Juan Gabriel Vásquez

Juan Gabriel Vásquez talks with Rike Bolte about, among other things, his current collection of stories Songs for the Flames, the role of literature in times of fake news, the question of how fiction shapes our perception of the political world, and his time in Berlin.

The Colombian writer is the current Samuel Fischer Guest Professor at the Peter Szondi Institute at Freie Universität Berlin. He is considered one of the most important contemporary narrators in Latin America. In his award-winning work, he deals with the violent history of his home country, which haunts his characters. He himself sees his narrative style as a counter-draft to the style of magical realism.

Rike Bolte is a professor of literary studies in Colombia, co-founder and curator of the Latin American poetry festival Latinale (Berlin), translator from Spanish and French, and freelance moderator.

The talk will be streamed live and will also take place with a live audience at the Instituto Cervantes Berlin - current Corona regulations permitting. Event in Spanish.

Juan Gabriel Vásquez

Photo: Diana Matar

Canciones para el incendio

Lieder für die Feuersbrunst

Rike Bolte

This event is presented by the Samuel Fischer Guest Professorship for Literature in cooperation with Instituto Cervantes Berlin and Schoeffling & Co.

„I imagined him talking to the woman about that boy who wrote books and lived far away. I imagined him, at night, dreaming that the boy was his son, that his son was living far away and writing books. I imagined him fantasising about the possibility of lying, of telling that woman that the boy was really his son, and I imagined him feeling, during the brief moments of the lie, the illusion of happiness.”

Juan Gabriel Vásquez, „The Double“ in Songs for the Flames

Literatures of the World

The Samuel Fischer Visiting Professorship for Literature was established on the initiative of Prof. Dr. Gerd Mattenklott at the beginning of the summer term 1998. It is funded by S. Fischer publishers, Freie Universität Berlin, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Veranstaltungsforum Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. Each semester an author is invited to teach at the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature. In addition to a seminar at the Freie Universität Berlin public readings and events with the guest professors are organized in Berlin and other German cities.


    Winter Semester 2020/21

    Ficción y tensión narrativa

    Samanta Schweblin talked to Moritz Lünenborg about „Little Eyes“ („Kentukis“), Berlin, her time as Samuel Fischer Guest Professor and the importance of first sentences. Click here for the recording (on YouTube). The conversation took place in Spanish.

    The End of Shame

    Édouard Louis meets Thomas Ostermeier at KÖNIG GALERIE
    © Phil-Dera

      Perspectives and identities

      Bernardo Carvalho meets Rafael Cardoso in the daadgalerie Berlin.
      © Phil-Dera

        Concert of words

        Celebrating 20 years Samuel Fischer Guest Professorship at Pierre Boulez Saal
        © Phil-Dera

          Book of Numbers

          Joshua Cohen at Jüdisches Museum
          © Phil-Dera

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