The ILFU International Literature Festival Utrecht has been nominated by the London Book Fair for a 2019 International Excellence Award in the Literary Festival category. The winner is to be announced in London on 12 March at the opening ceremony of the Book Fair.
The London Book Fair International Excellence Awards are presented each year and span a number of categories, such as best library, bookshop and literary agent in the world. Since its inception in 1971, the London Book Fair has expanded to become Europe’s second-largest book fair after the Frankfurter Buchmesse, meaning its awards can be regarded as the ‘Oscars of the book trade’. The ILFU has been nominated for the Literary Festival Award, along with the Book Arsenal Literature Festival (Ukraine) and the Makassar International Writers Festival (Indonesia). The city of Utrecht was already named an UNESCO City of Literature back in 2017.
Successful first edition of the ILFU
In excess of 21,000 visitors descended on the first edition of the IFLU, which was held in September 2018. The festival attracted attention at national and international level due to its sheer length (spanning a fortnight), a reading marathon staged by 1,000 women at Utrecht’s central railway station and performances by 150 writers and artists, including headline authors like Julian Barnes, John Irving and Salman Rushdie. The second edition of the ILFU will be held in September 2020.
First ILFU Book Talk to feature Michael Ondaatje
Following the success of the festival, the ILFU is now set to organise events throughout the year. Saturday 20 April will see the first edition of the ILFU Book Talks, a series of talks with major authors. The first Book Talk will be with Canadian writer Michael Ondaatje about his latest novel Warlight. Ondaatje’s most famous novel, The English Patient, landed him the Golden Man Booker Prize in 2018 for the best work of fiction of the past 50 years.
In addition to the ILFU Book Talks, the ILFU Book Clubs (book clubs in the presence of the author) will be starting later on this year, as will the ILFU Academy (a series of courses on world literature).