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Literature at the Volksbühne in November and December

In addition to the unabridged reading on 15 November of Robert Menasse’s Die Hauptstadt (The Capital) – winner of the German Book Prize – the Volksbühne is presenting the following readings and book releases in the Roter Salon and main auditorium over the rest of the year:

Der böse Mensch (The Evil Person) - book release
Lorenz Just
Reading featuring the author and Carolin Haupt. Moderation: Anne-Dore Krohn
Saturday, 18 November 2017, at 8 pm
Volksbühne Roter Salon

Lorenz Just is on the hunt for evil. He looks for it among people, in their biographies, their environments. In a bold game with fiction, authentic material and literary models, Just evokes evil as a powerful, yet ambivalent category. Der böse Mensch is also a book about memories in the present, how past horrors continue to live in us all – and about different strategies for living with something for which there is no absolution.

Lorenz Just, born in 1983, studied Islamic Studies in Halle (Saale). From 2011 to 2015 he studied at the German Institute for Literature in Leipzig, and was a finalist in the MDR-Literaturwettbewerb (Central German Broadcasting's literary contest) in 2014. His non-fiction book for young adults Mohammed. Das unbekannte Leben des Propheten (Mohammed: The unknown life of the prophet) was published in 2015. Der böse Mensch is his literary debut.


Zwischen SNACKS und MITTWACHT. Entgrenzte Prosa (Between SNACKS and MITTWACHT. Boundless prose) - Performance
Jo Frank and Thomas Podhostnik
Monday, 27 November 2017, at 8 pm
Volksbühne Roter Salon

In a multimedia and multilingual evening of readings, Podhostnik and Frank take prose to its limits: to the border where lucid dreams become nightmares, to the border where languages converge, where desire turns into a threat, passion into silence, sweetness into cruelty. Two authors with an ostensibly divergent literary programme encounter each other at the point where boundaries dissolve. Both authors' texts have a base tone running through them that rushes and crashes, buzzes and cracks, lifts up to a siren in order to plunge down into a hum.

Thomas Podhostnik was born in Radolfzell am Bodensee in 1972 and studied at the German Institute for Literature in Leipzig. He writes prose and experimental prose, which has been published in single titles, anthologies and literary journals. Jo Frank is a multilingual author, publisher (Verlagshaus Berlin), translator, artistic director of the Zeitkunst Festival and managing director of the Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk (ELES, a scholarship foundation).


Revolution Noir. Autoren der russischen „Neuen Welle“ (Russian “New Wave” Authors) - Book release
Julia Kissina (Editor), Ann Cotten und Ingolf Hoppmann.
Moderation: Meike Feßmann
Wednesday, 29 November 2017, at 8 pm
Volksbühne Roter Salon

One hundred years after the revolutions of 1917, Julia Kissina offers a forum to authors who have been part of the anti-realist undercurrent of Russian literature since the 1960s. Their teachers are Gogol and Charms; today's representatives, such as Kissina herself, are often double talents: painters, sculptors, philosophers. The way everyday, seemingly boring events can turn into something mysterious, denouncing reality while dream and delusion take over - literature as a miracle of perception is the common denominator in these works of prose.

Julia Kissina, born in Kiev in 1966, belonged to the Moscow Conceptualists movement around Vladimir Sorokin and Pavel Pepperstein in the 80s. In 2005 Vergiss Tarantino (Forget Tarantino) as well as the children's book Milin und die Zauberkreide (Milin and the Magic Chalk) were released in German, followed by 2013's Frühling auf dem Mond (Spring on the Moon) and 2016's Elephantinas Moskauer Jahre (Elephantina's Moscow Years).


Mir platzt der Kotzkragen (I'm Bursting With Vomit-Anger)
Tobias Bamborschke (Isolation Berlin)
Thursday, 30 November 2017, at 8 pm
Volksbühne Roter Salon

In the music world Tobias Bamborschke is known as part of the band Isolation Berlin. Now, with Mir platzt der Kotzkragen, he's releasing his first collection of literature; its poems and short stories are an orgy of emotions. Fragility, longing and gratification, hate, grief, love suffering - Bamborschke manages, with an astonishing ease, to show the reader the world as seen through the eyes of a self struggling for happiness.


