The Samuel Fischer Guest Professorship for Literature was instituted at the Freie Universität Berlin in 1998 by the publishers S. Fischer in association with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Freie Universität Berlin and the Veranstaltungsforum of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. In addition to teaching at Freie Universität, the author holds a special Guest Professorship Lecture in Berlin and reads in further cities at various literary events.
The guest professorship is intended to promote the dissemination and critical analysis of world literature. It gives students at Freie Universität Berlin the chance to create literature with internationally renowned authors. The results of this collobaration have been documented and published in Edition AVL.
His debut Aberração, a collection of short stories that was immediately nominated for the country's most important literary prize, appeared in 1993. In this volume, the leitmotifs already emerge, which in many variations run through the 11 following novels: Secrets to be revealed, the past that permeates the present, poetry and truth that are inextricably entangled, the play with different perspectives and identities.
This summer semester, the Canadian writer couple Madeleine Thien and Rawi Hage are jointly teaching at Freie Universität.
Madeleine Thien was born in Vancouver. Her diverse oeuvre includes three novels, a volume of short stories, a children's book, and numerous essays. Central to her writing is the question of how one can retell one's own and shared history against the background of migration, trauma, and the search for identity and belonging. Her work has been translated into more than 25 languages and has won Canada's most prestigious literary prizes and numerous other awards. Thien has taught literature and creative writing in Canada, China, Germany, Nigeria, USA, Zimbabwe, Singapore and Japan.
Rawi Hage was born in Beirut and grew up in Lebanon and Cyprus. His work includes three novels and a variety of literary, artistic and journalistic forms that deal with issues of homelessness, exile and the consequences of war. His debut novel De Niro's Game from 2006 about the war-torn Beirut of the 80s won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
In their seminar „Insinuation and Double Exposure: Appropriation as Literary Response“ the two of them deal with literature against the background of a new questioning of history and the retelling of their own existence.
Together with the guest professorship a series of S. Fischer guest of honour-lectures was established beginning with Antonio Skármeta from Chile and Carlos Fuentes from Mexico. In May 2007 Orhan Pamuk, Nobel-Prize Winner of Literatur 2007, read from his Book Istanbul. To mark the 10th anniversary of the guest professorship, Paul Auster read in September 2008 at the Berliner Ensemble and the Nobel-Prize Winner Kenzaburo Oe on 1 November 2008 at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt as guests of honour. For the 15th anniversary the first guest professor from 1998, Vladimir Sorokin, read in June 2013 at the Berliner Ensemble from his book The Blizzard.
Since 1995, the Samuel Fischer Guest Professorship was held by the following authors (in alphabetical order):
Former Samuel Fischer Guests of Honour: