The CROWD is on the move – please make yourself at home!
While others may get by with a little help from their friends, the CROWD Omnibus Reading Tour would not be taking place at all without them. In this portrait series, we would like to introduce you to those who have allowed us to fill in the gaps on the map and bring the whole of Europe together in the name of literature. From May to August 2016, our associated partners will be hosts, havens, and potential life savers for over 100 authors as they snake their way through 15 different European countries and over 40 cities. We asked our partners to tell us about their work in their respective regions; their vision for the CROWD network, and the significance of literature for them both within and beyond Europe’s borders. This is what they said:
What are the main activities of your work? What are your current projects?
We are a so called “Literaturhaus” (house of literature) for the whole region of Schleswig-Holstein in Northern Germany. We organize public readings with national and international contemporary authors, offer writing workshops for young people and work as a contact point for authors and translators as well as for institutions in the field of literary education in Schleswig-Holstein. Many of our bigger projects have an international focus: just before CROWD comes to Kiel, we celebrate the 14th European Festival of the First Novel gathering debutant authors and their editors from eleven different European countries for mutual exchange and discussion. Every summer we present literature from a different country with book tours through different venues of the region. As you see, it totally fits our profile to collaborate with CROWD.
What do you expect from CROWD?
New and interesting voices. Insights into European independent literature scenes. Cultural exchange and inspiration. The seed for other literary projects beyond national borders.
What is special about the literary scene in Germany?
We often hear from our international guests that public readings aren’t such a common practice in many other countries. In Germany, there has been a rise in events and oral culture in literature during the last decades. Literature festivals and institutions that are dedicated to literary events and readings, like our Literaturhaus, have appeared all over the country. People pay to see authors live and hear them read excerpts of their books. They go to a reading as they go to the theatre or the cinema and many authors can make more of a living by their reading fees than by their book sells.
Do you think of literature as a European mother tongue?
I am not sure whether mother tongue (meaning: the first language someone learns as a child by their parents) is the right expression. But I do think of Literature as a common cultural grounding. And it can also be something that helps crossing borders and understanding each other.