Author´s Voices 2017
„I believe that this project is an appearance from the future, a future in which we can discuss literary news, free from the ideological nightmare that is holding us captive for now.”
“That morning, Thursday the 28th of September 2017, starting at nine o’clock, in The Odessa Puppet Theatre, was one of the best mornings I had in my life as a writer. And I thought it would be so hard: one hundred and fifty students or more, and their teachers, Russian their mother language, Ukraine their lover language, and me and Simon van der Geest, my Dutch colleague before the festival and my friend ever after, with only our Dutch and some English… But how it worked!
The students were eager to listen and talk to us, to find out how and why we write our books the way we do. It’s all new to them. I mean, in The Netherlands much is taken for granted, when I talk to students there I have to be funny at least, and the best is to be cynical: “Well, it’s only books. I know, let’s not be to serious about it.” In Odessa everybody in the audience wanted to be serious. It was a relief, these fresh open minds. After the reading I went outside, sat on the steps before the Theatre, in the Odessa sunrise, said hello to everyone passing by, and they said it back to me, and I was glad Simon and I had another reading that afternoon.
The rest of the week this feeling stayed. I made new friends from all over the world, even from The Netherlands, I attended their readings, had wine with them during dinner, talked about politics and life and books, we went into town together, to the beach, till all our languages became one and the same. I am sure that at this moment in time, on this planet, the best place to organize an international literary festival is Odessa.“
“It was a pleasure to be part of the 3rd international literature festival Odessa. I met many interesting and talented authors, read poems and discuss several actual problems and challenges. It was my first visit to Odessa and I think I will be back some day. As for the event itself – it was remarkable, all the part of the festival was very well organized. I have been able to get in touch with audience and it was very impressive. Thank you very much!“
“I truly enjoyed the meeting of colleagues from all over the world, seeing the wonderful city, and learning more about the situation in Ukraine. Hopefully the little steps we all took towards furthering mutual understanding through literature can do its contributing part to help unite our splintered world. So thank you so much for giving us this opportunity. „
“Without doubts and I consider such event is very useful for Odessa and Ukraine in generall and I also hope it helps to create a positive image of Ukraine which is a promicing and perspective (and very beautiful) country.“
“It was all perfectly organised,and for me,first time in Odessa,it was a big surprise to see the old houses,in which some of my beloved artists,from Emil Gilels to Paustowski lived.And it was such a pleasure meeting you all.“
“Dear ilo family,
Just to say thank you for the wonderful days, and most inspiring conversations and crossings you created. Thank you, and warmest regards to everyone.“
“It was very inspiring to meet, share, lecture within the context of Odessa. I realize this was the first time the festival has choosen for a more transdisciplinairy approach, which to me has great added value. Funny enough the urban (social and economic) challenges we face in the Western European context are not so different from the Ukrainian reality yet obviously from very different historical backgrounds, which pivot around money and identity (politics).”
Saskia van Stein
„The third international literature festival odessa was very successful, as I can judge by the number of visitors as well as their feedback. I am grateful to be a part of the festival. I hope this wonderful cultural event will be continued.“
Author´s Voices 2016
“What a wonderful initiative it was to create the Festival in Odessa. I have been talking about in interviews continuously since I left. I do think that it was an important statement about the role of literature and free expression in countries caught up in war. It was particularly great to see the quantity of young people in the rooms getting to their feet.Congratulations and thanks to both of you. I was glad to be part of it”.
John Ralston Saul, The President of PEN International
“An der Kreuzung der Zeiten und der Sprachen treffen sich in Odessa Dichter und Leser. Wo würden sie lieber in den Lektüren versinken als am gastlichen Ufer des Schwarzen Meeres?”
“Odessa war und bleibt eine russischsprechende Stadt, die sehr wichtig für die russische Kultur ist, und die Menschen dort haben die historische ukrainische Wahl unterstützt – weg von der totalitären Vergangenheit zu den europäischen Werten. Das internationale Literaturfestival sollte ein Zeichen der Solidarität mit dieser Wahl werden. Die Menschen fühlen sich dort von Europa im Stich gelassen. Die grossen Investitionen kommen nicht, weil Putin das Land mit den Kriegshandlungen im Schach hält. Dieses Literaturfestival ist ein wichtiges Symbol unserer Unterstützung für die Leute dort, die für ihre freie demokratische Zukunft kämpfen. Was können noch die Schriftsteller tun, die ihre Solidarität zeigen wollen? Man muss tun, was man kann. Ich habe viele Bekannten und Freunde in Odessa, und ich weiss ganz genau, für sie ist diese Art der Unterstützung nicht weniger wichtig, als die materielle Hilfe. Und vielleicht viel wichtiger. Die Menschen dort wollen auch mental und intellektuell ein Teil der Weltgesellschaft sein”.
“As I know it was Ulrich Schreiber’s idea to organise the 1 st international literature festival in Odessa and therefore I would like to thank him and his perfect team for everything what made me so happy joining this festival.
Of course I’m very content with all events I participated there and of course I used a brilliant chance to meet so interesting people (not only writers) from other countries and also I’m very glad to have a presentation of my book to the readers in Odessa”.