Mirna Funk, Ilija Trojanow, Frank Witzel and Valerie Fritsch in Amsterdam


8 April 2016

In 2016, the year in which the Netherlands and Flanders are ‘Ehrengast’ at the Frankfurter Buchmesse, the Dutch Foundation for Literature invited six German-speaking writers in the writers residence in Amsterdam. Currently author and journalist Mirna Funk resides in Amsterdam until half May. She will be followed up by Ilija Trojanow, Frank Witzel and Valerie Fritsch.

Funk was born in Berlin, studied philosophy and history at the Humboldt University and lives in Tel Aviv and Berlin. For her first novel Winternähe she received the Uwe Johnson award for literary talent. The Dutch translation of her novel (Winternabijheid) has been published by Atlas Contact in March 2016.

During the second half of 2016, the Dutch Foundation for Literature invited three guest authors:

Ilija Trojanow

Ilija Trojanow was born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1965. In 1971 his family fled Bulgaria through Yugoslavia and Italy to Germany, where they received political asylum. He later lived in Mumbai, and nowadays resides in Germany and South Africa. His first novel, Die Welt ist groß und Rettung lauert überall, appeared in 1996. In it he recounts his family’s experiences as political refugees and asylum seekers. After the publication of his first novel, Autopol (created on the internet as a “novel in progress”), appeared Hundezeiten, a travel account of a visit to his Bulgarian homeland, and books dealing with his experiences in India. In 2006 he received the Leipzig Book Fair Prize in the category of fiction for his novel Der Weltensammler (The Collector of Worlds, 2008). This novel and three other works by Trojanow have been published by De Geus in Dutch translation (by Josephine Rijnaarts).

Frank Witzel

Author and musician Frank Witzel (Offenbach am Main, 1955) will be our WiR in September and October. Last year he was awarded the highest honor in German literature today, the German Book Prize for his latest novel, The Invention of the Red Army Faction by a Manic-Depressive Teenager in the Summer of 1969. As the title suggests, the book revolves around the political struggles in East and West Germany during the Cold War. However, the novel is far from a political manifesto. Witzel tells the tale through the eyes of a 13-year old boy to depict the deep divides that existed in West Germany after WWII in a country where the threat of communism was confronted daily. The Dutch translation (by Josephine Rijnaarts) of this novel will by published this fall by Lebowski. A new novel by Witzel will be published during his residency by his German publisher, Matthes & Seitz Berlin.

Valerie Fritsch

Writer and photoartist Valerie Fritsch (1989) was born in Graz, Austria. The Dutch translation of her second novel Winter Garten (‘Winter’s Garden’) will be published in 2016 by De Bezige Bij. The book was nominated for the German Book Prize 2015 and was awarded the Kelag-Preis and the BKS public prize at the Festival of German-Language Literature in Klagenfurt.

Her first novel Die Verkörperung was published in 2011. Die Welt ist meine Innerei, a cycle of travel reports and photographs published in 2012, is based on Fritsch’s many travels, especially to Africa, South America and South East Asia. She lives in Graz and Vienna, and will reside in Amsterdam in December 2016.

Vlnr: Mirna Funk (foto Stephan Pramme), Ilija Trojanow, Frank Witzel, Valerie Fritsch (foto Jasmin Schuller).

In the first half of 2016, the Dutch Foundation for Literature hosted respectively Per Leo and Karen Köhler. Per Leo presented the Dutch translation of his novel Flut und Boden (De Arbeiderspers) and wrote for Het Parool about his residence in Amsterdam. Karen Köhler wrote a succesful bundle of short stories Wir haben Raketen geangelt. During her residence she partook in the Passa Porta Seminar ‘Need & Necessity’, and was a guest at the Boekenbal, on which she wrote a column. Whyilovethisbook made video’s with both authors in which they talked about their own book as well as a Dutch novel of their choice (by W.F. Hermans and Elvis Peeters).

Additional information on the writers’ residence in Amsterdam is available on the website of the Dutch Foundation for Literature.


In the buildup to the Frankfurter Book Fair 2016 where the Netherlands and Flanders are Ehrengast, a number of large events are programmed across seven cities in Germany. The kickoff took place in March at LitCologne, the Leipziger Book Fair and the Leipzig liest festival. The literary and cultural programme, which includes over 120 authors and 150 events, will proceed at the International Kinder- und Jugendbuchwochen in Cologne (May), the Poesiefestival and the Das Mag Lesefest in Berlin (June), the Harbourfront Literaturfestival in Hamburg (Septembre) en – ofcourse – Frankfurt, where from the 18th to the 23rd of Octobre the Frankfurter Book Fair 2016 will take place. Follow the process at and via #FBM16.