A graphic with two abstract yellow figures on a purple background. One figure is holding a book, the other is wearing headphones.
© Ronak Jundi
A graphic with two abstract yellow figures on a purple background. One figure is holding a book, the other is wearing headphones.
Thematic Focus

Performative Book Fair

Hamburg is turning over new pages: The port city now has a book fair! Over four days, in different spaces, we let literature and publishing meet methods of the performance world: The first Hamburg Performative Book Fair to turn the literary business inside out wants to try out how, beyond capital pressure and bestseller lists, power imbalances and exclusionary codes, another reading, another speaking about texts, another writing, another holding on to and passing on of experience and knowledge can be practiced. Even if the end of the printed book is prophesied on many sides – it is still valid for the time being: Those who write (or sign up), remain. Therefore we ask in installations, lectures, conversations and interventions: Who would publish what and how, if there were actually freer access to it? What political-progressive clout can be developed in speculation and storytelling? Do we need literature to make revolution? What does an anti-capitalist literary enterprise of the future look like, and what ten books do we use to build the new world after the apocalypse? And: what if no book fair invites a Nazi anymore? Everyone else is more than welcome here – niche lovers and lazy readers, book professionals and performance fans – to over/write, critique and listen.

Discourse and performance with: Alison Kafer, Ama Josephine Budge, Christiane Frohmann, Dîlan Sina Balhan, Duygu Ağal, Eliah/Akademie der Unvernunft, Elisa Aseva, Georgina Fakunmoju, Gilda Sahebi, Hannah C. Rosenblatt, James A. Sullivan, Jeanette Oholi, Jen Deerinwater, Johannes Tesfai, Maha El-Hissy, Mara Mills, Marcel Inhoff, Mareice Kaiser, Mariam Ibrahim, Millicent Adjei, Naomi Odhiambo, Natali Bhalchandra Abhyankar, Nhi Le, Patience Amankwah, Raphaëlle Red, Rebecca Sanchez, Sarah Bekambo, Sarah Fartuun Heinze, Sarah Rudolph, Sophie Sumburane, Stefanie-Lahya Aukongo, Svenja Reiner, Tejan Lamboi, Teresa Blankmeyer-Burke, Vera Hofmann, Veronika Zablotsky.

The book fair is curated by Pajam Masoumi and Alina Buchberger, with curatorial advice from Sharon Dodua Otoo. It takes place in cooperation with the Fasiathek and the Buchhandlung im Schanzenviertel. Numerous contributions will be digitally streamed as well as interpreted.

We appreciate if you do a Corona rapid test at home and wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces at the Book Fair. Those with cold symptoms: Instead of on site, you can take part in the discourse events via Zoom.

Dear visitors, during the book fair, Finja (photography) and Memesh (social media) are assigned by us to take photos and short videos in the foyer. You will wear a badge around your neck. If you don't want to be recorded or photographed, feel free to tell them directly or report to the Infopoint. Have fun at the Book Fair!

Thursday: Occasion & Analysis

Why are we doing a Performative Book Fair at all, what's different about it, and what's wrong with the status quo? To kick things off, the audience will be invited into the thinking behind the concept of the fair – observations and necessity for a new form of fair. We open the book fair on Thursday with an anti-book fair manifesto and a panel highlighting exclusions in the literary world.

Friday: New Mainstream

On the second day of the fair we will try out a new literary mainstream. The Fasiathek – reference library from a Black perspective – invites you to a get-together in its own premises (Fuxkaserne) at noon to talk about the state of Black literature in Germany over snacks and drinks. In the evening, an online panel will take place in cooperation with New York University on the occasion of the publication "Crip Authorship", sharing perspectives on textual aesthetics, disability and authorship. At prime time we will meet at Kampnagel or in the live stream for the "Kritikabeln Queertett", the popular headline of a German literature TV show in search of ways to talk about literature in a multi-perspective way...

Saturday: Speculate to Revolutionise

We are not infallible ourselves, but we want to change something. Not everything that we take as our banner works - but there's plenty of reason to hold the flag high. On Saturday it will be vulnerable, dreamy and angry: What if? And what do we do if it doesn't work? In the morning, actors in literary production are invited to internal and self-critical networking: What do they fail at, where do they look for advice and feedback? In the early evening, the Fasiathek will provide an insight into the life and writing of the Afro-German activist, songwriter and author Fasia Jansen, who lived in Hamburg as a teenager during the Nazi regime and was involved in protests and workers' strikes throughout her life. This will be followed by a panel discussion on speculative writing and its real political potentials from a marginalized perspective. After the long day, we transition into the "Long Night of Revolutionary Literature": experts and audience meet in the space to talk about the relations between writing and revolutionizing from different experiences.

Sonntag: Collective Organising

The last day of the book fair makes room for joint organizing and future plans. After two impulse lectures on ideas for the anti-capitalist literary business of the future, we move into a second internal networking space for literary workers of all professions: What is there to demand politically? What self-organization is already there, what is missing? Meanwhile, the audience is invited to follow a collective reading format. We meet again for the final panel discussion on storytelling as a political practice: telling many stories, in one's own aesthetic and language, collectively, multi-perspectively and self-determined – this remains one of the most important political tools for emancipation.

Supported by Goethe Institut Hamburg, Kulturbehörde Hamburg – Elbkulturfonds and ACT - Art, Climate, Transition.

In Cooperation with Fasiathek/Arca e.V. and Buchhandlung im Schanzenviertel.

Curation: Pajam Masoumi, Alina Buchberger / Produktion management: Johanna Thomas / Curatorial advice: Sharon Dodua Otoo / Stage: Jo Landt / Stage Assistance: Daniela Aparicio Ugalde / Graphic&Marketing: Ronak Jundi / Social Media: Brenda Geckil / Consulting Book Fair Concept: Christiane Frohmann