Writer in Residence | Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations
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Judith Kuckart is a German dancer, choreographer, director and author. Her works range from plays to radio plays and from novels to stories. In the past the author cooperated with other colleagues like fine artists, so that another layer was added to her keenly observant and precise formulated narrations. In her latest novel, Dass man durch Belgien muss auf dem Weg zum Glück, Judith Kuckart describes eleven episodes of persons in everyday situations. Their stories are somehow linked by cunning intersections, but above all, they share a melancholic, yet not desperate mood in their lives. Every figure lacks something: offsprings, autonomy, the courage to say goodbye… though not everyone is aware of it. The engaging language in the novel creates pictures of a near inevitable loss of lightness like the first autumn days replacing warm summer evenings every year.
Alissa Walser works as a painter, as well as an author, and translator. Her writings include stage plays, novels and essays. Her painterly eye is attuned to the situations of everyday life and she condenses these into precise analytical phrases. Walser often enriches her texts with her sketches. Her first novel Am Anfang war die Nacht Musik (Mesmerised) concerned the celebrated Viennese doctor Franz Mesmer in the late 18th century and his patient Maria Theresia Paradis, a blind but highly skilled pianist. Walser depicts relations between human beings and between the self and its physicality, while questioning the ability of language to convey mental processes.
Danz has written poetry, prose, essays and children's literature. Besides that she collaborates with composers. A number of her works have been set to music, as well as translated into other languages. In her work, she experiments with classical forms and antique subject-matter, such as the epics of Homer or Ovid's Metamorphoses. From here, Danz seeks to make connections with recent history, such as World War II and with current socio-political concerns like migration. A similar approach can be found in her most recent novel, which is inspired by the legend of the Roman general and hunter St Eustace.
Barbara Honigmann was born in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1949. She is the daughter of German / Hungarian Jewish parents, who returned to live in East Germany in 1947 after a period of exile in London. Honigmann studied theatre studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin, completing her degree in 1972. She then worked as a playwright and director in Brandenburg at both the Volksbühne and the German Theatre in East Berlin. She became a freelance writer in 1975. She also works as a painter. Since 1984, Honigmann has lived in Strasbourg, France.
Critics have often viewed Barbara Honigmann as a representative figure. They have seen her as emblematic of the emergence of a literature written by Jews who were born towards, or after the end, of World War II and who spent their formative years in Austria, the GDR, or West Germany. According to Guy Stern, Honigmann's texts are also paradigmatic of post-exile writings by German-Jewish authors. In addition, they offer examples of literary reactions to the demise of the GDR by its decamped intellectuals, and represent the articulations of a new generation of women writers. Such claims, perhaps paradoxically, highlight the multiplicitous significance of Honigmann's work, which, in fact, refuses easy categorization.
The poet Ulf Stolterfoht was born in Stuttgart in 1963. He studied German language and literature and comparative literature in Bochum and Tübingen until 1991. Between 1998 and 2004 he wrote his four-volume magnum opus of specialised languages (I-IX, 1998; X-XVIII, 2002; XIX-XXVII, 2004; XXVIII-XXXVI, 2009). Critics responded to the self-contained lyrical tone with acclaim. Stolterfoht's texts are attributed to the meta-fictional, experimental lyrical tradition of Samuel Beckett and Oskar Pastior. His poetic project fuses, by means of a formalistic method of recycling, mismatched chunks of language from disparate sources - highly specialised languages of the trade and linguistic theory, works from the literary canon, slang and adolescent lingo. In doing so, the compilational nature of writing poetry is highlighted to the point that Kurt Drawert even drew up a 'non-author' as creator of the texts. Meanings are questioned in a game of references, innuendos and quotations while being subordinated to rhythmic and phonetic patterns. Stolterfoht has been awarded many prizes for his work as well as literary grants.
Peter Schneider is a seminal figure in contemporary German writing. Initially prominent for his involvement in the student movement, he has consistently focused on problems at the heart of German national and cultural identity: the legacy of Auschwitz, the student revolt, neo-Nazi violence, the Green movement, and, above all, the division and subsequent unification of Germany. From the influential Lenz (1973) to his most recent book An der Schönheit kann's nicht liegen...Berlin-Portrait einer unfertigen Stadt (2015), Schneider's fiction and essays bring meticulous intellectual analysis to what he himself describes as a neglected 'deutsche Tradition von Ironie, Leichtigkeit, Humor'.
