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(Online) Returning to East Berlin with Jenny Erpenbeck and Claire Messud

Wed 5 April 2023 @ 19 h 30 - 20 h 30

Virtual Event Virtual Event

Author Jenny Erpenbeck converses with novelist Claire Messud about shared histories, divergent perspectives, and common life in the divided city of 1986 Berlin.

The Greek expression for timeliness or opportunity, kairos expresses the correspondence of an activity to its historical moment; an ephemeral alignment of situation and season. In celebrated writer Jenny Erpenbeck’s new work Kairos, this alignment is a relationship which emerges between a young woman and older writer amidst the dissolution of the GDR. The book contends with generational and political divides, anchored to the division of Berlin: having fortuitously found one another, the couple experiences the collapse of East Berlin from two different historical perspectives, unable to reach each other across the wall of time that separates them. Erpenbeck will discuss divided states, lovers, and ages with writer Claire Messud.

About the speakers:

Born in East Berlin in 1967, Jenny Erpenbeck is the author of many works of fiction. She won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for her 2012 novel Aller Tage Abend (The End of Days). Her novel Gehen, ging, gegangen (Go, Went, Gone) was shortlisted for the Deutscher Buchpreis in 2017 and has been nominated for the 2023 Prix Frontieres Leonora Miano. For her works, translated into 30 languages, she has won several awards such as the Thomas-Mann-Prize, the Premio Strega, and the Lee-Hochul-Prize. 

Claire Messud is the author of six novels, including The Emperor’s Children (2006), a New York Times Book of the Year in 2006; The Woman Upstairs (2013); and The Burning Girl (2017), a finalist for the LA Times Book Award in Fiction. Her most recent novel is A Dream Life (2021). She was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 2020. Messud teaches creative writing at Harvard University and writes a monthly books column for Harper’s Magazine.

Important information: This event is online. Attendees will receive a Zoom link upon registration. Participants will be able to pose questions through the Zoom chat function.

This event requires advance registration.

Evenings with an Author are free and open to the public (with a 10€ suggested donation)
thanks to the generous support of Gregory Annenberg Weingarten of GRoW @ Annenberg.


Wed 5 April 2023
19 h 30 min - 20 h 30 min
Event Categories:
(Online) Returning to East Berlin with Jenny Erpenbeck and Claire Messud
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