Press Release

Press Release | Leipzig/Gütersloh, 05/26/2021

‘Blue Sofa’ Offers 50 Authors A Stage In Leipzig

Tomorrow marks the start of “Leipzig liest extra,” a virtual reading festival that will take the place of the cancelled Leipzig Book Fair. With appearances by more than 50 authors, Bertelsmann’s “#DasBlaueSofaDigital” is a central component of the event. The author talks – conducted without an audience – will be broadcast live and recorded.

Even though the Leipzig Book Fair has been cancelled again this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the traditional reading festival will still take place as “Leipzig liest extra,” including the well-known “Blue Sofa” events. The authors’ forum jointly hosted by Bertelsmann, ZDF, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, and 3sat will take place in Leipzig’s Congress Hall from tomorrow until Sunday. The Blue Sofa will also make a guest appearance at the Leipzig Regional Court on Thursday and Friday for “KrimiClub” events, and from Thursday to Saturday at the Ariowitschhaus for the “Jüdische Lebenswelten” (Jewish Contexts) events. All in all, more than 50 authors will take a seat on the Blue Sofa at the various locations. All talks will be conducted without an audience, but will be accompanied by cameras. They are open to the public and can be watched live at  . The hashtag “#DasBlaueSofaDigital” will thus be a central component of the “Leipzig liest extra” reading festival.

„We are pleased that, despite all the restrictions, we are able to offer a forum to more than 50 authors,” commented Karin Schlautmann, Head of Bertelsmann Corporate Communications. “The cancellation of the third book fair in a row is a painful blow to the literary scene. But the Blue Sofa remains a reliable constant and reaches a vast target audience on many channels. At the Leipzig Congress Hall alone, 44 authors will take a seat on the Blue Sofa to present their new books, including Christoph Hein, Dana Grigorcea, László F. Földényi, Thea Dorn, and Johny Pitts, as well as the nonfiction authors Wolfgang Schäuble, Sophie Passmann, Samy Molcho, Bénédicte Savoy and Alexander Graf Lambsdorff. The talks will be moderated by 16 presenters from ZDF, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and 3sat.

Since the Leipzig Book Fair Prize will be awarded via video stream this year, jury members Katrin Schumacher and Jens Bisky will take a seat on the sofa to give an insight into their work as judges for the prize. Among other things, they will comment on the accusation voiced by several U.S. and British literary scholars and authors that the German literary establishment “systemically” excludes Black people and writers of color. Two Leipzig Book Prize laureates – László Földényi (winner of the 2020 prize) and Johny Pitts (winner of the 2021 prize) – will talk about their award-winning books on the Blue Sofa at the presentation ceremony in Leipzig’s Nikolaikirche church on May 26.