World Writers' Festival

Columbia Global Centers | Europe

2015 Edition

Lovers of literature will find everything they need at the Columbia University — Bibliotheque nationale de France World Writers' Festival/Festival des Écrivains du Monde, taking place in Paris from Sept. 25 to 27, 2015.

With 17 authors participating in events across Paris, this year's festival is a literary feast for anybody who loves the written word. Whether it's a conversation with Man Booker Prize winner A.S. Byatt, a reading with Australian poet Les Murray, a discussion with award-winning writer and Syrian exile Samar Yazbek, a tribute to David Foster Wallace, or a celebration of language at the Translation Slam, the program offers a lineup of events with internationally renowned authors whose works and genres are as diverse as their backgrounds.

Israeli short-story writer Etgar Keret, Irish novelist and essayist Edna O'Brien, French novelist Lydie Salvayre, Mexican poet and novelist Carmen Boullosa, Chinese short-story writer and memoirist Yiyun Li, and Bosnian novelist Aleksandar Hemon are just a few of the immensely talented participating writers.


2014 Edition: Writers of India

This celebration of world literature is the result of an innovative partnership between Columbia University and the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

The second year of this exciting initiative brings together more than a dozen authors Sept. 17 to 21 in Paris for Writers of India, featuring Columbia's Akeel Bilgrami, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Vishakha N. Desai, along with Urvashi Butalia, Vikram Chandra, Amit Chaudhuri, Kiran Desai, Uday Prakash, Salma, Sudeep Sen, Akhil Sharma, Geetanjali Shree, Indra Sinha, Shumona Sinha, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Jeet Thayil. 

Watch a collection of stories and videos from the festival and see more information on the festival web site.


2013 Edition

Five days, 28 writers from 18 countries, 30 events and 6,000 people in attendance add up to what organizers are calling a successful first edition of the World Writers’ Festival.

The Festival was hosted by Columbia Global Centers | Europe, with events held in several venues throughout Paris and at the Center’s Reid Hall. The moveable festival traveled to Lyon on Monday, Sept. 23, for its final two days.

“The strategic objective of the Festival was to announce—to Paris, France, and Europe—that Columbia is a now a major 'player' on the Continent,” according to Paul LeClerc, Director of Columbia Global Centers | Europe. “Through elegant and meaningful partnerships with other world-class organizations such as the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Columbia and the Paris Center can use its convening power to create globally-relevant, cultural programming for a very broad public.”

The Festival welcomed students, Columbia alumni, members of the press, and Columbia Global Centers delegates from around the world. Student volunteers from the Mailman-EHESP Master of Public Health at Reid Hall also contributed to make this event a resounding success.  

See all the videos from the inaugural World Writers' Festival here.


Globalization and Literature

Our distinguished panel of special guests will discuss the effects of globalization on their reading, their work, and their interpretation of the world.


Rewriting History

Join two distinguished writers of history who use very different research methods for their pioneering work. Urvashi Butalia and Sanjay Subrahmanyam in conversation with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, and founding member of Columbia’s Institute for Comparative Literature and Society.

Salman Rushdie in Conversation – World Writers' Festival

Salman Rushdie discusses his most recent book, Joseph Anton, which describes his years in hiding.

World Writers' Festival Opening Night Reception at Reid Hall

Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger opened the World Writers' Festival on Sept. 20 at a reception attended by more than 200 people at Reid Hall in Paris, home of Columbia Global Centers | Europe.

Reading Around the World - World Writers' Festival Opening Night

Center Director Paul LeClerc welcomed guests and led off the opening night event, "Reading Around the World" at the Irish Cultural Center in the Latin Quarter on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013. The reading featured Antonio Skármeta, Salman Rushdie, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ma Jian, David Grossman, Elif Shafak, Ahdaf Soueif and John Banville.