Katja Behrens

Second Darmstadt Tower Writer

Since November 1, 2015 Darmstadt’s Tower Writer is a woman. Katja Behrens was born in 1942 in Berlin and now lives in Darmstadt. The Jewish author was able to hide from the Nazi persecution from 1943 – 1945 in Austria.

In 1960 she began her literary career; from 1968 to 1970 she lived in Israel, since 1973 she has worked as a publishing editor and since 1978 as a freelance writer. Mrs. Behrens is a member of PEN International in Germany and was the Executive Vice President and Writers in Prison Officer from 2007 to 2009. With her book "Roman von einem Feld" , first released in 2007, Behrens honoured the Oberfeld, on the eastern Darmstadt city limits. This means that the new Tower Writer is connected to the region.

Awards among others: Ingeborg Bachmann Prize 1978, Thaddäus- Troll Prize 1982, visiting professor at Washington University, St. Louis 1986 and Dartmouth College and Hanover in 1991, Mainz Stadtschreiber in 1992, Premio internazionale »Lo Stellato" 2000, George-Konell-Prize of the City of Wiesbaden 2002,  Children's book Prize LUCHS in September 2002.

Planned readings 2016

28 January
Yiddish fairytales with Katja Behrens and Irith Gabriely
Death and life are on the tongue and other Yiddish tales, read by Katja Behrens, musically accompanied by Irith Gabriely, Queen of Klezmer.

10 March
Spirits which dwell in stones
The Oberfeld has its secrets: Not everyone can see them, fat Trin who inhabits a stone on since her death in the Thirty Years’ War, and the witches, racing against Satellites in the sky, wildly laughing. But everyone can hear from them!

Reading from "Roman von einem Feld" (newly published by Haus Römerweg)

19 May
The mistress and maid
Darmstadt in Nineteenth Century: the maid Marie from the Odenwald works in an elegant villa on the edge of the Oberfeld and falls in love with the groom Balles. Bernhardine von Flotow, from and old noble Mecklenburg family, loses her heart to a footman/page boy, young enough to be her son, and marries him, defying her family.

Reading from "Roman von einem Feld"

7 July
Of farewells
"The pain of parting will be suffered, grief is inevitable. Every now and then a break; a sudden pain at the sight of a glove. The glove belongs to the hand that is gone ... "

Reading with music from "Abschiedsbriefe" ... you just have to suffer through it.

13 October
At Night, when shadows come out from dark corners - life story of a German Rom

Nono Konstantinovic, son of a Romani family from Serbia, was born in Rüsselsheim. His birth certificate lists a town campsite as place of residence. He spent the first years of life in Darmstadt after the then mayor had invited to a large gypsy music festival. A bomb attack devastated the house where he lived with his family ...

A reading from the newly published novel