkey
- Borys Khersonskyj, Ukraine
- Andrej Kurkov, Ukraine
- Barbara Lehmann, Germany
- Pankaj Mishra, India/ UK
- Nils Mohl, Germany
- Vera Poloskova, Russia
- Ilma Rakusa, Switzerland
- Alberto Ruy Sanchez, Mexiko
- Joachim Sartorius, Germany
- John Ralston Saul, Kanada
- Michail Schischkin , Russia/ Switzerland
- Zveta Sofronieva, Bulgaria
- Dato Turaschwili,  Georgia
- Eliot Weinberger, USA
- Serhij Zhadan, Ukraine