Writing between Cultures

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Joint event organized by the Temporal Communities Cluster of Excellence and the international literature festival berlin, at 6 p.m. on September 21 at silent green Kulturquartier

No 262/2019 from Sep 10, 2019

They moved as children or teens, perhaps from Iran to the United States or from Nigeria to the UK - "third culture kids." Three authors with these kinds of transcultural backgrounds will be featured at a joint event organized by the Temporal Communities Cluster of Excellence, Freie Universität Berlin, and the international literature festival berlin at 6 p.m. on September 21, where they will engage in discussion with scholars from the cluster. The guests are poet Kaveh Akbar and novelists Michel Faber and Chibundu Onuzo. They will be speaking with Dr. Dustin Breitenwischer, a scholar of American language and literature, and dance scholar Dr. Lindsey Drury. They will explore lives between cultures and how the life stories and experiences of the authors have shaped their writing. Toby Ashraf will moderate the event in English. The location is at silent green Kulturquartier, in Berlin’s Wedding district. Admission costs 8 euros. Discounted tickets are available for 6 euros.

The lives and work of the authors vary greatly. Kaveh Akbar was born in Tehran and grew up in the United States, where he still lives today. He heard his first poetry in Arabic, which he has never spoken himself; he publishes lyric poetry in English - in volumes of his own, but also in magazines and on the "Divedapper" poetry platform, which he founded. Author Michel Faber , who was born in The Hague and moved to Melbourne, Australia, at the age of seven, has published nine books in all, including international bestsellers. Faber writes historical novels and science fiction. He has lived in Scotland since the early 1990s. The stories written by Chibundu Onuzo take place in present-day Nigeria. At 14, she moved from the West African country to the UK, where she went to school and then went on to university, earning a doctorate in 2018. She published her first novel, The Spider King’s Daughter, when she was just 17.

In conversation with Dustin Breitenwischer and Lindsey Drury , whose research projects at the Temporal Communities cluster are dedicated to transcultural and intercultural interconnections in different areas, the authors hope to shed light on the concept of "third culture kids" in literature from various perspectives. The discussion will focus on the unique nature of every journey to navigate different cultures and on certain commonalities. What experiences do these writers share? What aspects elude a comparative perspective?

The "Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective" cluster aims to help rethink literature from a global perspective. The central idea is that the interlinking of literature across time makes it global. The goal is a new theoretical and methodological approach to literature. The scholars also aim to transcend traditional categories such as nation and period and to understand literature as a transcultural and transtemporal phenomenon in its historical depths and dimensions. Through the concept of "temporal communities," researchers within the cluster study how literature forms networks over time and across space, even as the term "literature" itself is constantly in flux through interactions with different artists and media.

In keeping with this view, the cluster’s research program is being carried out in cooperation with various cultural and academic institutions in Berlin. The cluster’s Berlin Partners Network encompasses museums, theaters, literary venues, and archives. Through dialogue with artists, creators, and other scholars and researchers, the cluster and its partners work outside the university to explore the living interconnections among various media and arts through which literature can be expressed.

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