Unsere leeren Herzen – Über Literatur (Our Empty Hearts. On literature) - Book release
Thomas Hettche
Reading / Panel discussion with the author, Joseph Vogl and Helge Malchow
Saturday, 2 December 2017, at 8 pm
Volksbühne Roter Salon

After Fahrtenbuch (Logbook) and Totenberg (Death mountain), Unsere leeren Herzen continues Hettche's essayist-narrative explorations, advancing his intellectual autobiography alongside his highly-acclaimed novels.
With an awareness that metaphysical questions of meaning are ever more vital in our fundamentally threatened Western societies, Hettche passionately questions literature’s significance and future, while avoiding a pessimistic sentimentality. He works against the naive, yet prominent, understanding of literature as a portrayal of the world, a view that undermines literature’s promise of both happiness and knowledge. In Unsere leeren Herzen, Hettche traces the sources of another realism, indeed another modernity.

Joseph Vogl, philosopher and professor at the Humboldt-Universität Berlin, studies literature, culture and media. Helge Malchow is head of the Kiepenheuer & Witsch publishing house.


Walter Serner Prize 2017 – Award Ceremony
Saturday, 8 December 2017, at 8 pm, Free admission
Volksbühne Roter Salon

rbb's kulturradio station and the Literaturhaus Berlin have awarded the annual Walter Serner Prize to the best short story out of 700 unpublished submissions on the subject of “life in big cities”. During the award ceremony, the winner will introduce the winning story, and Angelika Klüssendorf, writer and this year's guest juror, will give a speech in praise of the chosen work. The jury this year: Ernest Wichner and Sabine Büdel from the Literaturhaus, Anne-Dore Krohn and Roland Schneider from kulturradio and guest juror Klüssendorf. The prize is endowed with 5,000 euros. An abridged recording of the event will be broadcast on 9 December at 7:04 pm on the kulturradio station.


Weihnachten auf Russisch (Christmas in Russian)
Wladimir Kaminer
Monday, 25 December 2017, at 9 pm
Volksbühne Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Main Auditorium
From 11 pm Russendisko, Roter Salon

Wladimir Kaminer: “For an entire year, Germany has been on a rescue mission: refugees had to be fished out of the Mediterranean and housed in sports halls, the EU had to be saved from collapse, Greece from bankruptcy, homosexuals in Chechnya from their president (Merkel spoke with Putin, he said, ‘We'll see what I can do’). Deutsche Bank also had to be saved (ran out of money), for this there was, of course, a rescue plan as well. Worked up into a frenzy, Germany looked around, who still needs to be saved? By the way, homeless dogs and cats in Tatarstan are also saved by Germans, the locals there may be good people, but they don't save street animals. Germans save everyone and everything. And next year they might have to save America and take in millions of North Koreans. It's only over Christmas that this country takes a break”. -- In order to charge up positive energy for future rescue missions, Wladimir Kaminer welcomes everyone to the Volksbühne for a reading and Russendisko (Russian disco). “I will read texts from unpublished works that are important to me, but have never been printed, so they'll stay between us”.


Poetry Slam – Best of 2017
Friday, 29 December 2017, at 8 pm
Volksbühne Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Main Auditorium

This year the Volksbühne will once again play host to the big end-of-the-year poetry slam. Featuring many of the best slammers in the Berlin scene, including Kirsten Fuchs, Julian Heun, Katharina Huboi, Tannasgol Sabbagh, Yusuf Rieger, Jule Eckert, Karsten Lampe and Hanna Freund. The evening is hosted by Wolfgang Hogekamp from Bastard Slam and Sebastian Lehmann from Kreuzberg Slam.


Please contact the press office at or +49 (0) 30 24065 610 for press tickets and further information about our literature events. Texts and photos can be found in our website’s press section.

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