New literature festival: “Books come alive in Altenberg”

Press release from 04/26/2022

The new festival “Literatur am Dom” (June 23-26) presents world literature from June 23-26 at one of the most romantic places in Germany, the Altenberg Cathedral, in the middle of the Bergisches Land, just outside of Cologne.

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Altenberg/Odenthal. The program was selected and designed by literary agent Karin Graf and literary critic Denis Scheck. Well connected in the international cultural scene, both are enthusiastic literary mediators and stand for an unconditional insistence on literary quality. For “Literatur am Dom” they have designed a highly diverse program with award-winning novels, non-fiction books on current social debates, contemporary poetry, stories for children as well as literary and culinary experiences.

The events mostly take place open-air, with a view of the surrounding natural landscape and historical architecture. This is characterized by the namesake of the festival, the Altenberg Cathedral: a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, located in the middle of an open meadow, surrounded by forest. Built more than 600 years ago as a Cistercian monastery, destroyed by fire in 1815, the cathedral was rebuilt in the 19th century on behalf of the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Catholic and Protestant services have been celebrated there ever since. The Hotel Altenberger Hof, which will reopen at the beginning of June, also belongs to the former monastery grounds. The Küchenhof restaurant right next door, built in 1755, served the monastery brothers as a farm with a dairy, vegetable and herb garden. It is still a place of inspiration and culinary delights today. Altenberg is also known for the historic fairytale forest, which has been captivating children and families for over 90 years.

“Literature at the Cathedral” is the first literature festival in this special cultural landscape and awaits the following guests at the start: The Nobel Prize winner for literature, Herta Müller, presents landscapes of homelessness with her works “The Official Said” and “Breath Swing”. The bestselling author Frank Schätzing reads from his non-fiction book “What if we just save the world?”, in which he creates scenarios to stop climate change. Antje Rávik Strubel, who received the German Book Prize for “Blue Woman”, a story about power and abuse of power, will appear together with the writer Daniela Krien. Her novel “Der Brand” tells of an extinguished love, which is at the same time a mirror of fundamental social crises. Mariana Leky comes with her highly acclaimed book “What you can see from here”, which is set not far from the Bergisches Land in the Westerwald. The poet Jürgen Becker will read from his new volume of poetry, which will be published shortly before the festival begins – on July 10 he will be celebrating his 90th birthday. And Paul Maar brings his famous stories about “Sams” and the novel about his childhood “How everything came”. In addition, actor Dietmar Bär presents the hitherto little-known fragment of a novel by Friedrich Wilhelm IV, “The Queen of Borneo”. The “kitchen party” at the Altenberger Hof, where the passionate hobby chef Denis Scheck meets the legendary three-star chef Dieter Müller, proves that enjoying first-class literature and top-class cuisine can be related sensual pleasures.

More information about the program can be found here.