New writing from Central and Eastern Europe, South-Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region.
Ten years of writers in residence
This book brings together the writing of 46 authors from Eastern and Central Europe and the Black Sea region who took up writer's residencies in Vienna between 2010 and 2020. Born in the 60s, 70s and 80s, the authors were young when Russian was still an official language in Armenia, Georgia, Moldavia and the Ukraine, and there was a shared language in Yugoslavia. Now they have contributed new work to Declaration for Everything. The result is an exciting, varied collection that brings together the most notable voices of the past decade. Together they take us on a journey of discovery – from Skopje to Sarajevo, from Tirana to Perm, from Minsk to Tiflis and from Istanbul to Chisinau.
Balancing the need for closeness with the fear of surveillance, As Far As We Know is a multi-voiced exploration of life today.
"We watch the watchers!" Under cover of darkness, a self-styled group of activists tries to fight back against the omnipresence of surveillance. As yet, they're only armed with spray cans. But how far should civil disobedience go? Mirjam has her doubts, while Agnes attempts to expose her unfaithful boyfriend with an app. Then there's Illir Zerai, a refugee who suffers from a persecution complex following his work for the Albanian secret service, and the student Marek, who falls in love with a stranger at a party. They all live in the same block of flats – and like all neighbours, their relationship is a mixture of need and mistrust, of helping and spying on each other. But there comes a point when you have to let go of fear.
The third volume of Lukas Kummer's highly praised graphic novel series based on Thomas Bernhard's “Autobiographische Schriften”.
“The Breath” forms the core of Bernhard's autobiography. It is where deepest despair and creative force are blended into the potent mix that makes his writing so unique, fascinating and boundary-breaking to this day. Bernhard was in his late teens when severe pleurisy abruptly wrenched him from his apprenticeship. He was hospitalised and considered terminally ill. But the 'room for lost causes' into which he is shunted turns out to be a place of new beginnings. Thomas Bernhard decides to live – and following the death of his grandfather resolves to become a writer himself. Lukas Kummer has found a rich and powerful imagery for this journey from near death to redemptive self-creation.
A wonderfully wry story about a young woman, an old man and the power of literature.
As a bookseller, elderly Mr Roch has always been surrounded by books. Now he's written his own "novel of the century". It's all about literature, from Musil and Roth through to Bachmann and Handke – stories in which the notion of possibility often overrides reality. Mr Roch asks Lisa, a student and waitress in his favourite café, to type up the manuscript for him. As she can't read his writing, he decides to read it out to her, but his papers are in a dreadful mess. An ambivalent relationship develops between the old man who's brimming with stories and the young woman who doesn't believe everything he says. But Lisa has other worries too – her friend Semira is due to be deported. Can Roch's storehouse provide a refuge for her?
A unique pop-cultural game set in 1990s Belgrade – and a mad race against a time that truly screwed things up for the city's people.
Belgrade, 1995: Marko, his sister Vanja and Kasandra from the Roma settlement live in the "giant psycho-economical disaster" of 1990s Belgrade – a vicious circle of poverty, violence, inflation, drugs and new technologies. Yet in this inspired novel there aren't just gangs and dealers, there's also a crazy scientist and a time machine, there's a Balkan pop icon and kinky sex, there are bombardments and destruction, but also music and friendship. When the three young friends are catapulted into the war year of 1999, they realise that they have to rescue their city from the disastrous 90s. In a headlong race against the ticking clock they try to find the key to the time warp and re-write history.
Best-selling author Erika Pluhar’s new novel centres on a woman at a turning point in her life.
Fifty-one-year-old Hedwig Pflüger returns to the Vienna apartment hat she has inherited from her grandmother. She has kept away from the city and the old woman she grew up with for several decades. Now she faces a turning point in her life. The Viennese apartment is full of memories and in the stillness of the old building Hedwig starts to write about the past. The resulting account tells of a woman who struggled to meet the standardised requirements of her time; a woman who despite all her attempts kept sliding back into isolation and loneliness. But now, as she looks back and puts pen to paper, Hedwig learns to accept the present and open herself up to new challenges.
“Scent of the Soul” is a moving love story set amid the Syrian civil war and an authentic account of repression, revolution and the terror of the IS.
It's 2010 and the vibrant city of Damascus is full of life, but it’s the calm before the storm. Tarek, a Sunni Muslim, falls in love with Sanaa, who is Alevi. Against all odds, the two become a couple. But their secret meetings abruptly end when Tarek is called up. Through the military, he becomes entangled in acts of violence and antiques smuggling. He succeeds in fleeing to Europe, but when Sanaa tries to follow him, she is kidnapped by the IS and locked up. What Sanaa suffers in the IS prisons is based on authentic experiences, as Turjman cleverly weaves together fact and fiction to create a breathtaking novel that is highly relevant to our times.
Ein fundiertes Plädoyer für eine Gesellschaft, die der Verfügbarkeit der Welt Grenzen setzt.
Modernity’s core endeavour is to increase our personal reach, our grasp on the world. However, according to Hartmut Rosa’s controversial theory, this available world is a silent one. There is no longer a dialogue with it. Rosa counters this progressive estrangement between human and world with what he refers to as “resonance”: a reverberating, unquantifiable relationship with an unavailable world. Resonance develops when we engage with something unknown, something irritating, something that lies beyond our controlling reach. The outcome of this process can’t be planned or predicted, thus a moment of unavailability is always inherent to the occurrence of resonance.
With “Astray”, Martin Lechner offers us another enigmatic and superbly entertaining game of deception.
Powerfully eloquent, funny and expressive, the novel tells of Lars, a school drop-out who evades military service in favour of community service in the workshops of a psychiatric hospital. There, Lars finds refuge from his mother, whose abusiveness is worse than that of any raging patient. This is also where Lars meets Hanna, a patient who swiftly gets him tangled up in all manner of delightful scuffles, but whose radical attitude soon takes on a threatening scale. Was it her who torched the workshop leader’s car? How long before the flames of their passion also devour Lars’ fragile attempts to find his place in the world? And can those who’ve gone astray ever find their way back to an orderly life?
The celebrated author and passionate gardener Barbara Frischmuth shares her thoughts on nature and language.
Nature and culture cannot be kept separate. They continuously intertwine, visibly and invisibly, but not always harmoniously. From the outset, humankind has tried to tame and subjugate nature. And the more spectacularly successful we are in doing this, the less we think about how dependent on it we still are. This shows most clearly in the language we use to try and label and describe nature – be it in the fictional, poetic, factual or scientific context. In her essay, Barbara Frischmuth seeks to illustrate how nature is discussed in literature, culture, science and in everyday life. To underestimate nature would be perilous. To value and even love it equals human enlightenment.
The essay series UNRUHE BEWAHREN (Keep Uncalm) is a response to an increasingly uncomfortable present tendency. At the heart of modern-day progress lies a wasteful unrest, while the past is progressively devalued and the future is robbed of substance. This is opposed by the principle of anachronism. Engaged contemporaneity should be coupled with the courage for caution and a passion for the outmoded. UNRUHE BEWAHREN is therefore also the theme to which the spring and autumn lecture series at Akademie Graz are dedicated.
Edited by Astrid Kury, Thomas Macho, Peter Strasser
Advice: Harald Klauhs