European Literature Days 2021

Travel Routes. On the Road to Be Free?

The European Literature Days 2020 on “More Wilderness” were held online due to the corona-lockdown. The live-streamed events are available for you to view here:

From 18 to 21.11.2021 Krems an der Donau will again become a meeting place to get to know European literature. Writer Q&A sessions with international authors, book talks, readings, workshops, art-historical excursions as well as events with gourmet food and musical recitals are part of next year’s agenda for an inspirational and versatile festival programme.

Special attention is devoted to the keynote topic “Travel Routes. On the Road to Be Free?” The festival will again close with a presentation to the current prize-winner of the Honorary Award of the Austrian Book Trade for Tolerance in Thought and Action.

The agenda and tickets for the European Literature Days 2021 will be published in advance online.


Travel Routes – the route to freedom?

What motivates our fascination for specific travel routes, and how do literary texts influence and define our perception of these routes? What do those historically well-established travel routes symbolize, like the Silk Road or Route 66, and what contemporary issues do we associate them with? What is real and imagined about them? What travellers’ dreams, hopes and fears are linked with them? And what can we learn from this topic as a result of those restrictions on our freedom to travel during lockdown and the Covid Pandemic?

Ever since Homer’s Odyssey, trade and travel routes and literature have been tied in with our aspiration for freedom of movement and knowledge: why is that? Why do travellers decide on a particular route? What lesson do they obtain from broadening their horizons – whether geographically, temporally or within themselves?

All these questions highlight one of the most central and politically sensitive topics of modern times, namely freedom of movement and the issue of open and closed borders. In 2020, the restriction of travel freedoms emerged as a main focus of the debate on personal freedoms, particularly in the west, when suddenly the topic affected not just migrants and job seekers but also the affluent middle-classes. And all of this coincided with the global ecological disaster largely triggered by widescale and unrestrained transport of people and goods of the past few decades.

The European Literature Days 2021 pose all these questions to international writers and thinkers, while inviting them to present talks, engage in conversation, give readings, enjoy concerts and, most importantly, to gather together to debate, inspire and entertain our wonderful audiences at the Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche.


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