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In Cologne, ideas usually emerge over a glass or six of kölsch beer; this one was born in an ice-cream parlour. The lit.COLOGNE has been held every year since its inception in 2001. This international literature festival enhances the conventional reading format with discussions, conversations and theatrical and cabaret forms.

With up to 175 events and a separate children’s programme (lit.kid.COLOGNE), lit.COLOGNE is one of Europe’s largest literature festivals. The events take place in theatres and other venues throughout the entire city.

In terms of its programme, lit.COLOGNE is unique because of the encounters it creates between authors and artists from all disciplines, events on political and journalistic issues and specially conceived and written programmes on literary topics. As a private-sector cultural event, lit.COLOGNE is financed primarily through the commitment of its sponsors.

lit.COLOGNE has been recognised with numerous awards:

In 2006, it was entered in the Guinness World Records for the world’s largest German class, held in the sold-out Lanxess-Arena.

In 2010 and 2013, lit.COLOGNE won the Cologne Culture Prize for the best cultural event of the year 2009 and 2012.

In 2012, it was awarded the “Germany at Its Best Prize” of the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia for becoming Europe’s largest literature festival.

In 2013, lit.COLOGNE was presented with the “Ohrenorden der Bürgerschaft Köln”.

Also in 2013, the festival received a commendation from the City of Cologne in connection with the Cologne Innovation Prize for Disability Policy for its efforts to make the literature festival barrier-free.

In 2016, lit.COLOGNE won the Cologne Culture Prize for the best cultural event of the year 2015.

lit.COLOGNE trailer: