Writers: Yara Nakahanda Monteiro (Lisbon) and Ivana Sajko (Berlin)
Moderator: Rainer Moritz (Hamburg)
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Moderator of live stream comments: Veronika Trubel (Vienna)

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Themes of Our Time


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In her novel, Every Departure is a Little Death (recently translated into English), Ivana Sajko tells the story of a writer and his insight into the impossibility of a leading a fulfilling life. Love seems impossible and yet it seems like the last resort; dismal reality is at odds with optimism. As in her award-winning family novel, which recounts the wars in Yugoslavia, hope and bemusement intersect. A laconic sense of humour shines through.

With her debut novel, Gravity of Tears, Yara Nakahanda Monteiro immerses herself in Angola’s traumatic history, a story of war, violence and ghosts of the past that cannot be shaken off. “The war makes us monsters,” she says, referring to her childhood experiences of war and her perception of the war in Ukraine.

In the face of horror and suffering, is it unbearable to talk about comedy? Or is comedy something that, like hope, points beyond
the abyss of violence and destruction?


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