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Rita Bullwinkel

German Book Release – Headshot | Schlaglicht

“With language that floats like a butterfly and revelations that sting like a bee, Bullwinkel takes the gloves off teenage girlhood, leaving it splayed out in all its wonder, humor, violence, and glory.” – Oprah Daily

Join us for the German book release of Rita Bullwinkel’s acclaimed debut novel Headshot, translated as Schlaglicht. Hailed as one of 2024’s most anticipated novels by The Washington Post, NYLON, Lit Hub, and others, we will celebrate the translation into German!

Schlaglicht unfolds the compelling narratives of eight teenage girl boxers in Reno, Nevada, each fighting for the national title and grappling with their personal quests for control, perfection, and the thrill of combat. Authored with a blend of raw emotion, ecstatic moments, and unexpected humor, Bullwinkel’s novel explores the intricate emotional landscapes of its characters.

We are thrilled to announce that Rita Bullwinkel will be present to discuss her journey in creating this novel. She will be joined by Christiane Neudecker, who translated the novel into German and brings her own rich experiences from the world of boxing! The discussion will be moderated by Teresa Bücker, ensuring an evening rich with insights into the themes of boxing, femininity and the challenges young female athletes face.

Join us to see how Schlaglicht casts new light on the literary and boxing worlds alike.

Victoria de Grazia

In her excellently researched book, The Perfect Fascist (2020) / Der perfekte Faschist (2024 / dt. von Michael Bischoff) the Italian-American author Victoria de Grazia tells the story of Italian fascism as an operetta, even though it doesn’t end well…

The author also succeeds in building bridges across the decades and carefully analysing the parallels to current trends throughout Europe.

“With lyrical precision, this book reveals how ideology corrupts the truth, how untrammelled ambition destroys the soul, and how the vanity of white male supremacy distorts emotion, making even love a matter of state.” Sonia Purnell

Victoria de Grazia is Moore Collegiate Professor of History at Columbia University and a founding editor at the Radical History Review. She published widely translated, prizewinning books, has received the Woodrow Wilson, Jean Monnet, and Guggenheim fellowships and the Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome.

This event is in English and German.

Heidi Julavits

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series – Celebrating Women’s History Month

A reading and discussion with Heidi Julavits, moderated by Anna Winger

Directions to Myself, a memoir of locating where you are – so you know where you’re going. One day Heidi Julavits sees her son silhouetted by the sun and notices he is at the threshold of what she calls “the end times of childhood.” Who is my son becoming, she asks herself – and what qualifies me to be his guide? The next four years feel like uncharted waters. Rape allegations rock the university campus where Julavits teaches, unleashing questions of justice and accountability, education and prevention. Julavits begins to wonder how to prepare her son to be the best possible citizen of the world he’s about to enter. And what she must learn about herself to responsibly steer him. Using the past and present as points of orientation, Directions to Myself examines the minutiae of family life alongside knottier questions of politics and gender. Through it all, Julavits discovers the beauty and the peril of telling stories as a way to locate ourselves and help others find us.


Heidi Julavits is an associate professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She received her BA from Dartmouth College and MFA from Columbia University. Julavits is the author, most recently, of Directions to Myself (Hogarth, 2023), and The Folded Clock: A Diary (Doubleday, 2015), a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the author of four novels, including The Vanishers (Doubleday, 2012), winner of the PEN New England Fiction Award, and The Mineral Palace (Putnam, 2000), her first novel and a finalist for the Young Lions Literary Award. She is co-editor, with Sheila Heti and Leanne Shapton, of the bestselling Women in Clothes (Blue Rider 2014). Julavits’s short fiction and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, and New York Magazine, among others, and have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories and Best American Travel Essays. Recipient of a 2007 Guggenheim fellowship, Julavits is a founding editor of The Believer magazine. Heidi Julavits is a Spring 2024 Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.

Anna Winger is a writer, producer and creator of such television series as Deutschland83 (Amazon), Unorthodox (Netflix) and Transatlantic (Netflix). She is also the author of a novel, This Must Be the Place (Riverhead), a radio series for NPR Worldwide called Berlin Stories, and personal essays that have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and the Süddeutsche Zeitung. American and British, she was raised in Kenya, Massachusetts and Mexico. She studied at Columbia, worked for many years as a photographer, and finally settled in Berlin, where she lives with her family. She has received Emmy, Peabody and Adolf Grimme awards for her work.

Victoria Belim

In 2014, the landmarks of Victoria Belim’s personal geography were plunged into tumult at the hands of Russia. Her hometown, Kyiv, was gripped by protests and violence. Crimea, where she’d once been sent to school to avoid radiation from the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, was invaded. Kharkiv, where her grandmother Valentina studied economics and fell in love; Donetsk, where her father once worked; and Mariupol, where she and her mother bought a cherry tree for Valentina’s garden, all became battlegrounds.

