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International Literature Festival Utrecht

Last updated 3 months ago by Michael Darmanin

Utrecht has a rich literary history, and that history is celebrated every year at the International Literature Festival Utrecht (ILFU). With the dynamic of events having changed in light of Covid-19, here’s how you can still get involved in this year’s activities.

A History of Literature

Utrecht is home to many authors and writers, and links to ten famous literary icons. The University owns the Utrecht Psaltar, a songbook created in the medieval ages and the most famous manuscript in the country. Utrecht is also the home of the first dated printed book in the northern Netherlands, and Erasmus was ordained in the cathedral of Utrecht.

In more recent history, the Dutch prodigy of Miffy was created by Utrecht-born Dick Bruna, and Utrecht was the first city to begin the Dutch Poetry Night, the largest celebration of poetry in the country.

ILFU 2020

This year, the International Literature Festival Utrecht is operating under the motto “We need stories.” The convention will take place from September 25 to October 3, both online and at the TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht. Leading up to the start of the festival, the organization will be publishing 50 pieces by international writers, poets, and performers in order to create a story for the future. The project is called “50 Stories for Tomorrow” and is intended to let writers paint the picture of what they want for the future as well as financially support their efforts. 

Many of the events this year will be hosted in Dutch, but there are plenty of opportunities to get involved without knowing the language, such as this year’s International Story Contest.

ILFU Story Contest

This year’s focus is on storytelling, and that comes in many forms. The theme of this year is “Rising,” and the judges are open to receiving any submission that can be told, watched, or read in less than three minutes. Intermediary forms are allowed and encouraged, and a full list of rules and regulations can be found on their website, here. 

The winner will receive 10.000 EUR and be honoured at ILFU 2021.



Utrecht UNESCO City of Literature

Flora Lehmann
Flora Lehmann
Flora Lehmann is a German-American student. She has been living in the Netherlands for the last four years and recently moved to Utrecht to study Literature. She aspires to consult and report about relevant news and ideas in media. Flora has a background in economics and enjoys discussing business and growth methods. She has a keen literary mind and writes in her spare time.


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