Focus Bibliodiversity

Grafik Bibliodiversität
© Julia Praschma

As with biodiversity, its counterpart in nature, bibliodiversity is also about species diversity. Incidentally, the term originated as "bibliodiversidad" in the Latin American-speaking world of the 1990s.

Literature is an ecosystem. One in which dynamic communities are made up of books rather than plants, of poets and translators rather than animals, of publishers, blogs, and magazines rather than microorganisms - and their environment, in turn, is made up of ISBN numbers, bookstores and booksellers, of concerns and desires, of writing styles and voices of those who are not necessarily at the center of society.

The Center for Literature is committed to bibliodiversidad, the protection of species. It clearly sides with the small, those who care about words and sentences, not profit margins. Let's just look at history: a book with 50 copies sold can become world literature, while the one with 50,000 disappears.

"The uniform-looking tomatoes in the supermarket are like the uniform-looking books that come out of giant publishing houses," writes Australian Susan Hawthorne about the lack of "ecology of publishing." And, "To venture as a reader only to the front of a bookstore is akin to a tourist visiting Europe, Asia, or Africa in five days!"

So, in an ongoing series, CfL will look at the practice of publishing and magazine-making, at the book as a work of art rather than a product, at what biotopes contemporary literature can thrive in - even if it initially appears to be a weed or some other form of failure. In other words: independent publishers, magazines, initiatives present themselves at Hülshoff Castle or at the Rüschhaus.

The big question of what books and the texts in them can look like in times of Amazon and digitization finds as many different answers in the work of the CfL as there are projects. From feminist magazines to multilingual editions to web blogs with poetry in easy language or poetry books that look like programming codes. And even are!