Save the Date: International Conference of the Forum for Life Writing Research

Autobiographies describe one’s life in retrospect. The authors often portray their lives from the perspective of their forthcoming end: death. This conference intends to concentrate on the correlation between autobiography and death, particularly focusing on the question of how imaginations of one’s future (“future imaginaries”) evolve through autobiography, based on one’s past (“past tenses”), and extending beyond one’s death (“beyond endings”).

This international conference of the Forum for Life Writing Research, “Beyond Endings. Past Tenses and Future Imaginaries,” will take place September 26-28, 2018. Guest speakers are Prof. Marlene Goldman (Toronto), Dr. Chiara Nannicini (Brussels), Dr. Melissa Schuh (Frankfurt am Main), Prof. Dr. Mathias Mayer (Augsburg), Prof. Dr. Volker Depkat (Regensburg), and Prof. Dr. Julia Watson (Ohio).

Reading and discussion: A defiant mind: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s life-writing

Thursday, 14 June, from 6.00 pm (s.t.), Bezirksregierung, Freiherr-von-Vincke-Haus, Freiherr-vom-Stein-Saal
Poster Ngugi Wa Thiong´o
© Ina Batzke

We warmly invite everyone to a reading and discussion with Prof. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o on 14 June 2018. After his highly successful visit in 2015, we are honoured to welcome the critically acclaimed novelist and renowned scholar Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (University of California, Irvine) at WWU Münster again. At this event hosted by the WWU’s Forum for Life Writing Research, he will read from, and engage with, his recent memoirs.

Over the past twenty years, life-writing has gained considerable prominence in the literary marketplace as well as in university departments. As a distinct and differentiated literary genre, life-writing encompasses not only (auto)biography but also autofiction, letters, or memoirs and extends to other media including fine art and photography. The Forum for Life Writing Research at WWU Münster creates a space for intensive investigations and explorations of these texts and materials, as well as for systematic theoretical reflections on the genre itself.

Perhaps best known for his seminal Decolonising the Mind (1986) as well as several novels, Ngũgĩ’ wa Thiong’o’s recent work includes several memoirs of extraordinary scope. Detailing a long and eventful life at the pulse of Kenyan history, they stand witness to colonialism and postcolonial resistance, neo-colonialism, activism, and exile. His most recent publication Wrestling with the Devil: A Prison Memoir (2018), based on the 1982 Detained: A Writer’s Prison Diary, looks back on a year of incarceration in a maximum security prison following his severe criticism of the inequalities and injustices of postcolonial Kenyan government and society. Ngũgĩ is the recipient of many honours including the 2001 Nonino International Prize for Literature and numerous honorary doctorates.

The event will be chaired by Julian Wacker (Univ. Münster). All researchers, students, and those interested in life-writing or African literature are welcome to join in.

“Life Writing: Neue Ansätze in der Autobiographieforschung"

Lecture: “Life Writing: Neue Ansätze in der Autobiographieforschung

The lecture series "Life Writing: Neue Ansätze in der Autobiographieforschung" will commence on Tuesday, 27 October 2015. The series
is scheduled for both the winter and the summer term and will be held biweekly from 2:15 to 3:45 pm in JO1 (the lecture hall in the building of the “Exzellenzcluster” in the Johannisstraße). More information on dates and presenters can be found here.

“Life Writing: Neue Ansätze in der Autobiographieforschung II"

Abg Logo Big

The second lecture series "New Perspectives in Life Writing II" will commence on Tuesday, 8 November 2016. The series
will be held biweekly from 2:15 to 3:45 pm in F2 (the lecture hall in the "Fürstenberghaus"). More information on dates and presenters can be found here.

Guest Lecture

Abg Logo Big

On February 7, 2017, Prof. Dr. Ulla Haselstein (Berlin) will conclude the lecture series "Life Writing. Neue Ansätze in der Autobiographieforschung II" with a talk entitled "Talking and Listening: Gertrude Steins Selbstporträts".

The talk will be held in German. Everyone is warmly invited!