Bernardine Evaristo making the keynote speech. Photo sourced from her Instagram.

The Resonanzen Schwarzes Literaturfestival took place from Thursday, May 30 to Sunday, June 2 and celebrated Black-German language literature. The festival is part of the larger, annual Ruhrfestival, which takes place in the city of Recklinghausen, an hour’s drive from Dusseldorf.

This four-day literature festival, focused solely on black German authors writing in the German language, was founded in 2022 by the writer Patricia Eckermann and the writer Sharon Dodua Otoo who is from the UK but has been resident in Germany since 2006. The idea behind Resonance – A Festival of Black German-Language Fiction was to show the traditions, influences, and references that inspire authors from the African diaspora writing in German.

Building on Black German-language performance and literary traditions that date back to the beginning of the 20th century, “Resonanzen” is the first multi-day literature festival curated in collaboration between Black cultural creators and a major European cultural institution.

The opening keynote speech on the first evening was given by Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo. During the festival days, six newcomer authors read the short stories they wrote for the festival. After each reading, literary experts Dr. Elisa Diallo, Dr. Ibou Coulibaly Diop, Dr. Dominique Haensell and Aminata Cissé Schleicher analyzes the texts in terms of connecting themes, metaphors, motifs, narrative forms, and comparison with texts by other Black writers

In addition to the readings and discussions, experts from Germany and abroad shed light on the history and facets of the German-speaking Black Diaspora in keynote speeches and panels. These talks demonstrated the appreciation that Black German-language prose enjoys in English-speaking countries as well as the question of how this could be achieved in Germany.

Check out some of the highlights in the photos below: