»The foreign place, the foreign language can become a loophole. And that’s what literature is at its best: the most reliable of all escape routes.«
What do foreign places do to us and what do we do in foreign places? What role do places play in literature? These are some of the questions Antje Rávik Strubel asks herself when writing. Only in foreign places her novels take shape. Characters like the blue woman (from her award-winning novel of the same name) encounter Strubel in places that are unknown to her, places in which she does not recognize herself in. The novel worlds that emerge in this way are more than mere representations of reality. Sometimes it is the lack of orientation that enables a different way of seeing, a liberation from the ordinary, the familiar, the learned. The world turns upside down.
In her Lichtenberg Poetics Lectures held in Göttingen in February 2023, Antje Rávik Strubel examines the preconditions of her own literary work. She shows how life becomes aesthetic material, how experience can be translated poetically, and also asks how political literature can be, or even must be, today. In dialogue with great minds of literature, she explores her own paths, which, if the writing succeeds, lead to a change in perception and to the expansion of our empathy.