Come September, most visitors to Germany are thinking about one event: Oktoberfest. But the country plays hosts to another – less raucous – festival during the month. The International Literature Festival Berlin welcomes over 100 authors and over 30,000 people who come for more than 300 events held around the city for 10 days in September.
Authors and attendees come from the US, Germany, Italy, Greece, Zimbabwe, Chile, China, Iceland, Morocco, the UAE, and dozens more countries. They present on poetry, graphic novels, common themes in literature, geographic and cultural differences, and much more. There’s also a section for kids, called the International Children’s and Youth Literature (ICYL). Authors and illustrators of children’s books answer questions, lead workshops, and give readings of their books, poetry and novels, specifically for young readers.
Of course, even the most voracious reader might get bored after a few days of nonstop literary events. Luckily you can pick and choose what you want to attend and pay only for those sessions, starting at six euros each. And Berlin offers plenty to see and do outside of the festival, from exploring modern art galleries and the city’s lively nightlife, to immersing yourself in history at famous sights like the Brandenburg Gate or Checkpoint Charlie Museum.
The festival runs from September 9 to 17. Munich’s Oktoberfest kicks off September 17 and ends October 3, which means if you’d like to combine brews and books, you could attend both festivals. Look for airfare to Berlin (or Frankfurt) rather than to Munich, as it’s likely to be cheaper. The train between the two cities takes about six hours; some low-cost and regional airlines also make the trip in about an hour.
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Photo by: Friar’s Balsam