Events | Identity and Literature: A Conversation with the authors Julia Franck and Arnon Grunberg, moderated by poet Lynne Thompson

Thomas Mann House Los Angeles | June 27, 2024

June 27, 2024, 7.00 p.m. (PT) | Thomas Mann House Los Angeles

Renowned authors Julia Franck, a 2024 Thomas Mann Fellow, and Arnon Grunberg, will engage in a conversation in the living room of the Thomas Mann House, moderated by acclaimed LA-based poet Lynne Thompson! The award-winning authors will discuss issues of cultural appropriation and identity in contemporary fiction literature and poetry, and explore the complexities that come with writing characters and stories outside of a writer’s own cultural and identity background.

How can authors face the challenges of portraying experiences and cultures they have not personally lived, and the importance of avoiding stereotypical portrayals of their fictional characters? Do writers and their works bear responsibility for social conditions? To what extent do literature and literary writers negotiate moral convictions in their characters and stories? Does a writer have to act as a judge of good and evil and right and wrong through the choice of their character’s perspectives? The evening will provide valuable insights into how writers can navigate the delicate balance of respecting and honoring the identities of others while enriching their narratives with diverse perspectives.


By Invitation Only.


Julia Franck is an author based in Berlin, and a current Thomas Mann House Fellow 2024. She studied philosophy, modern German literature, and Ancient American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. Frank published her first novel, Der Neue Koch, in 1997. Her work has received numerous prizes and awards, including a residency at Villa Massimo in Rome in 2005 and the German Book Prize in 2007. Franck also writes essays on literature, film, and art, and took the position of editor for Die Andere Bibliothek in 2023. Her work has been translated into 40 languages to date. She is a 2024 Thomas Mann Fellow.


Foto: Merlijn Doomernik

Arnon Grunberg is a Dutch novelist and reporter. After being kicked out of high school, he worked as assistant in a drugstore, as dishwasher, publisher, and playwright for an Amsterdam theater company. In 1994, at age of 23, he made his debut with the internationally acclaimed novel Blue Mondays which won him two awards: for the best and for the bestselling debut novel. Grunberg's work has been translated into thirty different languages. He writes reports, book reviews, columns and essays for Dutch media and regularly publishes essays and stories in literary magazine Hollands Maandblad. He has contributed to The New York Times, The Times of London, The Guardian, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Der Standard, Die Welt, Bookforum, among others.   

Foto: Jacqueline Legazcue

Lynne Thompson served as Los Angeles’ 4th Poet Laureate and received a Poet Laureate Fellowship from  the Academy of American Poets. She is the author of four collections of poetry, Beg No Pardon, winner of the Perugia Press Prize and the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award; Start With A Small Guitar (What Books Press); Fretwork, winner of the 2019 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize selected by Jane Hirshfield; and Blue on a Blue Palette published by BOA Editions in April 2024. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Thompson is the recipient of multiple awards including the George Drury Smith Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry, an Individual Artist Fellowship from the City of Los Angeles, the Tucson Literary Festival Poetry Prize, and the Steven Dunn Poetry Prize.


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