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European Literature Days

European Literature Days
The European Literature Days are an outstanding literature festival which is held every autumn. In the unique ambiance of Wachau, Europe’s literary protagonists meet for a weekend of networking and exchange of ideas. An interested audience engages with European literature and meets international writers as well as enjoying the exceptional hospitality of Wachau.

The European Literature Days involve Writer Q&A discussions about topical themes of the moment, readings and dialogues about selected books as well as concerts, fine food and wine tastings, plus special tours of the art-historical highlights of the Wachau region.

The agenda also includes workshops and readings for young people in schools and at the Karikaturmuseum Krems. The cooperation with eljub European Youth Meetings makes a valuable addition to the European Literature Days with innovative forms of engaging with literature.

The European Literature Days were approved in 2017 by the European Festivals Association as an exceptional European festival and awarded the EFFE Label.


European Literature Days 2018

22 to 25 November 2018

Differences? Yes! Why Not?
Narrative in Literature and Film

Literaturhaus Europa in cooperation with Kino im Kesselhaus Krems and Drehbuch Forum Wien


Motion pictures were never produced so prolifically and nor were written works so abundant as in our digital media world. But when do we read books, when do we go to the cinema and when do we stream movies at home – and what do we experience in these cases? The European Literature Days 2018 focus on the relationship of literature and film and pose the important questions. Which pictures and plots emotionally affect us? Why and how do they do this, and why do other media leave us totally indifferent? How does a book or film persuade us to embrace new attitudes? Why can fictions and fantasies move us more powerfully than events that we rationally understand and ‘true’ news reports?

Even in the age of wall-to-wall media usage, literature has not lost its magic. It is a form of “making the unutterable mentionable, of overseeing the uncontrollable and managing shock”.* Every culture needs narrative as a form of orientation, to develop and not inwardly to collapse. Like literature, film has also long since provided such narratives – this explains the attraction of literature and film. They are instruments of human survival. Both forms highlight that there are no certain truths, yet their effect is to give orientation, since they move towards what is real. To borrow Peter Bichsel’s words, “While I tell stories, I am not concentrating on truth but on the possibilities of truth.” An idea of truth stands behind the transformations and artful techniques of literature and film, their play with facts and fictions. In particular, in the age of social media actionism, fake news, alternative facts and virtual realities they help to encourage critical distance in an increasingly diffuse world of information.**

To trace the magic of literature and film, the European Literature Days 2018 inspire reflections on the different narrative techniques of literature and film. To what extent do literature and film manage our emotions differently? Is what Peter Weiss identified as the difference between word and image true – namely, that images depict pain while words explain its causes? And is his claim concerning writing as arising from despair and contradictions not also true of both media?***

What feelings do stories and novels unleash deep within us, and what do films inspire? What is the difference between a written narrative and its portrayal through motion pictures? Which narrative techniques are used in literature and which in film? What makes literary texts inspirational for film production? How do films influence writing? Where are the transitions between film production, which is usually collective, and the highly individual process of writing?



Writers and filmmakers, screenplay authors and directors, literature and film experts engage in dialogue at the European Literature Days 2018 and explore the fascinating field of literary and film narratives. The discussion panels, book talks and readings at the Klangraum Minoritenkirche Krems and Schloss zu Spitz are complemented with film screenings at the Kino im Kesselhaus Krems. At literary-gastronomic as well as literary-musical events and during the cultural fringe programme, the audience can interact with international guests from literature and film, and not least exchange ideas about the unavoidable and irresolvable question of whether a certain novel is better than its film version. Plus, whether personally imagined images while reading might appear more insightful than creative images captured by a film director.


* Knut Hickethier, Literatur und Film
** Beat Mazenauer, Alternative Fake oder Erzähl mir keinen Bullshit

*** Peter Weiss, Laokoon oder die Grenzen der Sprache (“Laocoön or on the Limits of Language”)