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British Author Lavinia Greenlaw at Freie Universität Berlin

Inaugural Lecture by Samuel Fischer Visiting Professor on May 17, 2017

№ 109/2017 from May 08, 2017

British writer Lavinia Greenlaw is the Samuel Fischer Visiting Professor of Literature at the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature at Freie Universität Berlin during the current spring/summer semester. She will give her inaugural lecture entitled "The Built Moment, the Vast Extent," on Wednesday, May 17, at Freie Universität in English. It is open to the public, and admission is free.

Lavinia Greenlaw was born in 1962 in London, where she lives as a freelance writer. She studied modern art at Kingston University and graduated from the University of London with a master's degree in Dutch painting of the 17th century. Her creative work covers a broad span. In addition to poetry and novels, she has published nonfiction books and short stories, radio adaptions, a sound installation, a short film, two libretti, and journalistic works. In addition to her own creative work, Greenlaw has taught at various universities, including Goldsmiths University of London and the University of East Anglia. In 2015 and 2016 she was a visiting professor of creative writing at King’s College London. Since 2013 Greenlaw has been an artistic advisor for the commemorative arts program "14–18 NOW" and since 2014 a Trustee and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Lavinia Greenlaw was the first Artist in Residence at the London Science Museum from 1994 to 1995. From 2013 to 2016 she was awarded the Wellcome Engagement Fellowship. Her first novel Mary George of Allnorthover (Fourth Estate 2001) won the Prix du Premier Roman Étranger in 2003. In 2011 she won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for her sound piece Audio Obscura. A volume of poetry The Built Moment and a novel In the City of Love’s Sleep are scheduled to be published in 2018 by Faber & Faber. A German translation of her poetry book A Casual Perfect will be published in 2018 by Carl Hanser Verlag.

As the 37th Samuel Fischer Visiting Professor, Greenlaw is teaching a seminar entitled "On Seeing and not Seeing Further," in which she and the students will explore the scope, possibilities, and limitations of seeing, based on numerous works of literature and images. Several of the topics to be addressed are myopia as a phenomenon, the presence and absence of light, early photography, seeing in bad weather conditions, and virtual reality. They will read texts by John Locke, Elizabeth Bishop, David Wootton, and Richard L. Gregory, among others. The seminar is interdisciplinary, and it is being held in English.

Further Information

Time and Location

  • Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 6 p.m.
  • Seminar Center, Freie Universität Berlin, Otto-von-Simson-Straße 26, Room L116, 14195 Berlin. subway station: Dahlem-Dorf (U3).


Prof. Dr. Claudia Olk, Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-56418, Email: claudia.olk@fu-berlin.de