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Literary dialogue is inevitably a dialogue between cultures. In the most literal sense, this dialogue is conducted and engaged in by the authors of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm in a written, verbal mode of communication which supercedes cultural limitations. Since the inception of the Künstlerprogramm, guests such as Ingeborg Bachmann, Wystan H. Auden, Michel Butor, Susan Sontag, Carlos Fuentes, Juan Goytisolo, Breyten Breytenbach and Mario Vargas Llosa, Gao Xingjian → fig. 1, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Viktor Pelewin, Juri Andruchowytsch, Slavenka Drakulić and many others have come to think of Berlin as a second home and have contributed to the cultivation of an expanding network of contacts and partnerships around the world.

The dialogue between cultures always necessitates a better understanding of and insight into the corresponding side. Cees Nooteboom's → fig. 2 Berlin Notes about the state of mind of the Germans at the time of unication – the analysis of an astute observer from outside – impressively illuminates the new beginning at the focal point of Veranstaltungen. This new beginning necessitated shifts in emphasis on the part of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm: in the years following 1989, the majority of guests came from the former Soviet Union, Romania and former Czechoslovakia. Among these artists who until then were restricted from travelling were Gennadij Ajgi, Vladimir Sorokin, Lev Rubinstein, Ivan Wernisch, Miroslav Holub, Gellu Naum, Ana Blandiana und Mircea Dinescu . For a long time and despite all politically related difficulties before 1989, the literature program has been a central meeting point for artists from East and West. As early as 1963, one of the very first guests, the Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz , came to Berlin and wrote his Berlin diary. Others followed – Sławomir Mrożek, Tadeusz Różewicz, Stanisław Lem, Zbigniew Herbert and Ryszard Kapuściński.

Hungary’s special role within the Berliner Künstlerprogramm was described poignantly by its guest György Dalos: during the time of the Iron Curtain, the Künstlerprogramm had been "the most important representative of unofficial Hungarian culture abroad". Hungarian contemporary literature was represented by George Tabori, György Kónrad, Péter Esterházy, Miklós Mészöly, Péter Nádas, and the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature, Imre Kertész → fig. 3+4.
To introduce its guests, the Berliner Künstlerprogramm organises a regular series of readings at the daadgalerie in Berlin and, in cooperation with numerous partners, at other venues throughout Germany and abroad (Warsaw, Budapest, Amsterdam a.o.). Former guests have frequently enjoyed returning to Berlin to attend readings. Hence the inauguration of the "Wahlheimat Berlin" readings series, featuring writers who have adopted Berlin as their hometown, in 2004 at the Deutsches Historisches Museum → fig. 5.

For guests of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm, being in Berlin signifies a time of contemplation during which they can write, stroll through the city, collect impressions, and make contact with publishers and other writers. Not only do guests participate actively in Berlin's literary life – for example, in the Poetry Festival organised by the Literaturwerkstatt and the International Literary Festival Berlin – they also can be found at the two major German book fairs, and at readings and discussions in literature centres, festivals and universities throughout the country → fig. 6.

The Berlin residency forms the bridge of contacts with publishers that leads for many guests to their initial publication in the German language. One of the main concerns of the Künstlerprogramm's literature section is to promote and support translations. To document the work of its literary guests, the Berliner Künstlerprogramm began to publish a limited edition in conjunction with the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin in 1974. In 1990, Aufbau-Verlag continued that tradition with its series "Text und Porträt". In 2000, the Berliner Künstlerprogramm initiated its own book series "Spurensicherung" (securing of evidence). The name is synonymous with its aim: to preserve traces by authors from around the world who have lived in Berlin – with special attention to the kinds of texts that do not receive the attention they deserve in the commercial literary scene: poetry, essays and stories.  Authors include Memo Anjel, Bora Cosic, László F. Földényi, Viktor Pelewin, Olga Tokarczuk → fig. 8, Gao Xingjian, the recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize for Literature, and Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Eugenides. As of 2006, the volumes in the "Spurensicherung" series are being published by the renowned publishing house Matthes & Seitz Berlin.

Offering help and work opportunities to authors who are threatened and persecuted in their home countries remains, despite all political changes, one of the most prominent goals of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm. This offer was never limited to the context of the problematic relationship between East and West. During the time of the Greek military junta, Vassilis Vassilikos and Alexander Skinas, came to Berlin, Antonio Skármeta, came from Chile, and in 1991, some of the Chinese artists who were forced to leave their country in 1989 joined their Berlin colleagues for the interdisciplinary "Lichtfluß" festival.

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