The 2023 edition of the Alpine Convention Reading Mountains Festival unfolded with around 100 events held across the Alps and beyond in celebration of International Mountain Day, 11 December. This edition showcased an array of activities, readings, film screenings, and discussions that engaged communities and celebrated the rich cultural and literary heritage of the Alps.
This year’s Reading Mountains Festival featured 45 events in Slovenia, 29 in Italy, 12 in France, 10 in Austria, and many more in Switzerland, Germany, and Liechtenstein, as well as far-reaching corners of the globe, such as Nepal, Iran, and Serbia. Below is a short overview of some of these numerous events – see here for the full overview!
As in previous years, the Alpine Convention Infopoints were very active partners in the Reading Mountains Festival, organising one or more activities.
In Slovenia, the Tolmin Infopoint organised three events in the Upper Soča Valley, ranging from a presentation on community cheese-making to a literary evening with Reinhold and Diane Messner, authors of a new book “Images of Meaning”. The Mojstrana Infopoint offered seven reading circles throughout the year, giving participants the opportunity to explore the various genres of mountaineering literature. Led by renowned Slovenian editors and writers, these events fostered a healthy attitude towards nature, critical thinking, and intergenerational cooperation.
The Villach Infopoint in Austria invited Sieglind Demus, Carinthian Literature Prize winner, and Lado Jakša, jazz musician, to present the interactive “Overwriting borders” at the Dobratsch Nature Park. The presentation combined texts, images, and sounds, followed by a festive get-together. An event by our newest Infopoint Ötscher-Tormäuer explored regional legends and myths surrounding the Ötscher mountain. A reading, accompanied by discussions, stimulated interactions with the local audience and a winter farmers' market offered regional products for sale.
The Chamonix Infopoint, in collaboration with the Lire et faire lire association, turned International Mountain Day into a day of readings for students at the Jean Constantin d'Argentière school. The event celebrated the goals of the Alpine Convention – namely the protection and sustainable development of the Alps – through the reading of selected books.
The three Italian Infopoints also organised various events: the Grand Paradis National Park Infopoint in Cogne hosted a “Reading Mountains Corner” where Alpine literature was showcased in an immersive experience, inviting visitors to explore videos, books, and virtual reality (VR) experiences. The Morbegno Infopoint engaged the children of local schools in a morning reading session, followed by an afternoon conference at the convent of St. Anthony. The conference delved into the memories of an inhabitant from the region, providing historical, geographical, and literary insights. For the sixth time, the Domodossola Infopoint organised the Reading Mountain Infopoint Award which honours narrative texts on the mountain theme by middle and high school students. The event included presentations and discussions with notable figures, promoting the theme of Alpine literature and its impact on the quality of life in the Alps.
The Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention also co-organised several events in the cities where it is located. The Bolzano/Bozen (IT) operational branch office hosted three unmissable experiences, including a Restorative Yoga and Meditation practice, a book presentation by Flavio Pintarelli, and a screening of the film “The eight mountains” based on Paolo Cognetti's novel and awarded with the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
In Innsbruck, a reading of Arno Camenisch's book “The last snow” was organised in cooperation with the Tyrolia Bookshop and the Interreg Alpine Space project BeyondSnow,. A panel discussion with the author, experts, and Deputy Secretary General of the Alpine Convention Wolfger Mayrhofer focused on the challenges of declining snow cover in the Alps and potential solutions.
The Reading Mountains Festival also travelled beyond the Alps. The Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Tehran (Iran) organised the “Reading Mountains around the World” event, bringing together literature from various countries with mountainous regions. The event, taking part in the framework of the Slovenian Presidency of the Alpine Convention, was a celebration of cultural and linguistic diversity across the globe.
In Nepal, the “Alps meet the Hindu Kush Himalaya” exhibition presented the life of women in mountain farming through photos and cultural juxtapositions highlighting the parallels in time and space in both mountain regions.
This was just a selection of the many events that happened under the umbrella of the ninth edition of the Reading Mountains Festival. As the curtain falls on this year’s Festival, the Alpine Convention expresses its warmest gratitude to partners, authors, artists, and the communities involved! The Festival reaffirms our shared commitment to sustainable development and the protection of these extraordinary mountain landscapes.