At the outset of the coronavirus crisis in northern Italy’s city of Bergamo, six Catholic priests died in a single week in March 2020 from the disease. About 4.7 million people have so far died worldwide as a result of the pandemic /Photo: Batswana Catholics

Worldwide Reading for the Dead of the Corona Pandemic on 5 September 2021

The international literature festival berlin [ilb] calls on individuals, schools, universities, cultural institutions and media to participate in a Worldwide Reading for the Dead of the Corona Pandemic on September 5, 2021. The reading is intended to commemorate those who died in the pandemic.

For more than a year, the world has been in the grip of the pandemic. More than four million people worldwide have died from Covid-19. Not a day goes by when we are not confronted with statistics and curves on current deaths and illnesses.

Literature has the potential to give expression to this situation, to counter isolation at least through reception. It finds narratives away from the everyday images of horror, tells of loss from different perspectives, and helps to make the incomprehensible tangible, the intangible comprehensible.

Over 50 individuals and international institutions have responded to the call and organized a reading each for that day, many authors provided texts for the readings.

In addition, the ilb has invited about 50 international writers and artists to commemorate those who died in the pandemic through short stories, poems and statements in a virtual reading

on 5 September 2021. The reading will start at 7.30 a.m. [Los Angeles], 10.30 a.m. [New York], 3.30 p.m. [London], 4.30 p.m. [Berlin], 8 p.m. [Mumbai], 12.30 a.m. [Sydney].

After a greeting by Ulrich Schreiber, festival director of the ilb, following writers and artists will read, live and pre-recorded, as part of the virtual reading:

Ai Weiwei [China/ Portugal]
Ghayath Almadhoun [Syria/ Sweden/ Palestine]
Ayo Ayoola-Amale [Nigeria]
Steven Appleby [UK]
Ricardo Azevedo [Brazil]
Mahi Binebine [Morocco]
Miguel Bonnefoy [France]
Anneke Brassinga [The Netherlands]
Teresa Cadete [Portugal]
Boris Chersonskij [Ukraine]
Lidija Dimkovska [North Macedonia]
Rita Dove [USA]
Ashur Etwebi [Libya]
Georgi Gospodinov [Bulgaria]
Carla Guelfenbein [Chile]
Edward Hirsch [USA]
Hilde Susan Jægtnes [Norway]
Drago Jančar [Slovenia]
Viacheslav Kupriyanov [Russia]
Goretti Kyomuhendo [Uganda]
Nikola Madžirov [North Macedonia]
Andri Snær Magnason [Iceland]
Anna Moï [Vietnam/ France] 
Vasyl Makhno [Ukraine]
Afrizal Malna [Indonesia]
Naida Mujkić [Bosnia-Herzegovina]
Widad Nabi [Syria]
Mirza Okić [Bosnia-Herzegovina]
Anna Onichimowska [Poland]
Håkon Øvreås [Norway]
Ruth Padel [UK]
Marko Pogačar [Croatia]
Jean Portante [Luxembourg]
Katerina Poulopoulou [Greece]
João Rasteiro [Portugal] 
Gabriel Rosenstock [Ireland]
Eduardo Sguiglia [Argentina]
Shumona Sinha [India/ France]
Catarina Sobral [Portugal]
Ersi Sotiropoulos [Greece]
Jüri Talvet [Estonia]
Ko Un [South Korea]
Ortensia Visconti [Italy]
Haris Vlavianos [Greece]
Gabriele von Arnim [Germany]
Varujan Vosganian [Romania]
Anne Waldman [USA]

Readings will take place in 26 countries around the world, organised by:

