The Festival of Hope, a global initiative of Versopolis, was launched in a situation where the connection between literary creators and readers, as well the global exchange of ideas and content was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our main idea was to create a bridge between continents and cultures, while giving a clear signal to the widest global community that poetry has no boundaries, that it can bring hope even in times of crisis.

Acknowledging the fact that many organizations and festivals had to adapt their programmes or reschedule their activities, in 2020 we formed the Global Poetry Initiative of Hope, sending an invitation to the whole global community to participate in our virtual festival. We offer an online platform to festivals and organizations to present their past and current creations. The response in 2020 far exceeded our expectations and the festival, which was supposed to take place between 23rd and 30th April 2020, was extended until July. In our programme we hosted more than 94 events by institutions from all continents, over 500 authors and artists and succeeded in delivering diverse literary creativity in different forms (video readings, films, art works and virtual discussions), a laboratory of the most innovative approaches, to an international public.

Together we have proven that when the system shuts down, people are still able to recognize the important value of culture and art. The unexpected response to the first edition of the festival, encouraged us to continue with the second edition of the Festival of Hope, which will take place between 21st of January and 28th of February and call a special attention to the ability to tell the truth, to speak up and to be heard. With the slogan “Speaking up!” we are addressing the global community to share inspiring artistic ways of speaking up and telling the truth, regardless of obstacles, especially since art and literature play a crucial role in lending a voice to the oppressed, the weak and the excluded. At the festival we wish to support valuable artistic reactions that can reach people and raise awareness.

The second edition's focus is on the geographical area of Eastern and Central Europe, the Caucasus, the Balkans and Turkey. Current social and political challenges will be addressed in a series of curated virtual round tables with international speakers.

At Versopolis we believe that establishing a dialogue can be the answer to the current crisis. Our main goal is to show that in spite of everything there is always hope.

Our open call: https://www.versopolis.com/festival-of-hope/festival-of-hope/1030/festival-of-hope-2-open-call

Facebook Opening event on 21st of January 2021: https://www.versopolis.com/festival-of-hope/festival-of-hope/1051/opening-event