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A thousand women will be reading Tolstoy’s classic, Anna Karenina, over a period of twelve days at Utrecht Central Station, in the heart of the city. During this read-aloud marathon, the world classic will be read out loud in as many languages as possible. Each woman will read one page. Together with UN Women, the Anna Karenina Marathon devotes attention to UNESCO’s Global Goal 5: to empower all women and girls.

Wanted: a thousand women

With the spotlight on this great literary heroine, the ILFU organisation invites all women, friends, colleagues, sisters and Anna’s, to take part in this marathon, either individually or with a book club, company or organisation; all women can get involved. What is more, all participants can read in their preferred language, since the novel has been translated into more than fifty languages.

Join in! All women who want to get involved are welcome. Click here to sign up.

Michaël Stoker, director of the ILFU Festival explains, “A lot can be said about Tolstoy and women, but with Anna Karenina, he created one of the first female characters that put her own personal happiness above social conventions. Anna clearly did not only identify with the role assigned to her by society, that of wife and mother. Recent commotion shows that, almost a century and a half later, this is still a hot-button issue.”

The start of the marathon will be hosted by Hanneke Groenteman and you might see some other familiar faces along the road as well: Noraly Beijer, Victoria Koblenko and Anna Drijver will each read a page aloud during these two weeks!

About Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina was first published in book form 140 years ago. It is considered one of the greatest novels in world literature, because of Tolstoy’s masterful interweaving of different narrative threads. The story is about the hopeless infatuation of the protagonist, Anna Karenina, and her affair. Tolstoy sweeps the reader along on a journey of rumours and passion, honesty and decadence, and marriage and social status. Anna navigates between her roles as mistress, wife, mother, and prominent member of a society. Writers like Virginia Woolf and Vladimir Nabokov praised Tolstoy’s style and razor-sharp observations of people and society.

The most famous Dutch translation, by Wils Huisman, appeared in Van Oorschot Publishers’ Russian Library series in 1966. In 2017, a new translation into Dutch by Hans Boland was published (Athenaeum Publishers), which was received favourably. Anna Karenina has been filmed a number of times.

Collaboration with UN Women

For the marathon, the ILFU is working together with the Dutch branch of UN Women, the United Nations’ women’s rights organisation. As UNESCO City of Literature, Utrecht is committed to achieving the United Nations’ Global Goals through its literary activities. The Global Goals are seventeen specific goals that need to be achieved by 2030. The Anna Karenina Marathon devotes attention to Global Goal 5: to empower all women and girls.

The Anna Karenina Marathon is being held in collaboration with NS. Utrecht Central Station is the guest location for this event.

Writers and Artists:

Hanneke Groenteman

Saturday 15 September till Wednesday 26 September

Admission fees: Free
Category: ,

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Utrecht Centraal Station

3511 AX Utrecht