Nobel laureate Annie Ernaux (France), Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid and Korean novelist San Young Park are among the big names in international literature who have confirmed their participation at next month’s Passa Porta literary festival in Brussels.
The festival, now in its ninth edition, will be held from 23 to 26 March and will welcome about 100 writers. Thus far, eight names have been announced.
They include British historian Timothy Garton Ash, Dutch philosopher Connie Palmen and Mexican novelist and short story writer Guadalupe Nettel, along with Ukrainian writer Oksana Zabuzhko and Malaysian author Tash Aw.
The full programme will be unveiled on 20 February.
International network of refugee cities
This year, the Passa Porta Festival together with the City of Brussels and the National Theatre will host the ICORN (International Cities of Refuge Network) Meeting from 22 to 24 March. This is a major annual gathering of cities that give refuge to writers, artists and journalists in exile.
Eighty cities around the world welcome writers under threat, including Brussels, which hosts writers in exile for two years. Host cities gather in a given location each year, and in 2023 they meet in the Belgian capital. “It is a way for us to reaffirm freedom of expression,” Mélanie, a member of Passa Porta, explained.
'The idea is to encourage discovery'
“It is in a real continuity that the two events have been thought of, under a shared theme: that of 'Refuge',” the organisers specified. Several activities will be organised in the capital around this theme.
The authors will be welcomed in different places to help festivalgoers discover Brussels. “The idea is to encourage discovery,” Mélanie explained.