City2Cities: International Literature Days Utrecht is an exciting international literature festival. Each year City2Cities, in short C2C, connects the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands with two other literary cities. In 2011 those cities were Edinburgh and Stockholm, this year the guest cities are Barcelona and Prague, and in 2013 the cities will be Lisbon and Berlin. They invite the renowned writers from these cities to the Netherlands, search for new talent and try to discover on which points Utrecht and its two guest cities differ and overlap. The festival focuses explicitly on the three cities, but these cities also represent a country, a culture and a language area. There are debates about urban literary culture with writers and translators from the three cities, stories and poems are translated and the fringe festival also has programs in theatre, music and movies. This year’s festival is being held from April 21 through 29th.

The two guest cities are primarily chosen based on their qualities as literary cities. The cities appear in many novels and poems and they have a flourishing writing- and publishing scene. Like Utrecht, they also have to have a university. Their geographical site can be a point of interest as well; cities in contrasting areas have  preference. This way City2Cities creates axes through Europe. In the period leading up to Utrecht as Cultural Capital 2018 the maintenance and expansion of the network created by City2Cities is being highlighted.  With the rich literary history of the city, the leading modern writers and poets, publishers and bookstores , City2Cities shows Utrecht to the world as the city of literature.

This year’s line-up includes: Paul Auster, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Mark Strand, Mercedes Abad, Herman Koch and Tomas Zmeskal, as well as tributes to Vaclav Havel and Franz Kafka.

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