FROM THE GUESTS OF THE FIRST FESTIVAL

“The Tbilisi Festival of Literature is a remarkable event. It gathers a truly global conversation, bringing together voices and perspectives on the relationship between literature and the communities that speak it. The dialogue fostered by the Writers’ House of Georgia is not some rarified, ivory tower abstraction; instead, it brings literature down to the ground, into the real lives of real people. I can think of no better venue for such a celebration than Tbilisi, with its rich national literary history and its august mother tongue. This literary festival helps all its participants—writers, readers, citizens—recognize their shared projects of witness and common understanding beyond borders and tribes. I can think of nothing more humane. It was my deep honor to participate.”

Kimberly Johnson (USA)

 

“The most moving thing that never leaves me till today is the feeling that Tbilisi is a text itself. A sort of a novel-city one picks from the most distant book-shelf in order to revive some pages of it in one’s mind. As soon as you open the book you are attached to it; and its streets are dusty like the pages of an old book; and poets resemble the crime-drama characters; and its women request to be addressed in rhymes. As soon as you are through with the novel you put it aside with the sense of regret. But you still keep it close within your reach forever.”

Serhiy Zhadan (Ukraine)

 

“The Festival in Georgia was really impressive and touching for me because very rarely I met in my life an audience so involved and attentive in a reading of poetry. Thanks to my translator Nunu Geladze I have been able to express deeply my idea of poetry and how it can be an oasis in the desert of contemporary society. Anyway I think that poetry can surpass every barrier of language and culture and organizing festival is a proof of resistance against a dominant thought that considers as “useless” art, poetry, culture, passion and dreams. So long life to your Festival!”

Claudio Pozzani (Italy)

 

“Beautiful, generous people (and all of them princesses and noblemen, and all of them relatives to each other), grandeur and ethereal beauty of mountains, wine made out of Mandelstamian “poetry grape flesh” (and the best wine is called “Usakhelouri”, meaning “nameless”), reading poetry under the vast skies, young listeners with their eyes wide open, rose bushes on ancient balconies, resembling the pretty women listening to serenades - this is how I see it, my Tbilisi Festival - if I am to capture it in a single happy smile.”

Vera Pavlova (USA)