Writer, translator and publisher Ilija Trojanow was born in Bulgaria and has lived in Germany, Kenya and India, after his family fled Bulgaria. After his studies in Munich he founded a publishing house and has written a number of books, essays and journalism since. In his work he critically addresses political and cultural issues. In 2006, his bestseller novel Der Weltensammler (Carl Hanser) was awarded the 'Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse'. In the 1990s Trojanow wrote several non-fiction and travel books about Africa, published an anthology of contemporary African literature and translated African authors into German. His first novel, Die Welt ist groß und Rettung lauert überall (1996) recounts his family's experiences as political refugees and asylum seekers. Since then, he has published a science fiction novel Autopol, Hundezeiten, an account of a visit to his Bulgarian homeland, and books dealing with his experiences in India. Trojanow's books have been translated into 25 languages and awarded several prizes. He has also taught at a number of universities.
Thomas Meinecke was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1955. He is the author of five novels, all of which use an innovative writing technique similar to music sampling. This approach allows him to deal with a variety of topics, from popular culture, music, and gender roles to the German, Jewish, and African diaspora in the US. Meinecke also plays in the experimental rock band F.S.K. and works as a club DJ in Berlin.
One of the foremost cultural commentators in Germany, Meinecke first came to literary prominence with the novel Tomboy, which embodies in a particular kind of docufiction the theories of postmodern gender studies. His second novel, Hellblau, (Pale Blue), pursues the intersectional discourse into a dissection of race. Both have been translated into American English by Daniel Bowles. His third novel, called Musik (Music) is a queer novel, which uses historical anecdote and deep knowledge of popular music to deconstruct a wide variety of identity discourses.
Find out more: Thomas Meinecke at Queen Mary
Born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1973, Abbas Khider arrived in Germany in 2000, a journey that was a catalogue of displacement, illegal immigration and frequent incarceration. As a teenager, Khider leafleted for various communist and Islamic opposition parties in Iraq, unaware that his activities were drawing the attentions of Saddam Hussein's regime. He was arrested, tortured, held for two years as an enemy of the state and released to find his chances of attending university in Iraq destroyed by his status as a political detainee. He resolved to leave Iraq for an education, and so his journey began.
Khider's first language is Arabic, but his first novel is, unusually, written in German. The Village Indian (2013), translated into English by Donal McLaughlin, is the story of Rasul Hamid, political prisoner and refugee, and is fuelled by Khider's own experiences of life as an enemy of the regime in his homeland. It documents Hamid's various attempts to leave Iraq, tracing his journey across North Africa and Europe, offering insight into the life cycle of travel, infiltration, discovery and deportation of the modern refugee. Khider studied philosophy and literature in Munich and Potsdam, and currently lives in Berlin. He has won numerous prizes for his poetry and prose, including the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize for the Most Promising Young Writer.
Find out more: Abbas Khider at Queen Mary
Kristof Magnusson was born in Hamburg in 1976. After training as a church musician, he spent two years working for homelessness organisations in New York before studying at the German Literature Institute in Leipzig, the Berlin University of the Arts and the University of Reykjavík. Magnusson lives in Berlin as a writer and translator. He has received numerous fellowships for his work as a dramatist and fiction writer from such institutions as the Academy of Arts, the Cultural Foundation of Saxony and the German Literature Fund.
Find out more: Artist website: www.kristofmagnusson.de
Gregor Sander was born in 1968 in Schwerin and trained as a metal worker and then qualified as a nurse before taking up his studies at university. He studied medicine at the University of Rostock and then read German and history at the Humboldt University of Berlin from 1992 to 1996. From 1996 to 1997 he attended the Berliner Journalistenschule. In 2002, Gregor Sander started his literary career with Ich aber bin hier geboren, a collection of short stories. He now lives and works in Berlin.
Sudabeh Mohafez was born in 1963 in Tehran, Iran, and has lived in Germany since 1979 (with a brief stint in Lisbon). She has worked for NGOs in the areas of migration support and violence prevention. In 1999 she began to publish her short stories. Since 2001 she has worked as an editor and translator, and has led writing workshops. She has received several writers' grants, most notably from the Robert Bosch Stiftung and Deutscher Literaturfonds, and literary awards, including the 2006 Adelbert-von-Chamisso-Förderpreis and the 2008 Isla-Volante-Literaturpreis. In 2008 she was nominated for the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis. Major works include the short story collection Wüstenhimmel Sternenland(Desert Sky, Land of Stars) (2004) and the novel Gespräch in Meeresnähe (Conversation by the Sea) (2005).
