Thursday, 26 May 2011


Now, speaking of major gatherings of emerging writers, the innovative Prosanova literary festival has just kicked off in Hildesheim. And it seems to be a rather exciting event that everybody's talking about. The festival is run by a huge team of students (I'm guessing unpaid), so they get some really odd stuff going on. Plus it's in a very small city so people really notice it, unlike when you have major literary events in big places and they tend to go under. And also, it only takes place once every three years so you don't get event fatigue.

What I like - and don't like - about Prosanova (at least this time) is its very experimental nature. So they're staging literary performances and scenic readings, a competition, events about literary event culture, readings in the dark, and all sorts of other offbeat stuff. Accompanied by the obligatory parties and concerts. And I can see the point, really I can. Don't you love it when people come up with new ideas and formats for putting literature out there? It's great to experiment, and what better place to do so than at university? Think outside the box! Kick over the statues!

But. In practice these things often make me squirm with embarrassment. Although I'm not necessarily a follower of the If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It school of literary events, I do think that the format should never become more important than the content. Go ahead and frame literature in all kinds of ways, but don't make the frame bigger than the picture. Just sayin'.


Anonymous said...

what's happening at prosanova isn't the frame becoming bigger than the picture - it's rather an hommage and, as you put it already, an experimental approach, at its best as if a child was playing.
sometimes, the readings are almost sensual (e.g. there are floors covered with sand or grass) which really adds something new to literature and 'reading it out loud'.
come and visit!

kjd said...

Thanks, Anonymous. As you said, experiments are a good thing. And maybe I should come next time, because I can't quite understand what grass on the floor would add to the literature.

Keep up the good work, though! I hope there's a "trickle-down effect" with some of the more usable elements finding their way into everyday literary practice.