“We can do it” said Angela Merkel at the height of the refugee crisis. Contemporary German writers seem to be the most successful expression of the fact. For several years now writers with their origins in migration have been leading lights in German literature. BOZAR is pleased to welcome two of them, the German-Japanese novelist Yoko Tawada and the German-Bulgarian writer Ilija Trojanow. They will be in conversation with rising talent Kristine Bilkau and translator and Germanophile Els Snick, discussing their work and the rich tradition in which they are writing. In addition to the debate in English there will be readings in German, with translations into Dutch, French and English. An evening for lovers of literature without borders.
Kristine Bilkau published De Gelukkigen [The Lucky Ones] in 2015, a novel about problems of relationships and a generation’s quest for happiness. The book was singled out for special mention by the book panel on De Wereld Draait Door, as a result of which the Dutch translation became a major success. In Germany Kristine Bilkau’s debut novel has already won a number of literary prizes, including best first novel in 2015.
Yoko Tawada was born in Tokyo but has lived in Germany for more than 30 years. She writes in German and Japanese. Her stories are often situated in geographical areas where different cultures and languages meet and clash. The New Yorker has compared her work to that of Bruno Schulz and Franz Kafka. Her work has been published in English translation by the acclaimed publishing house New Directions.
Ilija Trojanow was born in Bulgaria and fled with his parents via Yugoslavia and Italy to Germany where they were granted political asylum. Later he lived in Kenya, Bombay and Cape Town. He currently divides his time between South Africa and Germany. He achieved major literary success with The Collector of Worlds.