Words of Alliance, Words of Defiance: Advocacy and Objections

International Literary Festival Erich Fried Days 2022


This year’s festival will take place—live—from March 30 to April 3, 2022 at the Literaturhaus Wien.

Literature thrives on exchange—all authors will be present at the festival if at all possible. We are looking forward to engaging conversations, captivating discussions, moving readings, a festival book table laden with great finds, standing in line for book signings, and more.

The motto of the upcoming International Literary Festival Erich Fried is Words of Alliance and Words of Defiance : Advocacy and Objections – hence the focus will be on contemporary literature that engages with the world around us in one way or another. We will hear from literary advocates who pour their passion into an issue, an idea, or a vision. Countering them, or sometimes side-by-side, we will hear voices of dissent: the critics, doubters, and cautioners.

The final alliances of the International Literary Festival Erich Fried 2022 are, unreservedly, with words themselves and with freedom of intellect. In the posthumously published fragment The Advocates (Der Fürsprecher) Franz Kafka wrote on alliances: “Yet if it were not a law court why was I searching for an advocate here? Because I was searching for an advocate everywhere; he is needed everywhere, if anything less in court than elsewhere, …”1 

Nobel prizewinner Herta Müller will open the festival with a keynote entitled Vor der Tür saß mal der Zufall (Chance once sat at my door), composed especially for the Literary Festival Erich Fried 2022.
Around 20 contemporary authors from Europe and overseas have been invited, all of whom deal with pressing sociopolitical issues in their texts. There will be book launches – in the main Austrian premieres – lectures, and discussions. The program also includes a large poetry section, a concert, and the by now traditional focus on graphic novels, boasting international stars of the world of comics.

2021 Erich Fried Prize for Frank Witzel
The festival closes with the awarding of the Erich Fried Prize 2021. Funded by the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, Civil Service, and Sports and chosen this year by juror Ingo Schulze, the 15,000 euro-prize will go to the German author Frank Witzel (Die Erfindung der Roten Armee Fraktion durch einen manisch-depressiven Teenager im Sommer 1969, Matthes und Seitz 2015) (The invention of the Red Army Faction by a manic-depressive teenager in the summer of 1969).

Young Student Literary Competition
For the fourth time, the Erich Fried Literary Festival is hosting a literary competition for Austrian schools. Young students ages 14 to 20 below university level were invited to participate.

Anne Zauner, festival director

1 Franz Kafka, The Advocates, trans. Tania and James Stern, in The Complete Short Stories, ed. Nahum N. Glatzer (New York: Schocken, 1995), 449–451, 450.