Details Announced for the 2016 Neustadt Festival

In News by Dennis Abrams

By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2

Neustadt

The magazine World Literature Today has announced the dates for the 2016 Neustadt Festival to be held at the University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus. Honoring the 2016 Neustadt International Prize for Literature winner, novelist and essayist Dubravka Ugrešić, the 2016 festival will be held October 26 to 28.

The festival will honor Dubravka–born in the former Yugoslavia and now living in Amsterdam after being exiled from Croatia—with a week of public readings, talks and presentations, educational workshops, and cultural celebrations related to Ugrešić’s works and heritage.

And in the fall of 2016, the university will offer a semester-long course focusing on the author, to be taught by Professor Emily Johnson, a scholar of Eastern European political rhetoric, cultural identity, and literature.

“The Neustadt course for 2016 will focus on Dubravka Ugrešić, who defines herself as a ‘citizen of literature’ rather than by association with an existing political party or group,” Johnson is quoted as saying.

“In her works, Ugrešić seeks to engage a worldwide audience in a discussion of global problems and themes. We will consider both her identity as an exile writer and the ways in which her works comment on world culture and politics today.”

Dubravka Ugrešić

Dubravka Ugrešić

Ugrešić is the 24th laureate and first female European winner of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. She was selected by a jury of nine international authors, who chose Ugrešić from a list of nominees at last year’s Neustadt Festival in October. Much of Ugrešić’s work focuses on the plight of refugees and the theme of exile, compelling topics that will add a timely dynamic to the festival’s discussions.

Festival highlights include:

  • Opening night reception featuring readings from Ugrešić and other noted artists
  • An original theatrical performance interpreting one of Ugrešić’s short stories, performed by students from the university’s Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts
  • A question-and-answer session with the author for area students
  • Panel workshops discussing the themes of Ugrešić’s works, particularly the nature of a life uprooted in light of the Syrian refugee crisis.

All festival events will be open to the public in addition to students from OU. Students from Denver’s Colorado Academy also will attend to participate in the Neustadt Festival.

In addition, the winner of the 2017 NSK Prize for Children’s Literature will also be announced. Since 2003, the NSK Neustadt Prize has been awarded every other year (in alternation with the Neustadt International Prize) to a living writer or author-illustrator in recognition of significant achievement in children’s or young-adult literature.

“Our organization is always excited and honored to host the winners of the two Neustadt Prizes,” said Robert Con Davis-Undiano, executive director of World Literature Today. “In an age of sound bites and short attention spans, these prizes constantly ask people to focus on the fundamental human values reflected in literature and the critical issues of our time that they explore.”

To learn more about the $50,000 Neustadt International Prize or $25,000 NSK Neustadt Prize, or to see the full calendar of events as details become available, click here.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.