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Lina Meruane, Chilean Author and Professor, Honored with the Samuel Fischer Visiting Professorship for Literature for the 2022 Summer Semester

Professor Meruane’s seminar “The Face: An Approach from Many Angles” is being offered through the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature at Freie Universität / Inaugural lecture on June 22, 2022 (open to the public)

№ 062/2022 from May 03, 2022

The Chilean author and professor Lina Meruane will hold the Samuel Fischer Visiting Professorship at the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature, Freie Universität Berlin, during the 2022 summer semester. Her seminar on “The Face: An Approach from Many Angels” looks at the significance of the face from historical and contemporary perspectives. Drawing from various anthropological and philosophical approaches, students will study how the face has served as a site of political and cultural importance as well as examine its symbolic meaning in literature and the visual arts. The face is central to a wide range of research fields and has played a key role in scientific and technological developments over time, including recent innovations in surveillance technology. Professor Meruane’s inaugural lecture will be held on June 22, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. in the Seminar Center, located in the Silberlaube building (Otto-von-Simson-Straße 26, 14195 Berlin, Room L116). The lecture will also be live streamed.

Lina Meruane was born in 1970 in Santiago, Chile. She studied Latin American literature at New York University, where she also completed her doctorate. She is currently an associate professor there and teaches literature in the Liberal Studies Program. Professor Meruane founded the New York-based independent publishing house Brutas Editoras, of which she is also the director. Meruane received the Anna Seghers Prize in 2011, awarded by Akademie der Künste in Berlin, for her publications, which include a collection of short stories, five novels, a play, as well as several collections of essays. In her literary works, Meruane paints a critical picture of the power relations involved in the current political situation in Chile.

Meruane’s award-winning novel Fruta Podrida (2007) seeks answers to the challenges facing Latin America today that have come about due to global economic developments. The novel explores these relationships through the allegory of the body as a site where political conflicts play out. In 2012, Meruane won the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize for her third novel Sangre en el ojo, which would later become her first novel translated into German (Rot vor Augen, Arche Literatur Verlag, 2018). The novel opens with the protagonist suffering a hemorrhage in her eye, which sets the scene for the book to explore questions of the body, culture, and identity. Meruane’s latest collection of essays, Volverse Palestina (2016), was also translated into German and published in March 2020 as Heimkehr ins Unbekannte: Unterwegs nach Palästina (Verlag Berenberg). The volume recounts Meruane’s personal experiences with the conflict in the Middle East as she goes searching for her Palestinian roots. It received the Chilean-Arab Cultural Institute Award. Her most recent novel, Sistema nervioso (2018), presents a family history told through the family member’s clinical biographies. It was translated into English in 2021 with the title Nervous System (Graywolf Press). Meruane’s works have been translated into numerous languages and have served as the basis for several film adaptations.

The Samuel Fischer Visiting Professorship for Literature at the Peter Szondi Institute is awarded each semester. The professorship was jointly instituted in 1998 by S. Fischer Publishers, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Veranstaltungsforum Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, and Freie Universität Berlin. It is named after the publisher Samuel Fischer. The founder of S. Fischer Publishers was dedicated to bringing world literature to German audiences, such as the works of Henrik Ibsen, Émile Zola, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The professorship aims to bring together students from all disciplines with authors from diverse cultural contexts and backgrounds to think critically about literature.

Further Information and Interview Requests

Petra Salomon, Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838 65849, Email: petra.salomon@fu-berlin.de