After two years of pandemic, The Usedom Literature Days still feel a bit like a festival. The authors are back with their audience and are talking about “The fragility of the world” – the motto of these days of literature. “This year, under the sign of the coron pandemic, we chose the motto ‘The fragility of our existence’ and we could not expect this terrible war in Ukraine to hinder us,” explains director Thomas Hummel. “That is why we have expanded the program so that we can also talk to our authors about the fragility of Europe.”
For a start, Joachim Gauck comes to Usedom – not as an author, but as a politician, as a former federal president. He talks about the rifts in our society, about tolerance and strife, the pillars of democracy.
Olga Tokarczuk and Andreas Kossert on the jury
Reading by Olga Tokarczuk, winner of the Polish Nobel Prize in Literature, is also a highlight of the program, says spokeswoman Alexander Datz: “Olga Tokarczuk is associated with the Used Literature Days in a special way, because she not only Chair of the jury for the Usedom Literature Prize, but also the winner of the prize herself: she received the Usedom Literature Prize in 2012. She will present her latest book: “Anna In – A Journey to the Catacombs of the World”. It is about this world and the afterlife, about the peaceful existence and catacombs of death.
Andreas Kossert is also a member of the jury for the Usedom Literature Prize. The historian from Berlin is the author himself and has been awarded the NDR Kultur non-fiction book prize for his book “Flight: A History of Humanity”, which he will present at Usedom. The book gets an unwanted topicality through Ukrainian refugees in Europe.
“Healing through laughter”: Reading with Alfred Brendel
In his reading “Healing through Laughter,” pianist and author Alfred Brendel recommends that you do not take things too seriously. “Alfred Brendel is a writer himself,” says Alexander Datz. “He has published volumes of poetry, writes about music and will approach the Diabelli variations by Ludwig van Beethoven, but also his poems, this humor in music and poetry. Humor that is also a savior in difficult times.”
The Usedom Literature Days also include a writing seminar with the 11th grader of Ahlbeck High School. Students write about the corona pandemic, about insecurities, fears, but also the hopes of the younger generation.
Ukrainian Tanja Maljartschuk receives the Usedom Literature Prize
The highlight of the Literature Days will be the presentation of the Usedom Literature Prize on Saturday. The award goes to Ukrainian writer Tanya Malyartschuk for her novel The Blue Whale of Memory, says jury member Andreas Kossert. However, to be born as a pole later, for a Ukrainian identity.In her poetic language, she tells the widely forgotten life of this highly influential philosopher and historical politician of the early 20th century, the dream of life whose was an independent Ukraine. “
The novel was published in 2019. Ukrainian Tanja Maljartschuk, who lives in Austria, will receive 5,000 euros and will live and write in Usedom for a month next year. Until Sunday, however, the main focus at Usedom will be: reading.