Despite persistent corona uncertainty in the cultural sector, International Literature Festival Utrecht (ILFU) today announces a large part of its programme. The largest literary festival in the Netherlands will take place from 23 September to 2 October 2021 and will programme a host of international writers, poets, musicians and theatre-makers in TivoliVredenburg. On 25 September, under the festival theme #WhyFictionMatters, speakers include French best-selling author Édouard Louis, British writer Max Porter and American feminist Roxane Gay (livestream). The NK Poetry Slam and The Night of Poetry will also take place again during the festival. Ticket sales opened today.
Line-up largely known
During the festival, including Édouard Louis, Roxane Gay (online), Max Porter, Angie Thomas (online), Tahar Ben Jelloun, Lieke Marsman, Joost Prinsen, Lisette Ma Neza, Gary Northfield and Claudia de Breij make their appearance in Utrecht. ILFU has something for everyone, from the NK Poetry Slam (Friday 24 September), to 'Who We Are: Morocco', the programme around literature from Morocco (Sunday 26 September), to the children's book programme on Wednesday afternoon 29 September. On Saturday 25 September, the Exploring Stories takes place, a new festival day focusing on the interaction between literature and society. Visitors will meet writers, poets and musicians from all over the world whose stories address the major themes of our time (think climate change, globalisation, capitalism and racial, cultural and economic inequality). On Saturday, 2 October ILFU will traditionally conclude with yet another 38th Night of Poetry, for which additional tickets are available. The now-known programme can be found at ilfu.com; new names will be added over the summer. At the end of August, it will be announced who this year's prestigious Belle van Zuylen lecture will pronounce.
#WhyFictionMatters and Maya Angelou
ILFU is the largest literature festival in the Netherlands, creating programmes for everyone who loves stories. The theme of ILFU 2021 is Why fiction matters. "This year, ILFU asks why fiction matters. In the media, we are overloaded with facts, fact checks, investigative journalism and true stories, but to really understand the world, fiction is the missing link," says festival director Michaël Stoker. "Big abstract themes like climate change, globalisation, capitalism, racism and inequality can be made palpable with fiction par excellence. That is what we have chosen our writers for this year." ILFU also chooses one author from its literary heritage every year to put the spotlight back on. This year it is Maya Angelou (1928-2014), poet, writer, dancer, singer, filmmaker and civil rights activist with an impressive and wide-ranging body of work. As a writer, she broke through internationally with the autobiographical novel I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969). During ILFU, Angelou's work takes centre stage in several ways.