University of Tartu to receive renowned German authors and poets for the first time in the Baltic states
From 16 to 18 May, a conference of the German Academy of Language and Poetry will take place at the University of Tartu for the first time in Estonia, bringing together many renowned German and Estonian authors. During a formal award ceremony, the Germanist and translator Mati Sirkel will receive the Friedrich Gundolf literary award for mediating German culture abroad.
In the course of the conference, one can take part in literature evenings and listen to speeches and discussions on the cultural and, above all, literary connections between Germany and Estonia throughout the history and today. The discussions will go into Estonia’s position as the meeting point of languages and cultures, our relations with the larger neighbouring countries, as well as the rebirth of the Estonian national culture and state, in which literature and music played a crucial role. German and Estonian literary and academic traditions will also be covered.
The participating Estonian authors are Jaan Kaplinski, Doris Kareva, Kristiina Ehin and Ene Mihkelson. The German authors presenting their works include Ingo Schulze, Friedrich Christian Delius, Ursula Krechel and Aris Fioretos. The formal culmination of the conference will be the academy award ceremony. The Sinologist Wolfgang Kubin will be given the Johann-Heinrich Voß translation award for translations from Chinese to German, and the Germanist and translator Mati Sirkel will receive the Friedrich Gundolf award for mediating German culture abroad.
The spring conferences of the Academy often take place abroad – like in Tartu this year – and their purpose is to learn about the literary life of other countries as well as to engage in discussions with the local authors and intellectuals. The President of the German Academy of Language and Literature Heinrich Detering regards Tartu as a small but intellectually vibrant university town that is European in its openness and highly important for the dialogue between Germany and the Baltic states. “In recent years, most delighting developments have occurred here in the field of German studies. First of all, very good and vital contacts between the University of Tartu and German-language literature and literary scientists,” says Detering, pointing to the partnership between the German studies departments of the Universities of Tartu and Göttingen: “It has proven most attractive for many young people from both universities – in a time when Estonian literature, too, is becoming more and more popular in Germany.”
Secondly, Detering highlights the cooperation between young Germanists, considering it an encouraging example of how the relations between European countries can also consist in culture in addition to economic and financial contacts. “Such an encouraging example is particularly necessary now, as the idea of a unified Europe is being increasingly criticised. Our decision to organise the foreign conference in the Baltic states for the first time is motivated precisely by the afore-mentioned developments, which we hope to expand by studying the literary relationship between Estonia and Germany throughout the history as well as in the current European context,” says Detering of the selection of the location for the conference.
For more information on the German Academy of Language and Literature, visit their website.
Further information: Terje Loogus, Head of the Department of German Philology, tel: 737 5348, e-mail: terje.loogus [ät] ut.ee.