Press Release

Press Release | Güterloh/Berlin, 04/05/2023

Blue Sofa Returns with New Concept and Literary Diversity

  • Author’s forum becomes more international, digital, and networked
  • Six venues already set for 2023, with more events in the pipeline
  • Under Bertelsmann’s auspices, the Blue Sofa remains cross-genre and open to all publishers

Gütersloh/Berlin, April 5, 2023 – The Blue Sofa (Das Blaue Sofa) returns in 2023 with a new concept. Going forward, Bertelsmann will make the successful format more digital and international, relying more on partnerships. For instance, all events will be extended into the digital space to reach a broader audience. Collaborations with festivals and various institutions will ensure that more international authors and topics find a stage on the Blue Sofa. Initial steps have already been taken. The popular author’s forum remains open to all publishers, with a lineup reflecting the full diversity of literature and designed to appeal to everyone who loves reading.

The Blue Sofa is one of the longest-lived and most successful literary formats in the German-speaking world. Since its inception in 2000, more than 3,100 authors have taken a seat on it to present their new books at book fairs and beyond. In recent years, the format has been jointly organized by Bertelsmann, ZDF, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and 3sat; since 2023, Bertelsmann has continued to run The Blue Sofa under its own responsibility.

The 2023 program (as of April 2023)

+++ April 18, 2023 – The Blue Sofa at Theater Gütersloh +++
On April 18, 2023, The Blue Sofa welcomes the renowned medical doctor and author Prof. Dr. Dietrich Grönemeyer to Theater Gütersloh. The well-known scientist talks to presenter Ariane Binder (3sat) about his current book “Medizin verändern – Heilung braucht Zuwendung, Vertrauen und Mut zu neuen Wegen” (Changing Medicine – Healing requires attention, trust and the courage to try new approaches; Ludwig) and about his vision of a medicine that puts people first.

Bertelsmann organizes The Blue Sofa Gütersloh in cooperation with Kulturräume Gütersloh twice a year, in spring and fall. In November 2023, the event will take place in Gütersloh for the tenth time. Recent guests include Pinar Atalay, Roland Kaiser and Dörte Hansen.

+++ April 27/28, 2023 – The Blue Sofa at the Leipzig Book Fair +++
On April 27 and 28, 2023, The Blue Sofa will be hosting the KrimiClub (Crime Club) at Leipzig District Court as part of the Leipzig Reads reading festival and in cooperation with the Kunst & Justiz association. On each of the two evenings, four authors will present their exciting new publications, provide insights into their writing, read from their current book, and demonstrate the diversity of the genre.

On Thursday, The Blue Sofa welcomes authors Sabine Thiesler (“Verschwunden,” Heyne), Frank Goldammer (“Die Verbrechen der anderen,” dtv) Monika Feth (“Und du wirst lächelnd sterben,” cbj) and Jan Beck (“Die Spur,” Penguin) to the district court. Bernhard Jaumann (“Banksy und der blinde Fleck,” Galiani), Marc Raabe (“Der Morgen,” Ullstein), Frauke Scheunemann (“Mord am Haff,” Scherz), and Bianca Iosivoni (“Sorry,” Penguin) follow on Friday. Michael Kramers (ZDF) will moderate the events on both evenings.

+++ May 11, 2023 – The Blue Sofa at the Kultursymposium Weimar +++
From May 10 to 12, 2023, the Goethe-Institut will host the Kultursymposium Weimar under the heading “Eine Frage des Vertrauens” (A Matter of Trust). On May 11, 2023, The Blue Sofa will be a guest at the study center of the Herzogin Anna Amalia Library as part of the symposium. Moderators Miriam Zeh (Deutschlandfunk Kultur) and Silke Müller (Klassik Stiftung Weimar) will speak with authors Alice Hasters (“Was weiße Menschen nicht über Rassismus hören wollen, aber wissen sollen,” hanserblau), Irene Diwiak (“Sag Alex, er soll nicht auf mich warten,” C. Bertelsmann), Fikri Anıl Altıntaş (“Im Morgen wächst ein Birnbaum,” btb) and Constantin Schreiber (“Glück im Unglück. Wie ich trotz schlechter Nachrichten optimistisch bleibe,” Hoffmann und Campe) about the facets of trust that play a role in their current books.

+++ September 7, 2023 – The Blue Sofa at the berlin international literature festival +++
On September 7, for the first time Bertelsmann will open its premises at Unter den Linden 1 for the berlin international literature festival (ilb), which takes place from September 6 to 16, 2023. For an entire day, the public will be able to meet renowned and up-and-coming authors from German-speaking countries and beyond, who will be there to present their books on the Blue Sofa.

+++ October 9, 2023 – The Blue Sofa and the Frankfurt Book Fair 2023 +++
On October 9, 2023, the warm-up for the Frankfurt Book Fair will once again be held at Bertelsmann Unter den Linden 1. Together with Frankfurt Book Fair Director Juergen Boos, Bertelsmann will welcome the guest country Slovenia and its authors to the Blue Sofa in Berlin. And the OPEN BOOKS reading festival in Frankfurt will also open with a Blue Sofa event again on the Tuesday of the fair, to celebrate the opening of the 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair.

+++ The Blue Sofa at the Pierre Werner Institute in Luxembourg +++
After last year’s successful premiere, The Blue Sofa will again visit Luxembourg in 2023, this time at the Franco-German-Luxembourgian cultural institute Pierre Werner in Neumünster Abbey. Well-known German-language and international authors will enter into conversation with the presenters and the audience against a historical backdrop. The exact date will be announced in due course.

About Bertelsmann
Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company that operates in about 50 countries around the world. It includes the entertainment group RTL Group, the trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the music company BMG, the service provider Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group and Bertelsmann Investments, an international network of funds. The company has 165,000 employees worldwide and generated revenues of €20.2 billion in the 2022 financial year. Bertelsmann stands for creativity and entrepreneurship. This combination promotes first-class media content and innovative service solutions that inspire customers around the world. Bertelsmann aspires to achieve climate neutrality by 2030.