The Lit.Cologne, the largest literature festival in Europe, does not require any subsidies. Festival boss Rainer Osnowski is anything but indifferent to the current emergency call from the literature houses.
When last year’s Lit.Cologne started, the Ukraine war was only a week old. “A lot of what happened back then was motivated by dismay,” says Rainer Osnowski in retrospect. The managing director of the largest literature festival in Europe in terms of audience figures spontaneously sat in March 2022 a solidarity evening entitled “No to war” at. In the course of this, Sasha Salzmann called for the airspace over Ukraine to be closed, and Deniz Yücel, President of the German PEN Center, which he was to describe a little later as a bratwurst stand and leave, noticeably rubbed himself against the pacifist moderation by journalist Susanne Beyer. A sometimes exciting, but not easily digestible evening.