Oksana Marafioti in conversation with Daniel Peña
The current Picador Guest Professor Oksana Marafioti is an US-American author of Armenian and Russian Romani descent. Her book American Gypsy: A Memoir was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2012. Here she interweaves stories from her childhood and youth in the Soviet Union with her experiences as an immigrant in the USA, where she moved at the age of 15. Her texts have appeared in The Rumpus, Slate and TIME, as well as in The Fairy Tale Review and Pilgrimage.
Oksana Marafioti read from American Gypsy and her essay On Making Wishes (The Rumpus) and spoke with Daniel Peña about how literary activism shapes cultural identity.
Daniel Peña was the Picador Guest Professor at the University of Leipzig in the Winter Semester 2017/18. He is a Pushcart Prize-winning writer and Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Houston-Downtown. His texts have appeared in The Rumpus, Ploughshares, the Kenyon Review, NBC News and the Guardian. His novel Bang was published by Arte Publico Press.
An US-American writer of Armenian and Russian Romani descent, Oksana Marafioti is the author of American Gypsy: A Memoir (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012). Her writing brings together both her childhood memories from the Soviet Union and her experiences as an immigrant in the United States where she moved with her parents at age fifteen.
"I was a Picador Guest Professor in Literature in Leipzig (2010/2011). The position was very fulfilling and my creative writing students were dynamic, imaginative, and full of heart. Leipzig is wondrous."
Nathalie Handal in an interview with thebartleby.com.
Nathalie Handal is an award-winning poet, playwright, and writer. She has lived in Europe, the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Arab world. In the winter semester 2010/11, Handal held the Picador Professorship at the University of Leipzig. Her latest book Life in a Country Album was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press.
"I am scared. Because we are experiencing a rise in fascism and extreme rightwing thoughts. But at the same time I know there is reason to fight."
Morgan Jerkins at the Picador Event 'Black Feminism'
"I’d encourage you to take this time to really open up to the echoes that resonate within you. Those echoes of history and identity and hope and fear and love that have produced who you are and the kind of person you want to be. Sit with them. Examine them."
Daniel Peña in his Audio Essay about the Black Live Matter Protests
The murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks and so many others are violent crimes within a long history of racist violence in the USA against Black people and PoC. Also in Germany many citizens have to experience racist violence and attacks. We think of Amadeu António Kiowa, Oury Jalloh, the victims of the NSU terror and the right-wing extremist terror attack in Hanau and the many reports of BPoc about racist assaults in their everyday life. The Black Community, PoC and all people affected by racism in Europe, the USA and worldwide have our full solidarity. This systemic violence needs to stop.
For a real change, white people need to listen to Black Activists and really understand what racist behavior and language is. We therefore highly recommend Tupoka Ogette's book and audio book.
We recommend supporting the Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland with a one-time or monthly donation.
I agree with @IjeomaOluo and have some ideas for people in Germany— Sharon Dodua Otoo (@SharonDoduaOtoo) May 30, 2020
1. Donate to @ISDBund (consider making a regular monthly payment of 3,00 €)https://t.co/S5E8KHYiHb#BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/eq2A1GZzqd
Are there any anti-racist books that you don’t see on the lists going around that you’d recommend?— Alexander Chee (@alexanderchee) June 2, 2020
Alexander Chee in conversation with
In his autobiographically influenced debut novel "Edinburgh", published in the USA in 2001, Alexander Chee, author and political activist in the gay movement, tells of sexual assaults in a boys' choir; for this Alexander Chee was awarded several prizes. In the collection of essays "How to Write an Autobiographical Novel" (2018) he looks back on further stages in his life. It was rated one of the 'Best Books of the Year' by New York Magazine, Washington Post, Publishers Weekly and Time Magazine. Albino Verlag has now published both books for the first time in German (in the translation by Nicola Heine and Timm Stafe).
The author will read from both books and talk to Senthuran Varatharajah.
Alexander Chee is the author of the novels Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night, and the essay collection How To Write An Autobiographical Novel, all from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic, and an editor at large at VQR. His essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, T Magazine, Tin House, Slate, and Guernica, among others. He is winner of a 2003 Whiting Award, a 2004 NEA Fellowship in prose and a 2010 MCCA Fellowship, and residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the VCCA, Civitella Ranieri and Amtrak. He is an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. In 2012/2013 he was Picador Visiting Professor at the University of Leipzig.
Senthuran Varatharajah, born in 1984, studied philosophy, Protestant theology and cultural studies in Marburg, Berlin and London. His debut novel "Vor der Zunahme der Zeichen" was published in 2016 by S. Fischer Verlag; for this he was awarded the Bremen Literature Promotion Prize 2017, the Adelbert von Chamisso Promotion Prize 2017 and the Rauris Literature Prize 2017, among others.