ILB – International Literature Festival 2017

In turbulent times it can be therapeutic to escape into a good book and you’ll find plenty of inspiration this week at the International Literature Festival Berlin. The festival opened this week and will run for the next 8 days until Saturday 16th of September.

ILB © James Tarbotton

The programme is diverse with a broad range of categories and sections. It is truly one of the world’s most open and inclusive festivals, with around 300 authors coming from all over the globe (50 countries to be precise) and discussions presented in a variety of languages, with translations of many. The German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel summed it up in his welcoming remarks, “The ilb is a transnational place where ideas are forged and a place we desperately need in these times.” ILB brings the world to Berlin and provides an opportunity for the representatives of different countries to provide a literary perspective on their country, connecting us with stories of lives far away but not so different from our own.

Arundhati Roy ILB © Vikramjit Kakati

Arundhati Roy © Vikramjit Kakati

ILB stage (c) Ali Ghandtschi

ILB stage © Ali Ghandtschi

The programme is made up of primary sections and various sub sections and both renowned and new authors are featured. Literatures of the World, features all the big names – this year welcoming the likes of Arundhati Roy (India), Elif Shafak (Turkey/UK), Edna O Brien (Ireland), Salman Rushdie (India/USA), Tim Parks (UK/Italy) and Charlotte Wood (Australia) to name but a few. Speak, Memory remembers acclaimed authors and topics of the past, from Proust to the Marquis de Sade and more. The International Children’s and Young Adult Literature section is as busy as ever, with 34 writers, illustrators, and scholars from 15 different countries attending in 2017, including Portugal, South Africa, Iceland, the USA, Norway, The Ukraine, Germany, Austria and more. This section is always dynamic and engaging with readings, discussions, illustration and writing craft workshops, demonstrations and lectures scheduled.

Elif Shafak © Ebru Bilun

Turkish/UK author Elif Shafak © Ebru Bilun

Haus der Berliner Festspiele © Ali Ghandtschi

Haus der Berliner Festspiele © Ali Ghandtschi

The Haus der Berliner Festspiele is once again home of the festival, with more than 20 other venues also hosting various events and functions. There are a number of free events and many ticketed which can sell out quickly and vary in price depending on the event and the author. See here for details about ticket prices and purchasing options.


Melinda Barlow is an Australian freelance writer and editor, based in Berlin since 2012. Melinda works with print and online media and has a natural curiosity that informs her work. She is passionate about travel and great content. She loves to write most about the world, its people and why we all do what we do.