European Festival of the First Novel

03.05.2017 |

The 15th annual ‘European Festival of the First Novel’ returns to Kiel’s Literaturhaus today for 4 days of authors, public readings and general bookish-ness!

There are 12 first novelists featured in the festival, hailing from all across Europe, including Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Switzerland and Slovenia.

The event will open at 7pm at the Literaturhaus with Lesefest – readings by the authors of their works in their original language, with German translation, giving the event a distinctly international character. Each author will read an excerpt of their work in their first language, including Anne James Chaton reading from Elle regarde passer les gens in French, Mauro Garofalo reading from Alla fine di ogni cosa in Italian, Maria Dixen reading from Alt det krat, alle de buske in Danish and Inge Schilperoord reading from Muidhond in Dutch.

The European Festival of the First Novel will also include a 3-day conference, featuring workshops and discussions on topics of particular interest to first time novelists. Authors, publishers and those with books not yet written will have the opportunity to network and absorb the exchanges taking place on subjects such as how to proceed to a 2nd novel and the realities of the publishing business for first time novelists.  Professional readers Jule Nero and Nils Aulike will present the German translations of all 11 works, with Germany’s Juliana Kálnay needing no translation of her original work, Eine kurze Chronik des allmählichen Verschwindens.

On the left: The idyllic venue of the festival and on the right all the participating authors. 

The aim of the festival is to highlight the importance of literature as the medium that best expresses the diversity of European life. In support of this ideal, a brochure has been produced featuring background on the authors and synopses of their novels as well as excerpts, in German, English and French.

For a taste of some of the works on offer, see the sample synopses below: 

Varsjøen by Thomas Marco Blatt (Norway)

Set in the summer of 1991, the novel follows a tragedy that befalls Morten Bodrum and his three-year-older brother Markus during a childhood swimming trip with some friends to Lake Var. Morten receives some news 20 years after the event that will change the story of his past and the course of his future.

Eine kurze Chronik des allmählichen Verschwindens by Juliana Kálnay (Germany)

Eine kurze Chronik … brings to life what seems to be a conventional apartment building where in fact nothing is as it should be. The lives of its residents are magical and surreal and impossibly interwoven in brief chapters with melancholic and haunting tones. For lovers of magical realism and wistful mystery.  

Stikli by Inga Gaile (Latvia)

Magdalena Cirule suffers so highly from anxiety she has become a patient at a psychoneurological hospital. Under the care of Dr. Karlis Vilks-Krideners’ she becomes his lover and an unwitting victim amidst the turbulence of Latvia in World War II.

The European Festival of the First Novel will be held from May 4th to 7th at Literaturhaus Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, Germany. You can read more about the Literaturhaus and the event on the Literaturhaus website (In German). 

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