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Literature Talk: Wars and Civil Wars in the Mirror of Current World Literature

Culture / Talk
in englischer Sprache

Drawing from her in-depth knowledge of the German literary scene, Sigrid Löffler, together with renowned writers in Alpbach, will discuss topics at the intersection of fiction and reality.

Vorsitzender, IDM - Institut für den Donauraum und Mitteleuropa, Wien Introduction
Author, Oakland, CA
Author and Journalist, Berlin
Literary Critic, Author and Publicist, Berlin Chair

Dr. Erhard BUSEK

Vorsitzender, IDM - Institut für den Donauraum und Mitteleuropa, Wien

1959-1963 Studium an der Universität Wien, Juridische Fakultät
1964-1968 Parlamentssekretär im Österreichischen Nationalrat
1966-1969 Vorsitzender des Österreichischen Bundesjugendringes
1972-1976 Generalsekretär des Österreichischen Wirtschaftsbundes
1975-1976 Generalsekretär der Österreichischen Volkspartei
1976-1978 Stadtrat in Wien
1976-1989 Landesparteiobmann der Wiener Volkspartei
1978-1987 Landeshauptmann-Stellvertreter und Vizebürgermeister von Wien
1989-1994 Bundesminister für Wissenschaft und Forschung
1994-1995 Bundesminister für Unterricht und kulturelle Angelegenheiten
1991-1995 Vizekanzler der Republik Österreich und Bundesparteiobmann der Österreichischen Volkspartei
2000-2001 Regierungsbeauftragter der österreichischen Bundesregierung für EU-Erweiterungsfragen
2002-2008 Sonderkoordinator des Stabilitätspaktes für Südosteuropa
2004-2005 Vizepräsident des Vienna Economic Forums (VEF)
2008-2009 Berater des Außenministers der Tschechischen Regierung in Fragen des westlichen Balkans während der EU-Präsidentschaft 1. Hälfte 2009
2000-2012 Präsident des Europäischen Forums Alpbach
2005-2014 Vorsitzender der ERSTE Stiftung
 Aktuelle Funktionen:
seit 1995 Vorsitzender des Instituts für den Donauraum und Mitteleuropa (IDM)
seit 1996 Koordinator der Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI)
seit 2005 Präsident des Vienna Economic Forums (VEF)
seit 2008 Vorsitzender des Universitätsrates, Medizinische Universität Wien
Jean Monnet Chair ad personam
seit 2009 Präsident des Herbert-Batliner-Europainstituts
seit 2010 Präsident des EU-Russia Centre

Anthony MARRA

Author, Oakland, CA

2010-2011 Teaching-Writing Fellow, University of Iowa Writers Workshop, Iowa City, Iowa
2011-2013 Wallace Stegner Fellow, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
2012 Whiting Writers Award, Whiting Foundation, New York, NY
since 2013 Jones Lecturer in Fiction, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
2013 publication of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
Nominee for National Book Award for A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
2014 National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award for A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Fiction
California Book Award
Barnes and Noble Discover Award

