The 2nd International Festival of Literature Starts in Tbilisi

The success of the first Tbilisi International Festival of Literature (TIFT) gave impetus to continue this annual meeting of Georgians with modern foreign literature. This time, the festival brought together 19 poets, prose writers and translators from 16 countries, as well as 16 local writers. The festival started on May 16 and will last until May 21.

Literature discussions, poetry jams, books presentations, workshops for students, poetry evenings, photo exhibitions, film screenings and many other events allow readers to take a fresh look at books and literature in general. “This is not a simple communication between the reader and the book, the author is also here and helps to bring the story to life, even give it quite a different content,” said the Festival organizers.

Based on readers’ wishes, TIFL invited popular and interesting writers for Georgians, such as a well-known Israeli writer, screenwriter and playwright, Etgar Keret, whose second book was recently published in the Georgian language, as well as the Australian author Peter Warren Finlay (DBC Pierre) who won the Man Booker Prize in 2003. Just for the Festival a new edition of the author’s book was released, as the previous had sold out.

In addition, the organizers said that the first Festival was successful, leading to many foreign writers accepting with great interest the invitation to Tbilisi this year. “First of all, our Festival aims to familiarize readers with new modern authors. For example, Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan was a true eye-opener for the Georgians last year. And today we are happy to host his great friend, poet and translator Yuri Andrukhovych,” said Shota Iatashvili, consultant of the Festival.

TIFL pays attention to its discussion panel and holds a traditional Caucasian Evening with representatives of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. This year, this featured Lela Samniashvili, Hasmik Simonian and Seymur Baycan. The Festival plans to host a discussion about Soviet Inheritance in Post-Soviet Literature with Yurii Andrukhovych (Ukraine), Dmitry Bykov (Russia), Seymur Baycan (Azerbaijan) and Levan Berdzenishvili (Georgia).

“The USSR no longer exists but it will be interesting to understand how that time’s tradition still affects the work of writers,” said Davit Gabunia, one of the Festival’s organizers.

In addition, the TIFL intends to raise the important social issue of women’s rights and to talk about the role of female writers. At the same time, young readers will get to know the works of Shakespeare, whose 400th anniversary is being celebrated around the world.

“We are pleased to know that the Festival is becoming more important for people. That gives us confidence that it will be successful in future. We’ve already started to work on the program for 2017,” said the organizers.

Eka Karsaulidze

19 May 2016 20:48