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NoViolet Bulawayo

Black History Month/The U.S. Embassy Literature Series 2023 – NoViolet Bulawayo reads from her novels We Need New Names and Glory

Moderated by Anne Potjans, Humboldt University

NoViolet Bulawayo is the author of the novels Glory and We Need New Names, which was recognized with the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the Pen/Hemingway Award, the LA Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, the Etisalat Prize for Literature, the Fred Brown Literary Award, the Betty Trask Award, the Barnes and Noble Discover Award (second place) and the National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” Fiction Selection. We Need New Names was also shortlisted for the International Literature Award, the Man Booker Prize, and the Guardian First Book Award. NoViolet earned her MFA at Cornell University where she was a recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. She has taught fiction writing at Cornell and Stanford Universities. She grew up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and is currently writing full-time from the wherevers.

The most translated author in modern Zimbabwean history, she is the first Black African Woman to be selected for the Booker List twice, and is one of only two African writers, the other being Chigozie Obioma, to be listed for both her debut and follow-up novel.

novioletbulawayo.com/

Since October 2022, Anne Potjans has been a postdoctoral researcher in the EU-funded research project Tales of the Diasporic Ordinary. Aesthetics, Affects, Archives at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, where she currently investigates the relationship between queer subcultural spaces and discourses on race and racism in Germany and the United States. Earlier in 2022, she completed her doctoral degree with a dissertation on “‘Why Are You So Angry?’” – The Uses of Rage and Anger in Black Feminist Literature” in the American Studies program at Humboldt and is a joint winner of Peter Lang’s competition New Perspectives in Black Studies, for which she received a publishing contract with Peter Lang in 2021.  Apart from that, she has worked on diasporic connections between African American and Black German feminist autobiographical writing in the post-World War II period and the intersections of Blackness, sexuality, and racial visibility in German film productions. She was an exchange faculty in the Honors program at the University of Washington in the fall of 2019 and has presented and published her research both nationally and internationally.

Casual Baggage

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series | International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Selected Readings from the Play Casual Baggage by Michael Lederer

With Harvey Friedman as Ivo, Daniel Grave as Michael, Sarai Cole as Rada, Mareile Metzner as Player One, and Alexander Schröder as Player Two

Followed by a discussion with the playwright, moderated by Daniel Brunet

Based on the true story of a small group of Jewish refugees admitted into America during WWII. Numbering less than a thousand, they were kept behind barbed wire in an internment camp upstate NY until the war’s end. Years later, one survivor from that group finds it easier to share his story with a young Black woman he has just met than with his own US-American-born son.

Michael Lederer is a playwright, poet, novelist, short story writer and essayist. He was born in Princeton, New Jersey, where his father Ivo Lederer was a professor of Contemporary European Diplomatic History. He grew up in New Haven, New York City, and Palo Alto, California. Lederer has lived in London, Spain, Vienna, Dubrovnik, and Berlin. Member Dramatists Guild, SAG-AFTRA, AEA, PEN International, National Arts Club, NYC, Players Club, NYC. B.A., Theatre Arts, Binghamton University. Original acting member of Tony award-winning TheatreWorks in Palo Alto. Founding Artistic Director of Dubrovnik Shakespeare Festival, 2009-2012. His script Saving America was a 2019 winner PAGE International Screenwriting Award. His novel Cadaques was selected by the U.S. Embassy Berlin for their US-American Literature Series 2014. He has published two collections of short stories, The Great Game: Berlin-Warsaw Express and Other Stories, 2012; also In the Widdle Wat of Time, 2016. He has written for Politico and contributes regular essays about politics and expat life to the American Studies Journal.

The Cactus League

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series: Emily Nemens in conversation with Musa Okwonga

Emily Nemens reads from her debut novel The Cactus League and talks with Musa Okwonga about baseball and its impact on US-American society, identity, fan culture, literature and the Picador Guest Professorship.

This event is part of the U.S. Embassy Literature Series and is presented by the Picador Guest Professorship for Literature in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy and the English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center.

Lydia Stryk

The U.S. EMBASSY LITERATURE SERIES – Lydia Stryk reads from her new novel The Teachers´ Room.

A novice fifth-grade teacher embarks on a clandestine love affair with another teacher, which sets her on the tumultuous path of self-discovery.

It is 1963, one of the most turbulent years in American history. The escalating tensions and conflicts in society at large are playing out in classrooms, principals’ offices, and school boards across the country, along with the first stirrings of social transformation, though the past still holds its suffocating grip. And behind the closed door of the teachers’ room in one small Midwest town, two teachers set eyes on each other and find it hard to look away.

Karen Murphy, fresh from college, has taken on her first teaching job. Despite her best efforts, she can’t seem to stick to the subjects in her fifth-grade school books, helped along by the antics of a girl who upends all her lesson plans. She has a lot to learn, and her women colleagues are there to offer their advice, especially the enigmatic fourth-grade teacher, Esther Jonas. As Karen quickly discovers, the devoted spinster teacher with no life beyond the classroom is a myth—the school is teeming with passion and secrets, her own perilous desire for Esther Jonas included.

