In collaboration with the Literaturhaus Berlin
Nobody evades the neighbourhood. Good neighbourhood needs to be learned and cultivated. Efforts range from choosing the right neighbourhood to helping with the move or exchanging tools and muffins. While in the past direct contact in the stairwell was unavoidable, today online platforms promise to make neighbourly help available on demand. Not to forget that good neighbourliness also means to remain undisturbed in one's own everyday life.
When the doors between neighbours close, the curiosity of literature awakens. It observes the observer who stands at the window for too long; it follows the passer-by who is magically attracted by the light of other people's flats. It focuses on neighbourly relations beyond everyday life and devotes its narrations to the strangeness that is part of every encounter between neighbours.
The ZfL Literature Days present literary explorations of the neighbourhood. Particularly in Berlin, and not only since the increase of gentrification, questions of living and residing have been an important, long-standing topic of day-to-day politics. These issues date back to the history of the divided city and to the legendary flâneurs of the early twentieth century. Today, literature overcomes old stereotypes and explores new challenges of cohabitation in a diverse, pluralistic society. The diversity of voices and languages emerging in a community of members of different origins, is of particular interest to contemporary literature. But authors also take a look beyond the local neighbourhood or the city and explore the promises and dangers of neighbourhood in a broader political sense. What does it mean, for example, when countries like Germany and France consider themselves as neighbours? Which understanding of neighbourhood emerges between individual countries in a time of closing boundaries in Europe? Literature can raise these questions in a painfully persistent way and it can also discover neighbourhood in and between places where we did not expect it.