Since 2002, the city of Echternach, the Ministry of Culture and the CNL have organised a writer-in-residence program for children's or young adult fiction called 'Struwwelpippi visits the Dancing Procession of Echternach'. The aim of the event is to promote a love of reading among children by giving them the opportunity of meeting a renowned author and discovering new stories.
What is a Writing Residency?
A writing residency generally comes with a stipend, which is given to the chosen author. It stipulates that the writer has to spend a certain amount of time in a specific place, involving him- or herself in the cultural life of the host city.
For the Struwelpippi residency, only authors writing in German are eligible. The author will spend a month living and writing in Echternach in a typical multilingual (Luxembourgish, French and German) Luxembourgish environment. A late gothic Patrician house is put at his or her disposal for a month, with a stipend of €5,000 for utilities and travel.
During the residency, the author participates in cultural events. He or she is expected to organise a public event in Echternach, set up readings in Luxembourgish schools, discuss young adult fiction with teachers and make contact with local authors and the Luxembourgish media. The residency, especially the setting, is also expected to be reflected in the author’s work.
Echternach, home to 5,000 inhabitants, is located in the heart of Europe and is one of its oldest Christian and cultural centres. In 698, the Irish itinerant monk Willibrord (658-739) founded an abbey in Echternach, which established an important scriptorium in the 10th and 11th century. It is in Echternach that illuminated manuscripts such as the Codex Aureus Epternacensis were produced by monks. Echternach lies on the Via Epternacensis between the university cities of Luxembourg, Metz, Trier, Aachen and Liège.
As the residency takes place in May and June, the author has the possibility of attending the Echternach Music Festival and, more importantly, the Dancing Procession honouring Saint Willibrord. The Procession was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010.
Where does the name Struwwelpippi come from?
The name of the writer-in-residency programme, Struwwelpippi, is derived from two classic children’s book titles: Struwwelpeter (The Shockheaded Peter) by Heinrich Hoffmann and Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. A female and male character were chosen to fit either a female or male author. The wide gap between the didactic and moral poems of The Shockheaded Peter and the unconventional and lighthearted adventures of Pippi Longstocking highlights the great variety of children’s literature.