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

Culture / Talk
english language

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

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

Anthony MARRA

Author, Oakland, CA

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

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

Studies in German and English literature and philosophy, University of Vienna Master of philosophy, University of Vienna German language teacher in England Editor, Foreign Affairs desk, Vienna daily «Die Presse» Cultural editor and vice editor-in-chief, Austrian news magazine «profil» Cultural correspondent in Vienna, «Süddeutsche Zeitung», Munich Freelancing contributor to various German and Swiss dailies and weeklies Permanent member, German TV-Show «Das Literarische Quartett», ZDF Cultural chief-of-staff, Hamburg weekly «Die Zeit» Founder and editor-in-chief, literary monthly magazine «Literaturen» in Berlin 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
since 2008

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