African Book Festival is presented by InterKontinental e.V., a non-profit association whose goal is to promote literature from Africa as well as writers from African countries in Germany/Photo: InterKontinental e.V.

African Book Festival holds in Berlin, Germany

The annual African Book Festival Berlin holds on 16-17 July.

The festival, which was held for the first time in 2018, brings together the best-known authors and artists from Africa and its diaspora for lectures, discussions, readings, interviews, concerts, theatre and spoken word performances.

Each year, the festival goes far beyond the mere presentation of new books and authors, as it works with a central leitmotif: migration.

In recent years, a mosaic has emerged around this politically heated topic, which began with “Writing in Migration” (2018), continued with “Transitioning from Migration” (2019) and now, in 2021 with “Telling the Origin Stories”, focusing on questions of origin, belonging and identity.

Personal and political motives and causes of why people migrate will be thematically discussed through poetry and literature.

The focus of the 2021 Festival is also on Lusophone literature and the connection between music and literature, which is why the headliner José Eduardo Agualusa Agualusa, whose work has been translated into more than 30 languages, and many other guest authors are from Angola.

The renowned Angolan author and musician Kalaf Epalanga curates the event and will explore the 2021 festival theme “Telling the Origin Stories” by focusing on questions of origin, affiliation and identity/Photo: David Pattinson

Furthermore, authors from Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Congo, Eritrea as well as from the diaspora in Britain and Germany will be represented. Among these are Yara Monteiro, Ondjaki, Natasha Omokhodion-Kalulu Banda, Marita Van Der Vyver, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Sulaiman Addonia, Chimeka Garricks, Bisi Adjapon, Jumoke Adeyanju, Martha Fessehatzion and Toty Sa´Med.

The African Book Festival is produced by the non-profit association InterKontinental e.V.. While board members Karla Kutzner and Stefanie Hirsbrunner are the directors of the festival, the curator of this year’s event is the renowned musician and author Kalaf Epalanga. Epalanga from Angola who lives in Lisbon and Berlin.

The aim of the festival is to promote greater awareness of the existence of intellectual debates, outstanding art and especially excellent contemporary literature in African countries and its diaspora.

The festival offers a diverse programme on literary and political topics, consisting of readings, panel discussions, book signings and live acoustic music. Guests can also expect food trucks with African food and various market stalls (including books, art and crafts).

The venue of the African Book Festival 2021 is the Freiluftkino Rehberge, an open-air cinema in the middle of a lush forest at Volkspark Rehberge. Tickets are available on the homepage of Freiluftkino Rehberge at www.piffl-medien.de and www.africanbookfestival.de and cost €16.50 or €12.50 for a reduced rate.

The events will take place under hygiene and safety precautions in compliance with the current recommendations of the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe for the containment of the pandemic, according to the organisers.

Femi Awoniyi

See the festival’s program at: www. africanbookfestival.de/programme-abf21

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