The Teachers’ Room offers both a panoramic view of a changing America and an intimate portrait of the hidden lives of teachers.

Award-winning playwright Lydia Stryk was born and raised in DeKalb, Illinois, birthplace of barbed wire and flying ears of corn. Her plays have been produced across the United States and also in Germany, including American Tet and Lady Lay at English Theatre Berlin. The Teachers’ Room is her first novel, a process she describes in her essay, “A Playwright Crosses the Border Into Fiction”.

Photograph: Jo. van Norden

Millennial Surrealism

The U.S. EMBASSY LITERATURE SERIES – Millennial Surrealism: Hilary Leichter in conversation with Teresa Bücker

Hilary Leichter is the current Picador Guest Professor for Literature at the University of Leipzig. She is the author of the novel Temporary which casts a hilarious and tender eye toward the struggle for happiness under late capitalism. The German translation Die Hauptsache was published by Arche Verlag in 2021. Her next novel, Terrace Story, will be published in the summer of 2023 by Ecco.

Teresa Bücker works as a freelance journalist, moderator and consultant. At conferences, in magazines, on television and in workshops, she regularly discusses the changing world of work, justice, power, sexual empowerment and digital strategies for journalism. On October 19, 2022, her first nonfiction book Alle_ Zeit. Eine Frage von Macht und Freiheit will be published by Ullstein Verlag.

On September 12, Hilary Leichter will read from her debut novel Temporary and talk with Teresa Bücker about capitalism and the impact on our lives, temporary work, feminism, power, freedom, literature and the Picador Guest Professorship.

 

 

Parataxe – International Literature

What languages does Berlin write in? In varying locations, PARATAXE regularly invites Berlin authors, who pen their work in languages other than German, to take part in conversations, readings and new translations.

With Aboud Saeed (& his translator Sandra Hetzl) and Avrina Prabala-Joslin!

An evening in German, English and Arabic – with translations. Hosted by Martin Jankowski (Berliner Literarische Aktion).

Aboud Saeed was born in 1983 in a small town near Aleppo, Syria where he worked in a blacksmith’s workshop for 15 years. Then he became an active blogger on Facebook. After his first book, Der klügste Mensch im Facebook mit Statusmeldungen, was published in German translation in 2013, he came to Germany as a Syrian author. He continued writing in Berlin, between asylum and alienation, and his life-sized news ticker, about childhood and youth in Syria, was published. He returned to his first profession as a metalworker in Olafur Eliasson’s studio. His new book Die ganze Geschichte has recently been published.

Sandra Hetzl was born in Munich in 1980 and lives in Beirut. She studied Visual Culture Studies at the Berlin University of the Arts. She works as a literary translator from Arabic and makes video installations. In addition, she is the brain behind 10/11. A laboratory and, simultaneously, a mouthpiece for experimental forms of Arabic literature, 10/11 is based in Beirut and Berlin. The collective consists of writers, translators and international publishing professionals. 10/11 makes texts (often snatched from the depths of the WWW) by young writers working in Arabic accessible to the international publishing market and strives to nurture dynamic exchange.

Avrina Prabala-Joslin writes fiction and poetry on the fluidity of things, place, space and time. She is obsessed with memories, of childhood – they pervade and evade, an ebb and flow characteristic of her desire for the sea. Currently, she is a doctoral researcher at the University of Göttingen and is working on theorizing feminist digital memory. She has an MA in writing from the University of Warwick and has published on a few platforms such as Elsewhere Lit, Bird’s Thumb and Coldnoon. Apart from performing at spoken word events, she posts snippets of poetry on Instagram (@avrinajoslin). Her short story “The Plumage” was shortlisted for the 2019 Berlin Writing Prize. Avrina Prabala-Joslin is currently compiling a collection of feminist short fiction. After having lived in many cities in India, England, Italy and Romania, she recently found home in Berlin.

PARATAXE is a project of the Berliner Literarische Aktion e.V. and is supported by Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Europe. Further information can be found at www.stadtsprachen.de.

Nick Laird

Nick Laird is a lawyer, poet, novelist and critic from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

He lives in London and New York. His essays, reviews and poems have appeared in various journals in Britain and America. Nick Laird’s most recent books are the poetry collection Feel Free and the novel Modern Gods. He is on faculty at New York University, and the Seamus Heaney Professor of Poetry at Queens’ University, Belfast.

The British Council Literature Seminar “Neu NI Now” 

will feature contemporary writing from Northern Ireland 24 – 26 February 2022.

Glenn Patterson, the renowned novelist, non-fiction writer and Director at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast will chair the British Council Literature Seminar 2022. Northern Irish writers Nick Laird, Lucy Caldwell, Abby Oliveira, Michelle Gallen, Bebe Ashley and Padraig Reagan will present readings, discussions, and workshops

The seminar will consist of two public readings by Glenn Patterson and Nick Laird, a spoken word performance by Abby Oliveira , readings by Michelle Gallen and Lucy Caldwell, two panel discussions and four author-led workshops.

