European Festival of the First Novel

Since 2003 new prose from ten European countries forms the heart of the European Festival of the First Novel. Ten novelists and their editors as well as other professionals of the literary world are gathering in Schleswig-Holstein/ northern Germany to discuss writing and publishing, to acquaint themselves with new novels, and maybe pave the way for translation.

  • What is the project about?

    The festival, which takes place at "Literaturhaus Schleswig-Holstein" in Kiel, is a combination of an expert conference on European first novels and a public reading by all participating authors.

    European Festival of the First Novel 2014 © Mathilde Bervas

    124 writers and about 111 publishers from 17 countries have so far taken the opportunity to present current first novels. From Norway to Hungary, from Finland to Spain, participants have made their way to Schleswig-Holstein. From the start, a network for authors and publishers of future European literature has come into existence, and it is steadily growing. In fact, a considerable number of the presented first novels has meanwhile been translated into various languages.

    The initiators' original idea of strengthening the role of literature as the most prominent promoter of the actual reality of life in the diversity of European languages and cultural traditions is beginning to take shape beyond expert discourse in Schleswig-Holstein. For the reading and the discussions during the four days a brochure provides the basis which presents extracts from and synopsis of all ten novels as well as biographical and bibliographical information on the authors in German, English and French.

  • Who is the target group?

    Public event: interested public in general

    Conference: writers, editors, literary specialists

    Seminars at the University of Kiel: students and lecturer

  • Who are the project partners?
    Each year, there are ten countries involved in the project. Partners of the project are: Austria (Literaturabteilung der Kunstsektion im Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur der Republik Österreich, Literaturhaus Wien), Czechia(Ministry of Culture in Prague), Denmark (Litteraturcentret Kunststyrelsen, Copenhagen), Estonia (Embassy of Estonia in Berlin), Finland (FILI - Finnish Literature Information Centre), France (Centre Culturel Français de Kiel/ Institut Français, Bureau du Livre Berlin), Germany(Literaturhaus Schleswig-Holstein, Ministry of Culture of Land Schleswig-Holstein), Italy (Cultural Institute of Italy, Hamburg), Hungary (JAK - Jószef Attila Kör), Latvia (Embassy of Latvia in Berlin), Netherlands (NLPVF), Norway (NORLA), , Poland (Institut Książki Kraków, Consulate General of the Republic Poland in Hamburg), Spain (Spanish Embassy in Berlin, Fundación Siglo para las Artes de Castilla y León), Switzerland (Pro Helvetia, Schweizer Kulturstiftung), Wales (Wales Literature Exchange).
  • Next edition of the project
    4th - 7th May 2017


"ARS BALTICA is not a bureaucratic construction for political posturing, but a concept that stands for unconventional and committed collaboration in real cooperative projects." (Rainer Haarmann, former ARS BALTICA Coordinator, 1997)


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Key Facts

  • start of the project in 2003
  • accredited with the ARS BALTICA logo since 2005
  • located at Kiel (Germany)
  • countries involved: Germany, France, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, Czechia, Hungarya and Wales.


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European Festival of the First Novel 2014 © Marco Ehrhardt