Find out more: Artist website: http://sudabehmohafez.de
David Wagner was born in 1971 in Andernach. He studied comparative literature and art history at the University of Bonn, in Paris and Berlin. After periods spent in Rome, Barcelona and Mexico City, he now lives and works in Berlin.
Born in 1986, Kai Weyand is a German writer. He graduated from the University of Education Freiburg. After working in teaching and education, he became a prize-winning freelance writer. His 2015 novel Applaus für Bronikowski (Applause for Bronikowski) was on the longlist for the German Book Prize 2015.
Born in 1973, Jan Böttcher is a German writer and musician. He studied German and Scandinavian literature in Stockholm and Berlin and has been working since 1993 as a writer and musician in Berlin. In his early novels and stories, he illuminates adolescence sometimes drawing on his own autobiographical experience and sometimes wider contemporary themes and experiences. Böttcher's prose uses the means of realistic narration and is very interested in social systems.
Find out more: Artist website: www.janboettcher.com
Matthias Politycki was born in May 1955 in Karlsruhe. He read German literature, philosophy and drama at the universities of Munich and Vienna from 1975 to 1987. In 1987 he completed his PhD at the University of Munich. He was awarded the Bavarian State Prize for literature a year later. From 1988 to 1990 Politycki worked as research assistant to Professor W. Frühwald at the German Department at the University of Munich before becoming a freelance writer and a member of PEN. He currently lives in Hamburg and Munich.
Angela Krauß was born in 1950 in Chemnitz. She studied advertising at the Fachschule für Gestaltung und Werbung in East Berlin and worked in advertising and communication until 1972. From 1976 to 1979 she studied at J.R. Becher Institute for Literature in Leipzig. Angela Krauß shot to fame when she won the Ingeborg Bachmann prize in 1988. She has travelled extensively to give readings and lectures in the United States and Canada. She was visiting Professor for Creative Writing at the University of Paderborn in 2000 and gave the prestigious Frankfurter Poetikvorlesungen in 2004. Besides having been awarded numerous prizes she is a member of the Academy of the Fine Arts of Saxony and the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz. Angela Krauß lives and works in Leipzig.
Björn Kern is a German writer. Born in 1978 he grew up in Schopfheim and attended the local Theodor Heuss High School. After working in a home for the mentally ill and the elderly in southern France, he studied in Tübingen, Passau and Aix-en-Provence and at the German Literature Institute in Leipzig. In 2007 he was invited to the competition for the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in Klagenfurt. In his novels he deals above all with his experiences as a civilian service provider, as in Die Erlöser AG, which was filmed in 2012 for ZDF. He currently lives in Berlin and Oderbruch.
Find out more: Author website: www.bjoernkern.de
Angelika Overath is a German author and journalist. Overath studied German literature, history, Italian studies, and cultural studies at the University of Tübingen and wrote a PhD-thesis in 1986 about the colour blue in modern literature. She has worked as a writer in residence at Queen Mary and at Newcastle University. She also teaches creative writing for the Swiss Hyperwerk.
Find out more: About Angelika Overath
Sibylle Lewitscharoff is a German author. Among her novels are Pong (1998), Apostoloff (2009) and Blumenberg (2011). She has received several German literary awards, including the Georg Büchner Prize in 2013.
Find out more: About Sibylle Lewitscharoff
Michael Wildenhain was born in West Berlin in 1958 and still lives there with his family. After studying economics, philosophy and computer science, he was involved in the left-wing squatter movement in West Berlin, which provided the material for his first literary texts. He is particularly well known as a writer of prose for young adults. He has taught creative writing at the Literaturinstitut Leipzig. His most recent novel Das Lächeln der Alligatoren was shortlisted for the prestigious Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse (2015). Wildenhain is a member of the Verband Deutscher Schriftsteller and of the PEN centre Germany.
Terézia Mora was born in Sopron, Hungary in 1971 and has lived in Berlin since 1990. There she studied Hungarian and drama at the Humboldt University and screenwriting at the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie (dffb). Her literary career began when she won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 1999. She is not only a famous novelist, but also works as a translator from Hungarian into German and as a scriptwriter, besides writing both stage and radio plays. In 2013, Mora won the prestigious German Book Prize for her novel Das Ungeheuer. In 2013-14 she gave the Frankfurter Poetikvorlesungen.