European authors in dialogue

Europe 24 – What is literature?

Grafische Gestaltung zu dem Projekt Europa 24: Was ist Literatur? Europäische Autor*innen im Diaolg© Kathleen Bernsdorf
© Kathleen Bernsdorf
Europa 24

In 1947, Jean-Paul Sartre published his famous essay »Qu’est-ce que la littérature?/ What is literature?«. His much-discussed answers are set in a (post-war) context that shaped them. Nevertheless, the questions have lost none of their topicality. Since then, European societies have experienced various challenges and received impulses that – according to an experience shared by many authors – question writing and its possibilities of resonance. In short: What is, can or must literature be or do today?

In the run-up to the 2024 European elections, twelve of Europe’s leading writers will meet at Literaturhaus for political and aesthetic debates. Twelve thinkers from different backgrounds, with clear positions and a passion for debate as well as with remarkable literary works will have their say.

During the day, they will be amongst themselves in workshops. In a series of four 75-minute panels, two each evening, three authors per panel will talk to each other. Meet six guests in dialogue on stage each evening!


Monica Ali
29 aliMonica Ali © Yolande De Vries
Monica Ali © Yolande De Vries
Monica Ali © Yolande De Vries

Monica Ali was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and lives in London. She teaches creative writing and is member of the jury for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. »Brick Lane« was nominated for the Booker Prize, among other nominations. Most recently, her novel »Liebesheirat« (»Love Marriage«) was published (Klett-Cotta, translated from English by Dorothee Merkel).

➔ To Monica Ali’s Website

Zsófia Bán
30 banZsófia Bán © Ekko von Schwichow, Suhrkamp Verlag
Zsófia Bán © Ekko von Schwichow, Suhrkamp Verlag

Zsófia Bán was born in Rio de Janeiro and lives in Budapest. The writer, essayist, artist and literary critic deals in her work with the politically and culturally challenging circumstances in Hungary, among other issues. Her latest novel in German is »Weiter atmen« (»Lehet lélegezni!«) (Suhrkamp; translated from Hungarian by Terézia Mora).

➔ To Zsófia Bán’s Website

Aris Fioretos
30 fioretosAris Fioretos © Sara MacKey, Stockholm 2019
Aris Fioretos © Sara MacKey, Stockholm 2019

Aris Fioretos is a Swedish writer, translator and essayist of Greek-Austrian origin, and professor of aesthetics. This year, he is giving the Poetry Lectures in Frankfurt am Main. His latest novel is »Die dünnen Götter« (»De tunna gudarna«, »The Thin Gods«) (Hanser; translated from Swedish by Paul Berf).

➔ To Aris Fioretos’ Website

Arnon Grünberg
30 grünbergArnon Grünberg © Bettina Fürst-Fastré
Arnon Grünberg © Bettina Fürst-Fastré

Arnon Grünberg was born in the Netherlands and lives in New York. At the age of 23, he published his debut novel, and has since been active in various genres. Literarily and journalistically, he also deals with with his jewish identity and the Holocaust. His most recent German publication is »Gstaad« (Die Andere Bibliothek; translated from Dutch by Rainer Kersten).

➔ To Arnon Grünberg’s Website

Nino Haratischwili
29 haratischwiliNino Haratischwili © Steffen Baraniak
Nino Haratischwili © Steffen Baraniak

Nino Haratischwili has received numerous awards for her epic novels and plays. The author, who was born in Tbilisi and lives in Berlin, mainly tells of families and friendships in the collapsing Soviet empire, as in her novel »Das mangelnde Licht« (»The Lack of Light«), published in 2022 (Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt).

Drago Jančar
30 jancarDrago Jančar © Jože Suhadolnik/Delo
Drago Jančar © Jože Suhadolnik/Delo

With his numerous novels, short stories, essays and plays, Drago Jančar is considered Slovenia’s most frequently translated author. He was president of the Slovenian PEN for several years. His latest novel »Als die Welt entstand« (»Ob nastanku sveta«) was published in 2023 (Zsolnay; translated from Slovenian by Erwin Köstler).

Alain Mabanckou
29 mabanckouAlain Mabanckou © Hermance Triay
Alain Mabanckou © Hermance Triay

Alain Mabanckou is professor for francophone literature in California. He lives there and in Paris. His poetry as well as his prose deals with the life of the African diaspora and the colonialism in the Congo, among other issues. In 2023, his novel »Das Geschäft der Toten« (»Le commerce des Allongés«, »The Trade of the Buried«) (Liebeskind; translated from French by Holger Fock and Sabine Müller) was published in German.

