"Ninety years today" or: "For when I'm dead", for when I'm alive ... A literary birthday party for Uwe Johnson

Matthias Göritz in conversation with Prof. Holger Helbig about Uwe Johnson

Matthias Göritz's novel "The Language of the Sun" is about search and language. It takes us back to the 1930s, the important formative years of young Turkey, a time of exile for German intellectuals, engineers and scientists who had fled. And it takes us to the present day: Lee, the main character of the novel, who grew up in America and lives in Berlin, goes to present-day Turkey to search for her roots. This is because her German grandmother, a Jew, also fled there in the 1930s to escape persecution by the Nazi regime. She meets the old, mysterious man who was named to her by her grandmother as a living witness. Could it even be her grandfather himself?

Turkey, Germany and the United States of America are the settings for this gripping novel, in which fiction and fact interact and for which Uwe Johnson's epic novel "Anniversaries" was the inspiration in many respects.

Matthias Göritz, born in 1969, is a poet, translator and novelist. He has been a curator (including at the Frankfurt Book Fair) and lectures on comparative literature at Washington University in St. Louis. His work has received many awards, including the Mara Cassens Prize, the Robert Gernhardt Prize, the William Gass Prize and the International Pretnar Award. He has published volumes of poetry and four novels as well as novellas, and also translates from English and Slovenian. Göritz lives in the USA and Germany.

Uwe Johnson, born on July 20, 1934, was one of the most important German-language authors of the 20th century. In addition to shorter novels, his four-part epic "Jahrestage. Aus dem Leben von Gesine Cresspahl ", in which he combines the present and memories of the fictional Mecklenburg woman Gesine Cresspahl with newspaper notes from the New York Times, among other things, in a chronological bracket from August 1967 to August 1968. Gesine, who lives in New York with her daughter Marie and works for a bank there, occasionally makes tape recordings for her daughter "for when I'm dead". In it, she records her memories of her father, her mother, who died young, and her father's stories about the Nazi past and the establishment of the GDR state. The New York of her present is politically defined by the so-called racial unrest, the Vietnam War and the Cold War between East and West. At around 1700 pages, "Anniversaries " is a novel that is as monumental as it is fascinating and continues to captivate readers, authors and artists to this day. The Rostock-based Uwe Johnson Society works on the author Uwe Johnson, who studied in Rostock for a time, and celebrates the author's birthday every year on July 20.

Admission free

Venue: Literaturhaus Rostock (in the Peter-Weiss-Haus), Doberaner Str. 21, 18057 Rostock

A joint event of the Uwe Johnson Society and the Literaturhaus Rostock.


20.07.2024 19:30
House of Literature Rostock
Doberaner Straße 21
18057 Rostock
00493814925581
House of Literature Rostock
Doberaner Straße 21
18057 Rostock
00493814925581