ZfL Literature Days
22 Nov 2019 – 23 Nov 2019


Venue: Literaturhaus Berlin, Fasanenstr. 23, 10719 Berlin
Organized by Hannes Bajohr, Hanna Hamel
Contact: Hanna Hamel

Nobody evades the neighbourhood. Good neighbourliness must be learned and cultivated. Such engagement ranges from choosing the right neighbourhood to helping with the move or exchanging tools and muffins. While in the past, direct contact in the stairwell was unavoidable, today online platforms promise to make neighbourly help custom-fit and available on demand. After all, good neighbourliness also means to feel undisturbed in one's own everyday life.

When the doors between neighbours close, the curiosity of literature awakens. It observes the observer who stands at the window for too long; it follows the passer-by who is magically attracted by the light of other people's flats. It focuses on neighbourly relations beyond everyday life and devotes its narrations to the strangeness that is part of every encounter between neighbours.

The ZfL Literature Days present literary explorations of the neighbourhood. Particularly in Berlin, and not only since the increase of gentrification, questions of living and residing have been an important, long-standing topic of day-to-day politics. These issues date back to the history of the divided city and to the legendary flâneurs of the early twentieth century. Today, literature overcomes old stereotypes and explores new challenges of cohabitation in a diverse, pluralistic society. The diversity of voices and languages emerging in a community of members of different origins, is of particular interest to contemporary literature. But authors also take a look beyond the local neighbourhood or the city and explore the promises and dangers of neighbourhood in a broader political sense. What does it mean, for example, when countries like Germany and France consider themselves as neighbours? Which understanding of neighbourhood emerges between individual countries in a time of closing boundaries in Europe? Literature can raise these questions in a painfully persistent way and it can also discover neighbourhood in and between places where we did not expect it.

The ZfL Literature Days are jointly organized by the Literaturhaus Berlin and the ZfL, this year in cooperation with the project Neighbourhood in Contemporary Berlin Literature.


Friday, 22 Nov 2019
13.45 Welcome

Readings and talks with ...

Matthias Nawrat and Daniel Weidner (ZfL/HU Berlin)

Rasha Abbas and Hannes Bajohr (ZfL/Uni Basel)

Maruan Paschen and Claude Haas (ZfL)

Helene Hegemann and Sonja Longolius (Literaturhaus Berlin)

Saturday, 23 Nov 2019

14.00 Lecture
Anna Steigemann (TU Berlin): »Was ist Nachbarschaft? Wie geht Nachbarschaft? Über Nachbarschaftskonzepte und -diskussionen in der Stadtforschung«
followed by a talk with Hanna Hamel (ZfL)

Readings and talks with ...

David Schalko and Janika Gelinek (Literaturhaus Berlin)

Anke Stelling and Ulrike Vedder (HU Berlin)

Norbert Scheuer
and Pola Groß (ZfL)

Jan Brandt and Alexandra Heimes (ZfL)


The event will be held in German.


buy tickets

day ticket 7€, reduced 4€
two-day ticket 10€, reduced 7€

Media Response

15 Dec 2019
Nachbarschaft als Projekt. Was die Gestaltung der Nachbarschaft über gesellschaftliche Wünsche und Ängste verrät. Die Literaturwissenschaftlerin Hanna Hamel im Gespräch

Radio cast by Marie Schoeß, in: Bayern 2, program Kulturjournal Kritik. Dialog. Essay, 15 Dec 2019, 18:05 (from 21:50 min to 40:21 min)