Victoria, by then a naturalized American citizen then living in Brussels, felt she had to go back. She had to spend time with her aging grandmother and her cousin Dmytro. She had to unravel a family mystery spanning several generations. And she needed to understand how her country’s tragic history of communist revolution, civil war, famine, world war, totalitarianism, and fraught independence had changed the course of their lives. A young woman’s quest to uncover her family’s difficult past reveals broader truths about the present conflict.  Victoria Belim’s memoir is a personal history of her family’s turbulent past and a celebration of Ukrainian identity.

Martina J. Kohl

Family Matters follows the traces of a German family that, over generations, continues to cross the Atlantic in both directions. Like Elizabeth and Little Henry who, at the beginning of the 20th century, are forced to leave their beloved New York to return to the old country; the violinist Clara who can only live her passion for music in the America of the suffragettes; the war bride Toni, who courageously follows a G.I. to Nebraska after World War II; and, finally, the student Iris who is trying to find her place in both worlds in the 1980s. Looking back, they all ask the same question: “What if . . .?” What if they had not gone to America, or back to the old country? If they had not fallen in love? What if they had taken that other road and pursued their dreams a bit more forcefully?

Family Matters takes ordinary, yet memorable characters out of the yellowed pictures in the photo albums, gives them a voice and places them in their own time. Martina J. Kohl revives the past. She shows that today cannot be understood without the yesterday. And that migration, uprooting and the search for belonging are universal themes.

Martina J. Kohl worked in the Cultural Section of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin for many years where she developed and organized numerous programs. She especially loved the Literature Series that she coordinated with the English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center featuring established and up-and-coming American writers. Writing has been a passion ever since she taught at the University of Michigan. It is part of her seminars that she teaches regularly at Humboldt University Berlin and defined her work as editor of the American Studies Journal. As an advisory board member of the Salzburg Global American Studies Program, she continues to engage in transatlantic dialogue. Among her academic publications, Family Matters is her first book-length fictional work that is published in English and German. Born in the Rheingau region, she lives with her family in Berlin.

Publisher: PalmArtPress Berlin for FAMILY MATTERS. Of Life in Two Worlds / FAMILY MATTERS. Vom Leben in zwei Welten (2023)

Parataxe – International Literature

Dinara Rasulewa and Tomer Dotan-Dreyfus

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.

Multilingual live talks and readings by the poet Dinara Rasuleva (together with her translator Peggy Lohse) and the writer Tomer Dotan-Dreyfus.

An evening in German with some English, Hebrew, Russian and Tatar – and with literary translations into German. Hosted by Martin Jankowski.

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

Where Do Novels Come From?

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series: Where Do Novels Come From? About Writing and Creativity

Lauren Groff and Lorrie Moore in Conversation with Gregor Dotzauer

Lauren Groff is the ELLEN MARIA GORRISSEN FELLOW – CLASS OF SPRING 2023 at the American Academy in Berlin. She is the author of six books of fiction, the most recent the novel MATRIX (September 2021). Her work has won The Story Prize, the ABA Indies’ Choice Award and France’s Grand Prix de l’Héroïne, was a three-time finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and twice for the Kirkus Prize and was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Prize, the Southern Book Prize and the Los Angeles Times Prize. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.

Lorrie Moore is currently the MARY ELLEN VON DER HEYDEN FELLOW IN FICTION – CLASS OF SPRING 2023 at the American Academy in Berlin. She is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English and Creative Writing at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of two short story collections, three novels and a children’s novel. Her new novel I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home (June 2023) has been listed as one of the most anticipated books of 2023 by Time Magazine. Lorrie Moore has won numerous awards such as the O. Henry Award, The Irish Times International Fiction Prize, the Rea Award for the Short Story, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction.  She has been a finalist for the Orange Prize, The PEN Faulkner Award, The National Book Critics’ Circle Award, The Story Prize and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. See What Can Be Done (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018) is a collection of her reviews and essays that previously appeared in publications such as The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The Yale Review and The Atlantic. A recipient of an NEA, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Fellowship, the Berlin Prize and a Pushcart Prize, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2006.

Gregor Dotzauer is lead editor for nonfiction at Berlin’s Tagesspiegel.  He studied German, philosophy and musicology in Würzburg and Frankfurt am Main before beginning to write about literature and film for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Zeit and the Süddeutsche Zeitung. In 1999, he joined Berlin’s Tagesspiegel as literary editor, where he also regularly writes on topics related to jazz or the humanities. In 2009, he received the Alfred Kerr Prize for Literary Criticism. In October 2022, Matthes & Seitz published his literary essay “Schläft ein Lied in allen Dingen – Über Musik, Moment und Erinnerung” (A Song Sleeps In All Things – On Music, Moment and Memory).

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.

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.