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Inaugural Lecture by Feridun Zaimoglu as Heiner Müller Visiting Professor of German Literature at Freie Universität, 2016 Winner of Berlin Literature Prize Awarded by Preußische Seehandlung Foundation on May 17 / Introduction by Dr. Thomas Wohlfahrt

№ 153/2016 from May 13, 2016

On May 17 the writer Feridun Zaimoglu, winner of the 2016 Berlin Literature Prize awarded by the Preußische Seehandlung Foundation, will begin his term as Heiner Müller Visiting Professor of German Literature at the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature at Freie Universität Berlin. Zaimoglu's lecture is entitled "Tau und Tag" (Dawn). Dr. Thomas Wohlfahrt, the director of the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin and a member of the jury of the Berlin Literature Prize in 2016, will give an introduction. The event is public, and admission is free.

Zaimoglu was born in 1964 in Bolu, Turkey, and has been living in Germany for the past 50 years. The jury of the Berlin Literature Prize stressed that in his first book, Kanak Sprak (1995), Zaimoglu utilized and invented a language for "discords from the margins of society." Furthermore, "he describes the experiences of immigrants and migrants from various perspectives" (Leyla, 2006). Zaimoglu has written a dozen plays and translated Shakespeare's most famous dramas into a dramatically contemporary language. He has a command over the entire repertoire of German literature. His narrations are simultaneously vivid and burlesque, original and allusive, plastic and unromantic. His most recent novel, an East-West family saga Siebentürmeviertel (Seven Towers Neighborhood) (2015), embeds the history of German emigrants of the 1930s in a social panorama of early Turkey, oscillating between pathos and irony, pain and beauty.”

The winner of the Berlin Literature Prize receives 30,000 euros from the Preußische Seehandlung Foundation. Since 2005, the Prize has been connected with the Heiner Müller Visiting Professorship for German Literature at the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature at Freie Universität Berlin. The award goes to writers whose literary works have made a substantial contribution to the development of German contemporary literature in the areas of lyric poetry, narrative prose, or drama. Each year during the spring/summer semester, the award winner supervises a literary workshop for young authors who are students at the universities in Berlin or Brandenburg.

The previous award winners/visiting professors were Herta Müller, Durs Grünbein, Ilija Trojanow, Ulrich Peltzer, Dea Loher, Sibylle Lewitscharoff, Thomas Lehr, Rainald Goetz, Lukas Bärfuss, Hans Joachim Schädlich, and Olga Martynova. The selection committee for the 2016 Berlin Literature Award consists of Peter-André Alt, Sonja Anders, Jens Bisky, Ina Hartwig, and Thomas Wohlfahrt.

Further Information

Time and Location

  • Tuesday, May 17, 2016, 6 p.m.
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, Seminar Center, Room L 115, 14195 Berlin. Subway station: Thielplatz or Dahlem-Dorf (U3)


  • Dr. Ute Bredemeyer, Preußische Seehandlung Foundation, Tel.: +49 30 303-08792
  • Carsten Wette, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-731 89