Najem WALI

Author and Journalist, Berlin

 Najem Wali was born in al-Amara, Iraq, on October 20, 1956, and earned a degree in German literature from Baghdad University in 1978. In 1980 he left Iraq and settled in Hamburg where he earned an M.A. in German Literature in 1987. From 1987 to 1990 he lived in Madrid, where he studied Spanish and Latin-American literature. He also lived in Oxford for six months in 1993 and in Florence for six months in 1995.
  In 1989, his novel, Krieg im Vergnügungsviertel ( War in the Entertainment District ), was published by Perspol Verlag, Hamburg, in the German translation of the author s friend Jürgen Paul. The Arabic original, Al-Harb fi Hayy al-Tarab, was first published in Damascus and Budapest in 1993 by Dar Sahra and reissued in 1995. His short story collection Laylat Mary al-Akhirah ( Mary s Last Night ) was published in Cairo in 1995. His novel Makan Ismuhu Kumait ( A Place Called Kumait ) was published in Cairo in 1997. A French translation by Marianne Weiss, Une Ville nomée Komeit, was published by L Esprit des Péninsules in 1999 and a Swedish one appeared in 2002. Tall al-Lahm was released in Beirut and London by Dar Al Saqi in 2001. In 2004, Hanser Verlag published the German translation: Die Reise nach Tell al-Lahm. He has also published the short story collections There in the Strange City (Hamburg: Verlag Am Galgenberg, 1990) and Valse ma a Matilda (Waltzing Matilda, Damascus: Dar Al-Mada, 2001). Surat Yusuf ( Yusuf s Picture ) was published in Beirut and Casablanca in 2005 and then in Cairo in 2008. The novel s German translation was released in hardback by Hanser in 2008 and in paperback by Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag in 2010. His recent novel, Mala ika al-Junub (Angels of the South), was published by Dar Kaleem Publishing in Dubai, UAE, in 2009, and in German translation in 2011 by Carl Hanser Verlag in Munich.
  Najem Wali now lives in Berlin, where he works as a freelance journalist and cultural correspondent for the largest Arab newspaper, Al-Hayat. His controversial Israel travel book was published in German translation as Reise in das Herz des Feindes : ein Iraker in Israel ( Journey to the Heart of the Enemy: An Iraqi in Israel ) by Carl Hanser Verlag in 2009. English translations of some of his stories have appeared online in Words Without Borders and in print in Brooklyn Rail Magazine. His short story  Wars in Distant Lands appeared in the February 2008 issue of Harper s. An excerpt from the translation by William Hutchins of his novel Yusuf s Picture is posted at in the September 2010 issue.

Mag. Dr. Sigrid LÖFFLER

Literary Critic, Author and Publicist, Berlin

1960-1966 Studies in German and English literature and philosophy, University of Vienna
1966 Master of philosophy, University of Vienna
1967-1968 German language teacher in England
1968-1972 Editor, Foreign Affairs desk, Vienna daily «Die Presse»
1972-1993 Cultural editor and vice editor-in-chief, Austrian news magazine «profil»
1988-1996 Cultural correspondent in Vienna, «Süddeutsche Zeitung», Munich
1993-1996 Freelancing contributor to various German and Swiss dailies and weeklies
1987-2000 Permanent member, German TV-Show «Das Literarische Quartett», ZDF
1996-1999 Cultural chief-of-staff, Hamburg weekly «Die Zeit»
2000-2008 Founder and editor-in-chief, literary monthly magazine «Literaturen» in Berlin
since 2008 Freelancing literary critic for various German and Austrian media and moderator of literary events in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
  Guest lecturer at various universities in Germany, USA and Israel
2010 Honorary doctor degree, University of Bielefeld

Seminar Week

show timetable


15:00 - 15:15Opening of the European Forum Alpbach 2014Plenary
15:15 - 15:30Opening Concert, Part 1: sAmo for Flute, Violoncello and AccordionCulture
15:30 - 16:30Opening SpeechesPlenary
17:00 - 17:30Opening Concert, Part 2: Blink, Think & ListenCulture
17:30 - 19:00Presentation of the SeminarsPlenary
19:00 - 20:00Bread and WineSocial


01 Sustainable Peace and Security – Who Cares?Seminar
02 The Politics of Emotions: Diagnosis and Historical TransformationsSeminar
03 An Energy Transition for the FutureSeminar
04 The Human MicrobiomeSeminar
05 Creativity and Innovation for GrowthSeminar
06 1814 – 1914 – 1989: Paradigm Shifts in Public International Law and PoliticsSeminar
07 Ethical Implications of Religious WorldviewsSeminar
08 Art and ProtestSeminar
09 Europe and Its Neighbours – EU External Relations at the Crossroads?Seminar
10 Collective Memory – Present Focus on the PastSeminar
11 Feeding the WorldSeminar
12 Decisions Under UncertaintySeminar
13 Macroeconomics – The Return of IdeologiesSeminar
14 Human – Machine – RoboticsSeminar
15 The Aftermath of 1914-1918: Images of the Great WarSeminar
16 The Key to Good GovernanceSeminar
17 Media from a Theoretical PerspectiveSeminar


16:00 - 17:00Vernissage: Let the Children Play. On the 25th Anniversary of the UN-Declaration of the Rights of the ChildCulture


17:00 - 18:30Literature Talk: Wars and Civil Wars in the Mirror of Current World LiteratureCulture


16:00 - 17:30Courage. In Memoriam Fritz MoldenCulture


17:30 - 18:30Theatre Performance: Free AssociationCulture


17:00 - 20:00Alpbach IdeaJam: SEM meets EDUPlenary