Salvador Plascencia and Nancy Campbell in conversation with Svenja Gräfen

Picador Guest Professor Salvador Plascencia met Samuel Fischer Guest Professor Nancy Campbell for a conversation about the art of writing and the interplay of design and literature. Svenja Gräfen hosted the conversation that took place on June 8 at the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig. Photos by Andreas Lamm.

Salvador Plascencia was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and grew up on the outskirts of Los Angeles. He is the author of the cult favorite “The People of Paper”, named a best book of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and Financial Times. “The People of Paper” has been translated into a dozen languages and widely anthologized and adopted in Chicanista, postmodern, and design courses. T.C. Boyle said, “The People of Paper is a novel like no other… Calvino, Borges, and García Márquez will come to mind, but Plascencia’s novel is a creature of its own, firmly grounded and soaring at the same time.” Plascencia’s writing has appeared in McSweeney's, Lucky Peach, Tin House, and the Los Angeles Times. He teaches fiction writing at Harvey Mudd College.

Nancy Campbell is a Scottish writer, described by the former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy as ‘a deft, dangerous and dazzling poet writing from the furthest reaches of both history and climate change’. In 2020 she received the prestigious Ness Award from the Royal Geographical Society for her environmental writing, including works of non-fiction (“The Library of Ice”), poetry (“Disko Bay”) and artist’s books (“How to Say ‘I Love You’ in Greenlandic,” winner of the Birgit Skiöld Award). A memoir, Thunderstone, was published in summer 2022. Nancy’s writing has been commissioned by many arts and heritage organisations including the Royal Academy, the British Library, the BBC, the National Poetry Library and World Book Night.

Svenja Gräfen is a novelist and non-fiction writer based in Leipzig. In 2017, their debut novel “Das Rauschen in unseren Köpfen” was published by Ullstein fünf. The second novel “Freiraum” followed 2019. Their first non-fiction book “Radikale Selbstfürsorge. Jetzt!” was published by Eden Books in 2021.

read-write-design-read-write-design took place on June 8 at the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst in Leipzig. The photos were taken by Andreas Lamm.

The event is a collaboration between the Samuel Fischer Guest Professorship and the Picador Guest Professorship and took part for the 25th anniversary celebration of the Samuel Fischer Guest Professorship.

Partners of #PicadorProf are: the University of Leipzig, DAAD, the U.S. publisher Picador and Holtzbrinck Berlin - Inspire Together. Partners of #sfischerprof are: Freie Universität Berlin, DAAD, S. Fischer and Holtzbrinck Berlin - Inspire Together.

Salvador Plascencia Salvador Plascencia

We proudly present: the current Picador Professor Salvador Plascencia!

Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, grown up in the outskirts of Los Angeles, Salvador Plascencia is the author of the cult favorite The People of Paper, which has been translated into a dozen languages. We are delighted that he is teaching at the University of Leipzig this summer semester!

© Photo: PRIVAT

©Rachel Eliza Griffiths

"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

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.

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In 2006, Leipzig University, in co-operation with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Veranstaltungsforum of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, initiated the Picador Guest Professorship for Literature at the University of Leipzig aiming at conveying and critically reflecting on Anglo-American Literature. Public events are also offered in addition to the authors’ teaching activities as Picador Guest Professors. This takes place in collaboration with the creative arts and culture community of Leipzig.

"Many of the questions we discussed were ones we had never thought about before for example the question of what our own “fundamental truth” is."

Thea, Student


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