Innsbruck reads – again!
© Elisabeth Ennemoser
"Herr Katō spielt Familie" took center stage from June 10 to 15, 2021.
Like so many events, "Innsbruck liest" (“Innsbruck reads”) 2020 had to be postponed due to the Corona pandemic and 10,000 books had to be stored for a year. But finally the time was ripe: From June 10 to 15, the reading event organized by the Innsbruck City Library took place. The focus was on the novel “Herr Katō spielt Familie” ("Mr. Katō Plays Family") by Milena Michiko Flašar.
"I am very pleased that we are able to organize 'Innsbruck liest' this year and thus bring reading back into the heart of the city's activities. The book is a gift that is soliciting the joy of reading", says City Councilor for Culture Uschi Schwarzl. The initiative, launched by the City of Innsbruck in 2004, was taking place for the 17th time this year. "With wonderful lightness, the author Milena Michiko Flašar tells how serious- and playfulness are often closely interrelated - especially in family matters," is how jury chairman Professor Thomas Wegmann describes the book.
Diversity of literature
Literature goes far beyond the written word. This is demonstrated by the supporting program, which included readings, book signings, music, dance and film, and plays host to unconventional venues. "Through a mix of classic formats and innovative ideas, we try to inspire a broad audience to read and engage with literature," library director Christina Krenmayr explains. Encounters with the author were also part of the campaign again. As every year, the program was designed together with local cultural partners.
Starting on 11 June 10,000 books were given away at various locations in Innsbruck: in streetcars, at public transportation stops, in the public swimming pools, in front of the Arzl and Mühlau district libraries, and in front of the Sillpark shopping center. In addition, the book was available in many Innsbruck bookstores, at the Tiroler Tageszeitung, at Life Radio Tirol, at the recycling center, at the customer center of the local energy provider, the city library and many more.
Innsbruck liest was initiated in 2004 by the cultural office of the City of Innsbruck, striving to put a spotlight on the imaginative potential of reading in a time of digital transformation, as former mayor Hilde Zach describes in the foreword of the first book, a crime novel by Thomas Glavinic.
Four key elements have been and still are central to the project’s development:
· a low-threshold, popular approach to reading as a cultural practice to engage non-traditional demographic groups outside of established institutions
· the promotion and support of up-and-coming German-language authors
· raising awareness for relevant societal questions (e.g. migration, mobbing, aging) through the lens of literature
· securing the literary quality of the text through the scientific patronage by the University of Innsbruck
“The idea came up to partner with the Faculty of Language, Literature and Culture at the University of Innsbruck for scientific direction and to chair jury sessions with experts from the University’s well-established network”, Birgit Neu, Head of Innsbruck’s Cultural Office, remembers. The academic head of the program as well as the university library are advising the City of Innsbruck on event programming, which always involves the local literary scene.
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