As Virginia Woolf put it in A Room of One’s Own: “Sometimes women do like women.” Bringing queer stories to a straight world is a task that often falls to LGBTQ writers. But should LGBTQ writers feel an obligation to write fiction inspired by their own experiences? This panel explores the burdens of representation and the role of personal and literary influences, showing how LGBTQ lives come into literature.Featuring authors Darryl Pinckney, Zora del Buono, Antje Rávic Strubel, and Jürgen Bauer.
Moderated by Geoff Mak of Offing Magazine.
Darryl Pinckney, a long time contributor to The New York Review of Books, is the author of two works of non-fiction, Out There: Mavericks of Black Literature (2002) and Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy (2012), and two works of fiction, High Cotton (1992) and, most recently, Black Deutschland. He has worked on Robert Wilson's productions of The Forest, Orlando, Time Rocker, The Old Woman, and Garrincha: A Musical of the Streets.
Antje Rávic-Strubel is based in Potsdam and works as a writer, translator and literary critic. Drawing on her youth in East Germany, her fiction deals with issues of identity and womanhood in contemporary Europe. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Herman Hesse Award, the Marburg Literature Award and the Academy of Arts Award. Her most recent novel, In den Wäldern des menschlichen Herzens (2016), follows a handful of women as they travel throughout Europe and to the American coasts. Woven through their adventurous travels are discoveries of new sexualities, dissolutions of classical ideas of love, and explorations of the delineations between nationalities and sensualities.
Zora del Buono was born in Zurich in 1962, and studied architecture at ETH Zurich and at the University of the Arts Berlin. Following a stint in set design, she co-founded the magazine mare - the journal of the seas, and began work as a freelance writer in 2008. Since 2010, she has taught journalism at various universities in the US, Germany and Swi tzerland. Her 2016 novel, Hinter Büschen, an eine Hauswand gelehnt takes place on a college campus with a thriving LGBT community. Amid the chaos brought on by Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing, the narrator finds herself entangled in multiple relationships. The book dismantles barriers between young and old, queer and straight, and secrecy and disclosure.
Jürgen Bauer was born in 1981 and works as a writer and journalist in Vienna. He has participated in the New Writing program of the Burgtheater Vienna and was a writer in residence at Literarisches Colloquium Berlin in the summer of 2015. Bauer published his book No Escape, about the theatre director Barrie Kosky, in 2008; his latest novel, Was wir fürch ten, appeared in 2015. His first novel, Das Fenster zur Welt (2013), chronicles the friendship between two grief-stricken individuals: Hanna, whose mother has died, and Michael, who is mourning the loss of his partner following the end of their relationship. The unlikely bond that grows between the two characters encompasses themes of Vergangenheitsbewältigung as they come to terms with their personal histories and collective past.
Geoff Mak is the author of the novel LORDS, forthcoming on Picador USA in February 2018. He served as the founding fiction editor of The Offing, and has contributed arts coverage to publications including Forbes, Guernica, Mask, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. He divides his time between New York and Berlin.