AB ART Verlag & PEN Club Ungarn [Hungary]
Akshar Samooha [Nepal]
Alette de Groot [The Netherlands]
Antipodes Association [Australia]
Tanja Bakić [Montenegro]
Carmen Francesca Banciu & PalmArt Press [Germany]
Bulgarian Haiku Union [Bulgaria]
Boris Chersonskij [Ukraine]
Beppe Costa [Italy]
DAAD (Servicio Alemán de Intercambio Académico) [Argentina]
Tanja Dückers [Germany]
Franz Hohler [Switzerland]
Goethe-Institut Athen & Hellenic Foundation for Culture [Greece]
Goethe-Institut Zypern & Atlantis Culture [Cyprus]
Dr. Christel Hannig-Faber [Germany]
Ute Haury [Germany]
Hay Festival [Mexico]
Intergovernmental Academy of Somali Language (AGA) [Somalia]
International Writing Program (IWP) & The University of Iowa [USA]
Jorge Irribarren [Germany]
Kairos Culture [Greece]
Christina Klose [Germany]
Kalarav for Art, Literature and Music [Nepal]
Eva-Lena Lörzer [Germany]
Maison du Futur [Switzerland]
Maison de la littérature [Canada]
Marathon Reading Berlin [Germany]
Frank Hentschker, Martin E. Segal Theatre Center & The Graduate Center CUNY & City University of New York [USA]
Microeditora [Italy]
Tracie Morris [USA]
Naida Mujkić & Mirza Okić [Bosnia-Herzegovina]
NY Chapter National Writers Union [USA]
Österreichisches Kulturforum Berlin [Germany/ Austria]
PalaisPopulaire [Germany]
PEN Centre Slovenia & Cultural Centre Krško [Slovenia]
Poetry Gabriola Society [Canada]
Poetry Talks (कवि गफ) Budhabare Jhaapa & Nepal literary group Damak jhapa [Nepal]
Radio Freequenns – das freie Radio im Ennstal [Austria]
Radio Taiwan International [Taiwan]
Sahitya Samgam Makawanpur [Nepal]
Jenny Schon [Germany]
Shakespeare & Company [France]
Stiftung Genshagen [Germany]
University of California  [USA]
NGO, PRAESA & University of Western Cape [South Africa]
Luisa A. Vicioso Sánchez [Dominican Republic]
Yvonne Weekes [UK]
Záhorácke Rádio [Slovenia]

For all Worldwide Readings, 33 writers from 21 countries have provided following texts:

»Covid-19 Sounding All the World« by Ayo Ayoola-Amale [Nigeria]
Untitled by Ricardo Azevedo [Brazil]
»Corona Blues« by Carmen-Francesca Banciu [Germany]
»Finding you above Kyoto« by Tony Birch [Australia]
»Ma Bohème (after Rimbaud)« by John Burnside [UK]
»Covid 19« by Beppe Costa [Italy]
»History« by Lidija Dimkovska [North Macedonia]
»Aubade« by Forrest Gander [USA]
»Eight People« by Edward Hirsch [USA]
»Olives, or End-of-World Blues« by Etgar Keret [Israel]
»The Windmills of Our Minds. Reading Cervantes during the pandemic« by Sheila Kohler [USA]
Untitled by Michael Krüger [Germany]
»Lenguaje antiviral« and »Del establecimiento del establecimiento« by Carlos J. Labbé [Chile/ USA]
»Die Welt – eine verwaiste Subway« by Vasyl Makhno [Ukraine]
»Eine Windmühle am Grab« by Nikola Madžirov [North Macedonia]
»To The Victims Of The Pandemic« by Alberto Manguel [Argentina]
Untitled by Anna Moï [Vietnam]
»When Sadness attacked us« by Naida Mujkić and Mirza Okić [Bosnia-Herzegovina]
»Die Pandemie bei mir zu Hause« by Widad Nabi [Syria]
»Two Songs about death« by Stipe Odak [Bosnia-Herzegovina]
»Midnights: Corona Song« by Michael Palmer [USA]
»Night Singing in a Time of Plague (A Response to John Keats’ ‘Ode to a Nightingale’)« by Ruth Padel [UK]
»The only style for death« by João Rasteiro [Portugal]
»Las décimas del reencuentro« by Laura Restrepo [Colombia]
»Mandelröschen…« and »…letzte Sonne« by Jenny Schon [Germany]
»Opportunity« by Beowulf Sheehan [USA]
»Bordes de jade« by Eduardo Sguiglia [Argentina]
»My friend Júlias Grandmother« by Steinunn Sigurðardóttir [Iceland]
»Wand« by Tina Stroheker [Germany]
»Silentes campanas para heráclito« and »aprendizajes del virus corona« by Luisa A. Vicioso Sánchez [Dominican Republic]
»Song of Now« by Ko Un [South Korea]
»Am Anfang war das Museum« by S.L. Wiessner [Germany]
»My Sole Weapon is Spit« by Liao Yiwu [China]

All texts, the live stream of the virtual reading and further information on all Worldwide Readings can be found on our website.

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