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Writers: Rory MacLean (London), Clemens Setz (Vienna)

Moderator: Rosie Goldsmith (London)

In Clemens Setz’s world, things whir and flicker with digital impulses as well as emotional exceptional situations. The everyday is strange, while the strange is normal. Cars are space stations, feelings are unexpected. Der Trost der runden Dinge (“The Comfort of Round Things”) is the story of ambiguity that intervenes in the life of its protagonist. For example, an Alsatian solider during the First World War discovers the constellation of the Great Young Kid in the night sky; it is so awful that he cannot tell anyone about it.

Immediately after the fall of the Iron Wall, Rory MacLean travels from Berlin to Moscow and writes his first book, Stalin's Nose. He previously made films with Ken Russell, David Hemming, Marlene Dietrich and David Bowie and now decides to become a travel writer. Poetry and realism go hand in hand in his black, often surrealistic journeys. Thirty years of Stalin's Nose he travels from Moscow to Berlin and on to London and asks in PRAVDA HA HA if and how the hopes of that time have been lost.

For both authors, the perspectives are surprising, and both are not afraid of the inconsistencies in our world. They create works that "wonderfully explain why literature lives on", to rewrite a formulation by John Fowles. Whether MacLean follows in the footsteps of young adults who followed the hippie trail from Istanbul to India in the 1970s, or whether Setz outsources his soul and lets a Clemens-Set-Bot answer questions about authorship: What could open us up more about the good life than the astonishing openness that characterizes these two writers?


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