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Our Writer in Residence 2017: Barbara Honigmann (16.01.-23.03.2017)

We are pleased to announce the writer in residence 2017:

Barbara Honigmann




Barbara Honigmann was born in the former GDR. Her mother, Litzi Friedmann, was a Hungarian-born Viennese communist of Jewish origin, and her father, Georg Honigmann, was a German Jew. The couple met in London, where they were living as refugees, and settled in the GDR in 1947. Honigmann studied Theatre Studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin, completing her degree in 1972. She subsequently 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. Following the birth of her first son in 1976, Honigmann began to engage with her Jewishness, joining the East German Jewish community and marrying in a Jewish ceremony in 1981. Since 1984, Honigmann a painter as well as a writer lives with her husband Peter Honigmann in Strasbourg.

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 Two 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 under the banner of any one tendency or trend.

Adapted from Emily Jeremiah, London


The Writer-in-Residence Programme showcases recent developments in contemporary German, Austrian and Swiss literature and was established in 2005 as part of the activities of the Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations.

The Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations hosts writers whose work is representative of critically acclaimed contemporary literature in German and enables our visiting authors to reside at the College for short periods (approximately 10 weeks). This initiative was co-founded by the Deutscher Literaturfonds and enjoys the generous support of Queen Mary College, University of London.

Broadening the focus of the CAGCR on contemporary literature in German, the Writer-in-Residence Programme offers students the unique possibility of familiarising themselves with new trends in the literary scene of the German speaking world and of closely working together with our visiting writers, thus profiting from their experience and expertise (e.g. in Creative Writing Workshops specifically tailored to the students’ needs. Please see our Diary of Events).

Aims of our Writer-in-Residence programme are:

  • to invigorate the profile of contemporary writers working in a German, Austrian, Swiss context
  • to promote diversity, reflecting the broad range of cultural concepts in the German speaking world
  • to trace the current trends and developments in literature and enter into an intercultural discourse
  • to combine academic and creative approaches to literature in German
  • to establish synergies with cultural institutions such as Deutscher Literaturfonds, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Goethe-Institut and the German Embassy

Current and former writer(s) in residence

For detailed information about the Writers in Residence at the CAGCR, please click here.

For forthcoming talks please check our Diary of Events

For more information pertaining to the purpose and profile of the Writer-in-Residence Programme, please contact: 
Martin Rebhan, co-ordinator of the Writer-in-Residence Programme.

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