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16-09-2017, Utrecht, Kindernacht vd Poezie Vredenburg Pandora zaal. foto Michael Kooren

New ILFU Festival

23 May 2018

In November 2017, Utrecht was crowned UNESCO City of Literature. Having received this award in honour of the city’s rich literary history, it’s time for the next step: an international literature festival that lasts for a full two weeks. The International Literature Festival Utrecht (ILFU) will combine existing formulas for success for events such as the Night of Poetry with brand-new events. The first edition of this annual festival will take place from 15 – 29 September at various locations throughout Utrecht.

 Start of the literary season

The new festival is being organised and produced by The House of Literature and offers a mixed programme, ranging from world classics to literary thrillers, young adult books and poetry.  “Each year, around 45,000 books are published across various genres. We want to act as a guide, bringing the real gems from this vast array of books into the limelight,” Michaël Stoker, Director of The House of Literature, explains. “The festival promises to be a magnificent start to the literary season.”

The ILFU kicks off on the opening of the cultural season in Utrecht, with highlights including a book market at Vredenburg Square, and culminates with The Night of Poetry. In the intervening weeks, there will be a multitude of performances by authors and poets, as well as musicians and playwrights. In previous years, The House of Literature has managed to reel in some big international names, such as Michel Houellebecq, Nick Cave, Paul Auster, Michael Palin and PJ Harvey. In the coming period, the Dutch and international authors that are coming to Utrecht for the ILFU will be announced and tickets will go on sale for the various events.

Literature is everywhere

Numerous Netflix series, films, plays and compositions wouldn’t exist without literature; the pop musician Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize: literature comes in many guises. That’s why The House of Literature is working together with a range of partners, such as TivoliVredenburg, the Dutch Film Festival and the Municipal Theatre of Utrecht to put together a programme that is as diverse as possible.

Utrecht UNESCO City of Literature

In November 2017, UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations, crowned Utrecht City of Literature. With this, Utrecht became part of an international, select network of 28 cities with a lively literary climate. Edinburgh, Dublin, Prague, Barcelona and Seattle are also members of this group. Together, the cities try to find new ways to make literature accessible to as many people as possible and to contribute towards achieving the United Nations’ Global Goals.

The ILFU 2018 is made possible in part by the support of the Municipality of Utrecht, the Province of Utrecht, the Dutch Foundation for Literature, the VSB Foundation, the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund, Fonds21, the K.F. Hein Fonds, Utrecht Marketing and the LIRA Foundation.

Utrecht, 23 May 2018

Note for the editor: for further information and images, please contact The House of Literature, Sarie Hertgers, Publicity Department by telephone: +31(0) 30  231 8376 or by email: sarie [at]