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(c) Dario Damiano

Mission Statement

Come as You Aren’t (Yet).

Burg Hülshoff – Center for Literature understands literature as a celebration and as a dialogue; a dialogue with the other arts, with science and with societal discussions, groups and projects.

As an interdisciplinary institution, the CfL brings literature together with film, dance, music, media and digital art, architecture and other art forms. As producing institution, it creates connections between local, regional and international writers, other artists and the audience.

Audience and Public Space

Together with our guests, we would like to explore what the public dimension of literature could be today: should there still even be readings today? And - if so - how exactly should they be realized? How can we discover the poetry in lines and images, in sounds and bodies, in movements and in the World Wide Web (the Internet)? How does literature change the moment we stop reading it silently but instead publicly? What could a poetry of the public and public space be like?

Two centuries ago, Burg Hülshoff was not only the birthplace of the great poet Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, it was also the birthplace of outstanding poetry and a keen reflection upon the world. During the time of Annette Droste-Hülshoff, in the turbulent era of the early 19th century, the castle also served as a place of refuge for the family.

Today, in a society that is democratic and diverse (and simultaneously exposed to confusion and complexity), the castle has transformed into a public and open space. The Center for Literature is a laboratory that unites artistic and social processes.
Construction and Presentation

By the year 2022, using funds from the German Federal National Urban Planning Project, the castle will become a state-of-the-art event venue with overnight accommodations. Parallel to this, the team and the audience will build the Center for Literature together. A Droste Research Institute is also planned.

An essential component of the Center for Literature is a cooperation with Kölner Kunsthochschule für Medien (KHM). Students within the literary writing course of study will come to Burg Hülshoff, write their texts here, participate in workshops and develop event formats together with the Burg Hülshoff team.

Burg Hülshoff and its entire estate, as well as Rüschhaus, the later home of Annette von Droste zu Hülshoff, will become the site for performances, text concerts, experimental tours, literary double and triple features, festivals, conferences, workshops, digital explorations and much more beginning in the late summer of 2018. Within a network with literary institutions, museums, sociocultural initiatives and web projects, a multitude of formats will be created that have seldom occurred within German literature until now.

Themes and Thoughts

In doing so, the Center for Literature follows themes that also drove Annette von Droste-Hülshoff. These include: the difference between city and countryside, the shrinking and growing of the world, multilingualism, nature and its changes, faith, welfare, magic and a few more.

We do not, however, seek to hold on to Droste-Hülshoff, we do not want to suffocate her with our presence. We are, of course, certainly not like Droste-Hülshoff. But sometimes when her poetry hits us like a bolt of lightning (at places we did not know before), the words of Droste-Hülshoff are present for a moment...and gone again the next. After all, there is always a gap, always distance. And as long as there is this difference, we can look each other in the eyes.

That is: there is nothing that already has to be known. There is everything to experience - for us, with us and at our home.

Burg Hülshoff – Center for Literature invites all to contemplate about the present - and about our shared future. Sometimes with words from past times. Sometimes with words that are precisely TODAY, NOW, HERE. Sometimes with words that still have to be invented - somewhere between those we already believe we have. After all:


„The language of the world can only be translation“

— François Jullien