Tanja Maljartschuk
30 maljartschukTanja Maljartschuk © George Eberle
Tanja Maljartschuk © George Eberle

Tanja Maljartschuk writes her novels, stories, columns and essays in German and Ukrainian; she lives in Vienna. In 2018, she received the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis. Her current texts mainly deal with the war situation in her country of origin, Ukraine, which is also what her latest essay collection »Gleich geht die Geschichte weiter, wir atmen nur aus« (Kiepenheuer & Witsch) is about.

Dorota Masłowska
29 maslowskaDorota Masłowska © Marcin Szczygielski
Dorota Masłowska © Marcin Szczygielski

Dorota Masłowska made her debut at the age of 18. In sometimes vulgar, everyday, innovative, and provocative tone, her novels are set in post-communist Poland. Most recently, »Bowie in Warschau« (»Bowie w Warszawie«) was published in German (Rowohlt Berlin; translated from Polish by Olaf Kühn).

Francesca Melandri
29 melandriFrancesca Melandri © Gallimard, Francesca Mantovanii
Francesca Melandri © Gallimard, Francesca Mantovanii

Francesca Melandi is known for her fact-based, confrontational novels, that deal with issues such as the terror in South Tyrol or Italy’s colonial heritage. She is a founding member of the PEN Berlin. Her latest novel in German is »Alle, außer mir« (»Sangue giusto«) (Wagenbach; translated from Italian by Esther Hansen).

Fiston Mwanza Mujila
29 mwanza mujilaFiston Mwanza Mujila © Richard Haufe-Ahmels
Fiston Mwanza Mujila © Richard Haufe-Ahmels

Fiston Mwanza Mujila, current winner of the Preis der Literaturhäuser, speaks six languages and combines forms of expression from various arts and cultures to create an outstanding, independent literature. After »Tram 83«, »Tanz der Teufel« (»La Danse du Vilain«, »The Villain’s Dance«) (Zsolnay; translated from French by Katharina Meyer and Lena Müller) was published in 2022.

➔ To Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s Website

Sasha Marianna Salzmann
30 salzmannSasha Marianna Salzmann © Gunter Glücklich
Sasha Marianna Salzmann © Gunter Glücklich

Sasha Marianna Salzmann is a playwright, essayist, and dramaturge, who deals artistically, among other things, with gender roles and queer life. Salzmann was awarded the Kleist-Preis in 2024, received the Preis der Literaturhäuser in 2022 and was nominated twice for the Deutscher Buchpreis; in 2022 with the current novel »Im Menschen muss alles herrlich sein« (»Glorious People«) (Suhrkamp). Salzmann has just published »Gleichzeit – Briefe zwischen Israel und Europa« (Suhrkamp) together with Ofer Waldman.

➔ To Sasha Marianna Salzmann’s Website


Natascha Freundel
29 freundelNatascha Freundel © Thomas Ernst
Natascha Freundel © Thomas Ernst

Natascha Freundel is an editor at radio3 by rbb and presenter of the debate-podcast »Der zweite Gedanke«. She studied philosophy, German and Slavic studies in Frankfurt am Main and Berlin. From 2010 to 2018 she was an editor at NDR Kultur in Hanover and Hamburg. Before that she reported as a freelance journalist and literary critic from Berlin, Israel and Ukraine for the ARD Kulturwellen and various newspapers, including »Berliner Zeitung« and »Die Zeit«. She is a spokesperson of the jury for Deutscher Buchpreis 2024.

Rosie Goldsmith
29 goldsmithRosie Goldsmith © Billie Charity
Rosie Goldsmith © Billie Charity

Rosie Goldsmith is an award-winning journalist and presenter, specializing in arts and foreign affairs. As a BBC broadcaster for twenty years, she travelled the world. Today she combines journalism with presenting and curating cultural and literary events. As well as being Director of the European Literature Network and Editor-in-Chief of The Riveter magazine, Rosie is also the Artistic Director of the European Writers’ Festival in the UK.

In English with German Simultaneous Interpreting via Headphones

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If you want to follow along all four panels, we recommend you to buy the Kombiticket: € 30,– / 22,– / 10,– (livestream)

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moritz rainer neuer ausschnitt© Gunter Glücklich
© Gunter Glücklich

Prof. Dr. Rainer Moritz

© Gunter Glücklich
© Gunter Glücklich
Veranstaltungsorganisation, Programm und »Nordische Literaturtage«

Lena Dircks

040.22 70 20 22

© Gunter Glücklich
© Gunter Glücklich
Kommunikation, Programm und »Nordische Literaturtage«

Dr. Carolin Löher

040.22 70 20 55

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Projektassistenz »Europa 24«

Melissa Raddatz

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