Stanislaw (Stan) Strasburger, novelist, essayist and cultural manager, is writer-in-residence in Gröndalshús in Reykjavík in April and May of 2018, hosted by the Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature and Goethe Institute Denmark.
During his stay in the city Stan focuses on research for building a character in his forthcoming novel, As I Weep. The character, Gunnar, is an Icelander living in the present day Bremen / Germany. He is going through a rough time in his relationship with his Beirut girlfriend. As Gunnar attempts to understand what is going wrong, he digs deeper and deeper into his memory and into the collective memory of his family. There, there is a story to be told: Gunnar's ancestor is Guðríður Símonardóttir. The trauma of the so called ‘Turkish abductions’ in Iceland in the 17th century - Icelanders, and Guðríður among them, being enslaved by Mediterranian pirates - becomes alive within Gunnar's personal troubles. The question arises whether Gunnar is simply unable to handle his life or if there is a genome of trauma which takes over.
Stan's literary works and personal life focus on urban spaces between continental Europe and the Mediterranean. This includes Warsaw (his hometown), Berlin (his current place of living), Cologne, Granada, Beirut, Aleppo and Damascus. He also engages in current debates on the future of Europe, including EU-topia vs. nationalism, migrations and collective memory. Other important issues for him have to do with his home country Poland being currently in focus in this regard and the Arabic Mediterranean region for migration issues.
Literary Event with Stan in Gröndalshús
On Tuesday, May 8th at 5 pm, Stan will be featured at a public event in Gröndalshús, in interview with Gauti Kristmannsson, professor of translation studies at the University of Iceland.
The talk will be in English. It is open to all and free of charge.
Memory, what is it? Each one of us has memories. We share them with friends and family, we celebrate nostalgia. However, at times memory is also a collective issue and it can become political. What exactly constitutes collective memory? Are atrocities necessary for remembrance? Or is it perhaps the opposite: happy people look forward and leave their complex past behind. What role does literature play in all this?
The talk is dedicated to provide an opportunity for exchange on memory, ideas and inspiration. Stan is happy to make it an interactive platform and welcomes the interest of participants becoming a part of the topography of the event.
During the event, Stan´s novels "The Story Seller" and "Obsession. Lebanon" will be available for sale in German, Arabic and Polish. Cash only please.
For more about Stan and his work and stay in Reykjavík, feel free to visit his blog while dwelling and writing in Reykjavík (in German) or his Facebook page.