International Authors’ Conference ‘Junge Literatur in Europa’ in Greifswald

Inger-Maria Mahlke, Photo: Martin Kraft
Vahur Afanasjev, Photo: Karl Erik Piirimees

This year’s international guests come from Estonia, Great Britain, Iceland, Finland, Austria and the Czech Republic, to name just a few. They present extracts from their prose in half-hour readings, which include new releases and manuscripts that have not yet been published. Having successfully restructured the conference format in 2017, this year’s programme will again focus on the sessions organised by the authors themselves. The sessions provide the participants with a platform for discussing current topics, ranging from the role of literature in today’s society to skills needed during the creation process of literary works. The theme-based sessions will be led by conference participants from previous years: Sascha Reh, Lucy Fricke, Juan S. Guse and Isabelle Lehn. Literary scholars, publishing editors, cultural journalists, translators and experienced authors will also take part in the talks.

The conference series has provided important points of reference for teaching at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities for several years. For example, authors are focussed on in class or their works are translated by students in translation seminars. This year’s conference will look at texts that have been translated into German from Estonian, Finnish and Czech.

The conference has gained a considerable reputation, providing authors space for inspiring and diverse exchange in the often hectic German literature scene and opens new perspectives for literature from neighbouring countries. ‘I am particularly thrilled that we will be greeting the winner of this year’s German Book Prize, Inger-Marie Mahlke to this year’s conference, who was among the participants we had already invited in spring,’ says General Manager of the Hans Werner Richter Stiftung and Professor of Finnish Studies in Greifswald, Marko Pantermöller.

From the list of foreign authors, Professor Pantermöller would like to draw special attention to Vahur Afanasjev from Estonia, who will be introduced in Greifswald by the Estonian cultural journalist, Peeter Helme. Afanasjev won the Estonian Writers’ Union’s novel writing prize in 2017 with his novel Serefima ja Bogdan. The book is mainly set during the period of Russian occupation of Estonia and looks at the life of Russian-Orthodox Old Believers on the banks of Lake Peipus, on the eastern border of Estonia. In his novel, the author manages to captivate the subtleties of a unique community with its own language and own customs.  The story of Serafima and Bogdan functions as the central theme of a book that paints a vivid picture of the unusual world that its characters live in: the villages of the Old Believers and their lifestyle, faith, language and mysterious names. It partly feels like a fairy tale and is partly an ethnographic depiction of an ethnic group that suffered greatly under the Soviet regime.

The conference ‘Junge Literatur in Europa’ has been popular amongst young authors for many years.  Over the last 18 years, approximately 230 young authors from all over the Baltic Sea Region have received an invitation.

Further Information

The Hans-Werner-Richter-Stiftung is the only institution in the German-speaking world that hosts a conference that is regularly attended by German authors, foreign authors who write in German and foreign authors. The foundation was founded in 1999 by Toni Richter, the wife of the initiator of the ‘Gruppe 47’, and collaborates with the University of Greifswald's Department of Finnish and Scandinavian Studies.
Conference Programme [de]


The University of Greifswald’s Press and Media Relations Office can provide you with photos of Inger-Maria Mahlke and Vahur Afanasjev.


Contact at the University of Greifswald
Prof. Dr. Marko Pantermöller
Managing Director of the Hans-Werner-Richter-Stiftung
Department of Finnish and Scandinavian Studies
Ernst-Lohmeyer-Platz 3, 17489 Greifswald
Tel.: +49 3834 420 3611