Berlin International Literature Festival

Books, Frankfurt Book Fair, Germany
K. Fogle Photography

The Berlin International Literature Festival (International Literaturfestival Berlin or abbreviated to "ilb") is the biggest literary event in the city. A prelude to the Frankfurt Book Fair in October, this September event takes place over 10 days and presents the best in contemporary prose and poetry from writers around the world. The event is run under the patronage of the German Commission for UNESCO and is a respected event on the Berlin calendar.

Ilb draws in over 30,000 children (there is a Children´s and Young Adult Program) and adults. There are over 300 events including readings from noted authors. Writers read their original work in their mother tongue with actors following the reading with a German translation. A discussion follows many readings with translators facilitating discussion between attendees and the author.

Program and Special Events

The calendar of events is helpfully sorted into day, venue or section. The various texts are divided into five thematic sections:

  • Literature of the world - World-renowned authors from around the globe 
  • Reflections - Writers and international experts will discuss political, social and cultural topics from Eastern Europe.
  • International children's and youth literature - The best in children and young adult literature
  • Speak, memory - German and international authors of the past decades are remembered in a combination of readings and talks
  • Special

Love the pictured word? Check out Graphic Novel Day where emerging artists are recognized for their exemplary work.

Another not-to-miss event is the evening of "New German Voices". The best and brightest of young German-speaking talent are showcased. Maybe you will see the next Günter Grass...

...or maybe you're the next great author. The section "Berlin reads" invites anybody living in Berlin to read a piece of prose or poetry of their choice. Every participant will receive a free ticket for the opening event of the festival. Sign-up by sending an e-mail to

Publications from the Festival

If you can't make the festival or want to hang on to the greatness, there are three publications that capture the event.

Catalogue: Overview of all participating authors including photos, short biography and bibliography.

The Berlin Anthology: Texts and poems chosen by guests of the international literature festival. Each is published in their original language with a German translation.

Scritture Giovani: A book containing the short stories of young writers on a shared theme.

2020 Berlin International Literature Festival

The annual International Literaturfestival Berlin will take place from September 9th to 19th, 2020. The festival is based in Haus der Berliner Festspiele with various readings taking place around the city in around 60 locations.

  • Festival Website:
  • Metro: U Spichernstr., U Uhlandstr; Bus Friedrich-Hollaender-Platz Lietzenburger Str./Uhlandstr.
  • Tickets: 10 euro. Available online, at the box office one hour before the beginning of the performance, or call the hotline for more info 49 30 27878658.