The seminar will offer academics, students, publishers, translators and journalists from across Europe the chance to experience some of the best of Northern Irish literature and engage with writers and their work first-hand.

Read more about the British Council Literature Seminar here.

Glenn Patterson

Renowned Norther Irish author and Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre Belfast Glenn Patterson will read from (quote) “New books, older books and maybe a couple of things on which the ink has only just dried” The session will be moderated by Prof. Felix Sprang and is the opening of the British Council Literature Seminar 2022 Neu NI Now featuring contemporary writing from Northern Ireland

Glenn Patterson will read from his latest works “Where Are We Now?” and “The Last Irish Question: Will Six into Twenty-Six Ever Go?”

  The British Council Literature Seminar “Neu NI Now” 

will feature contemporary writing from Northern Ireland, 24 – 26 February 2022.

Glenn Patterson, the renowned novelist, non-fiction writer and Director at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast will chair the British Council Literature Seminar 2022. Northern Irish writers Nick Laird, Lucy Caldwell, Abby Oliveira, Michelle Gallen, Bebe Ashley and Padraig Reagan will present readings, discussions, and workshops.

The seminar will consist of two public readings by Glenn Patterson and Nick Laird, a spoken word performance by Abby Oliveira , readings by Michelle Gallen and Lucy Caldwell, two panel discussions and four author-led workshops.

The seminar will offer academics, students, publishers, translators and journalists from across Europe the chance to experience some of the best of Northern Irish literature and engage with writers and their work first-hand.

Read more about the British Council Literature Seminar here.

Ladee Hubbard

U.S. EMBASSY LITERATURE SERIES – A Reading from The Rib King with Ladee Hubbard, Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow in Fiction, American Academy in Berlin, Fall 2021

Moderated by Anne Potjans, Department of English and American Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

For fifteen years August Sitwell has worked for the Barclays, a well-to-do white family who plucked him from an orphan asylum and gave him a job. The groundskeeper is part of the household’s all-black staff, along with “Miss Mamie,” the talented cook, pretty new maid Jennie Williams, and three young kitchen apprentices—the latest orphan boys Mr. Barclay has taken in to “civilize” boys like August.

But the Barclays fortunes have fallen, and their money is almost gone. When a prospective business associate proposes selling Miss Mamie’s delicious rib sauce to local markets under the brand name “The Rib King”—using a caricature of a wildly grinning August on the label—Mr. Barclay, desperate for cash, agrees. Yet neither Miss Mamie nor August will see a dime. Humiliated, August grows increasingly distraught, his anger building to a rage that explodes in shocking tragedy.

Ladee Hubbard is an award-winning New Orleans-based writer of literary fiction and the author of The Talented Ribkins (Melville House, 2017), which received the 2018 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and Hurston-Wright Foundation Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. Hubbard completed her BA at Princeton University, MFA in dramatic writing at New York University, PhD in World Arts and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles, and MFA in creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has taught in the Africana and African Diaspora Studies department at Tulane University. Recent and forthcoming publications include the novel The Rib King (Amistad/Harper Collins, 2021) and short-story collection The Blinking What (Amistad/Harper Collins, 2022). Hubbard’s writing has appeared in Guernica, The Times Literary Supplement, Arkansas International, Copper Nickel, and Callaloo, among others. Her work has been supported by the Camargo Foundation, Djerassi Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, Sewanee Writers Conference, and the William Faulkner-William Wisdom award for the short-story category.

 

Adam Sachs

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series

A Reading from The Organs of Sense

Adam Ehrlich Sachs, writer and fellow, American Academy in Berlin 2019

In 1666, an astronomer makes a prediction shared by no one else in the world: at the stroke of noon on June 30 of that year, a solar eclipse will cast all of Europe into total darkness for four seconds. This astronomer is rumored to be using the longest telescope ever built, but he is also known to be blind―and not only blind, but incapable of sight, both his eyes having been plucked out some time before under mysterious circumstances. Is he mad? Or does he, despite this impairment, have an insight denied the other scholars of his day?

These questions intrigue the young Gottfried Leibniz―not yet the world-renowned polymath who would go on to discover calculus, but a nineteen-year-old whose faith in reason is shaky at best. Leibniz sets off to investigate the astronomer’s claim, and over the three hours remaining before the eclipse occurs―or fails to occur―the astronomer tells the scholar the haunting and hilarious story behind his strange prediction: a tale that ends up encompassing kings and princes, family squabbles, obsessive pursuits, insanity, philosophy, art, loss, and the horrors of war.

Adam Ehrlich Sachs lives and works in Pittsburgh. He has an AB in atmospheric science and an MA in the history of science from Harvard University. The author of two books of fiction, Sachs’s writing has appeared in the New Yorker, n+1, and Harper’s, among other publications. His first book, Inherited Disorders: Stories, Parables, and Problems (Regan Arts, 2016), was a finalist for the 2017 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. His story “The Philosophers” was named a Distinguished Story in The Best American Short Stories 2017. In 2018, Sachs received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in literature. His novel The Organs of Sense was published in May 2019 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.