It is a miracle what the Berlin International Literature Festival (09.–19.09.2020) has put together for its 20th anniversary: with Corona-safe panel discussions running until Saturday, only a quarter of the program has been moved to digital. This evening (17.09.) at the Silent Green Kulturquartier, Norwegian author Matias Faldbakken will present via videolink his book “We Are Five“, a surrealist tale of a drug-taking family man who swaps his missing pet dog for a creature made of clay – with disastrous results. Ben Lerner’s brilliant novel “The Topeka School” also ends in catastrophe: through his young debating champion Adam Gordon, Lerner reveals the power of language while painting a topical picture of masculinity in deeply divided America. With authors like Olga Tokarczuk, Sheila Heti and JJ Bola plus a packed online archive, there is material aplenty here, with particular attention paid to literature in times of crisis – not least how reading can help while refugee camps burn, opposition politicians are threatened and the world is in lockdown. (Text: Laura Storfner / Photos: Ali Ghandtschi, Sophie Döring & Cordia Schlegelmilch)
Berlin International Literature Festival runs until 19.09.2020 at venues throughout the city and online.