Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Literaturhaus Wien Zieglergasse 26a, 1070 Wien

7:00 pm

Herta Müller: „Vor der Tür saß mal der Zufall“ (Chance once sat at my door)


Herta Müller, Foto © Stephanie von Becker

Welcoming address: Robert Huez (Director Literaturhaus Wien)
Opening Ceremony:
 Veronica Kaup-Hasler (Executive City Councillor for Cultural Affairs and Science)
Introduction of the festival program and Herta Müller:  Anne Zauner  (festival director)

Keynote:   Herta Müller: Vor der Tür saß mal der Zufall (Chance once sat at my door)

True to this year’s motto, Words of Alliance, Words of Defiance: Advocacy and Objections, the International Literary Festival Erich Fried 2022 focuses on the power of literature to change society. It was only logical to invite one of contemporary literature’s most powerful voices to open the festival: Herta Müller, the Nobel prizewinning author who has thought deeply about the nature of language in her own inimitable way.

The title of her keynote, Vor der Tür saß mal der Zufall (Chance once sat at my door), is taken from one of her characteristic collages, highly lyrical works which she has been producing for over thirty years. Herta Müller has wrested a new dimension from this artform in her most recent work, Der Beamte sagte (Hanser 2021; The civil servant said), whose 156 collages—for the first time also connected thematically—tell her atrocious, unfathomable story.

Event in German

Herta Müller, b. 1953 in Nițchidorf,  Romania, where she grew up as a member of the German-speaking minority. Her first book, Niederungen. Prosa (Kriterion Verlag, 1982; Nadirs, University of Nebraska Press, 1999) could only be published after years of trying and was heavily censored in Romania, where she was no longer allowed to publish after 1985. Since 1987, Hertha Müller lives in Berlin. She says that to write, she must linger where she has been most hurt inside, because otherwise she would feel no need. In 2009, she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, in that same year, her novel, Atemschaukel was published with Hanser Verlag (The Hunger Angel, Metropolitan Books, 2012). Müller also writes essays as well as novels. Since thirty years, she has been using an unconventional writing technique: she pieces texts together from cut-out words and images. This is how she created both her volume of collages, Im Heimweh ist ein blauer Saal (Hanser, 2019) as well as her most recent novella Der Beamte sagte (Hanser, 2021).

Literaturhaus Wien

Zieglergasse 26a, 1070 Wien