European Literature Days 2021

Get to Know Literature. Get Together in Wachau.
18.–21.11.2021 Krems-Stein an der Donau

“Travel Routes. On the Road to Be Free?” is the headline theme of the 13th European Literature Days +++ Opening on Thursday evening with Robert Menasse and this year’s guest Najem Wali +++ Readings, discussions, concerts and exhibitions with Christoph Ransmayr, Felicitas Hoppe, Erik Fosnes Hansen, Peter Frankopan, Elisa Shua Dusapin, Johny Pitts and Erika Fatland and others +++ The festival closes with the presentation of the Austrian Book Trade Honorary Award for Tolerance in Thought and Action 2021 to Navid Kermani.

Lockdown made everyone’s longing for distance and foreign places crystal clear. Yet regardless of the fascination for travel, critical questions were also raised, for example, about the openness of borders: does our desire for unrestricted travel reflect our urge for unlimited freedom? What do historically established travel routes symbolize, like the Silk Road, the Balkan Route or Route 66, and which current political and social issues do we associate them with? How are travel routes still associated with the masculine thirst for adventure? These topics and more are explored at this year’s literature festival from 18 to 21 November 2021 in Krems an der Donau. International guest writers and literature enthusiasts offer wide-ranging views about “Travel Routes. On the Road to Be Free?”

At the traditional festival opening on Thursday evening in the Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche, Najem Wali gives a keynote speech on the Balkan routes, followed by a discussion with Robert Menasse. British historian Peter Frankopan talks about the Silk Road and a possible new world order. On Friday and Saturday, the discussions and readings continue with Kapka Kassabova and Erika Fatland, Priya Basil and Johny Pitts, Patricia Portela and Mathijs Deen, Elisa Shua Dusapin and Lana Bastašić. Ideas contributed at the festival’s opening event and the keynote topic are further explored in two plenary discussions (including with Andrea Marcolongo, Najem Wali and Karin Fleischanderl).

Evening events on Friday and Saturday are hosted by Katja Gasser and Veronika Trubel who invite guests to enjoy musical recitals and art exhibitions with Felicitas Hoppe, Christoph Ransmayr and Erik Fosnes Hansen. The European Literature Days close on Sunday with the presentation of this year’s Austrian Book Trade Honorary Award for Tolerance in Thought and Action to Navid Kermani.

The festival continues its traditional fringe programme of exhibitions, concerts and wine tastings. Daily bulletins are available in the blog from the European Literature Days by Viktoria Strobl and Irene Zanol ( and afterwards also on Okto.TV. Beat Mazenauer also introduces specially selected books in the new feature 3 Minutes Book Reviews.

The full agenda as well as information about tickets and the latest Covid safety guidelines will be released in September 2021.

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