Live radio show, broadcast from WDR Funkhaus. Tune in at: WDR 5, BR 2, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, HR2 Kultur, MDR, NDR, RBB, SR2 KulturRadio und SWR2


To kick off lit.COLOGNE 2022, we are celebrating a major milestone: The German Audiobook Prize will be presented for the 20th time in Cologne. Who will be honored as best female narrator? And best male narrator? Who will take home the sought-after prizes for best podcast, best radio play, best entertainment and best children’s audiobook? The answers will be revealed during the live show. Once again, WDR will turn the awards presentation into an entertaining radio show, broadcast live from WDR Funkhaus. Cologne-based presenter and literature expert Marija Bakker will welcome the prizewinners i…

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  • Tue. 15 March 2022
  • 20:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility

english | german


Born in 1948 in the Sultanate of Zanzibar, he has lived in the United Kingdom since the 1960s, teaching and researching as a professor of English and post-colonial literature. He has also written 10 novels. In 2021, the Swedish Academy awarded him the highest literary honor: the Nobel Prize for Literature. He has an astonishing body of work to discover. Warmest congratulations to Abdulrazak Gurnah from lit.COLOGNE as we welcome a world-class author. Gurnah offers us insights into his rich and multi-faceted work. Among other things, he will present his novel Paradise, which gave him his…

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  • Wed. 16 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • BALLONI Hallen
  • Accessibility
    • english german

english | german


Saturday evening at Campo Santa Margherita. After a drink, two female tourists agree to let a couple of locals take them on a joy ride around the lagoon. In the darkness, the boat runs into a post and the two Americans are delivered unconscious to the hospital’s landing stage. Why did their companions not alert the authorities, if it was just an accident? The more Brunetti investigates, the closer he comes to a monstrosity that even the Mafia fears. Donna Leon presents Commissario Brunetti’s 30th case in Transient Desires. For years, this Venetian police inspector has been winning the hearts of …

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  • Wed. 16 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • english german

The times are turbulent, and for many of us, even incomprehensible. It is not an exaggeration to speak of a new epoch. The age of coal-powered energy is coming to an end. A similar turning point for the global political system is expected. We humans like to think of the future as a continuation of the present. But with the world being shaken by three forces – the pandemic, climate change and the digital revolution – this no longer makes any sense. What happens if our familiar everyday never returns? Around the globe, people are experiencing how institutions, especially national states, are pro…

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  • Wed. 16 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • Flora Köln
  • Accessibility
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

“Thought Tetris” – that’s what Martin Bechler calls his songwriting method. Painfully moving and aptly grubby lyrics, telling stories of everyday life. Bechler heads Fortuna Ehrenfeld (“Die Rückkehr zur Normalität”), a band which has long since ceased to be an insider tip. “Their sound captures the spirit of the age. Pure, real, slightly antisocial and deliciously honest” (MDR). Back when they were the opening act for Kettcar, they played one of their last concerts at the nearly sold-out Kölner Philharmonie (Cologne Philharmonic Hall). And Bechler not only writes songs: Together with Sophia Fritz, he has also…

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  • Wed. 16 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • Schauspiel Köln im DEPOT 1
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

In Latin America everyone knows the name Clarice Lispector. Her portrait appears on stamps. She has the reputation of being a diva. Her books are considered the most significant written by a woman in Portuguese. Here in Germany, her work – which often uses everyday situations to illustrate power differences between men and women – is yet to be discovered. With psychological exactness, she captures the inner worlds of women and the emotional consequences of inequality. Actress Hannelore Hoger appreciates Lispector (1920-1977) as a “pioneer of emancipation” and admires the “great rambling imaginati…

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  • Wed. 16 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

englisch | deutsch


Three centuries, three destinies, three USAs. In her bold new novel, To Paradise, Hanya Yanagihara (“A Little Life”) rewrites the country’s history and future. In 1893, people in New York can apparently live and love as they wish. Instead of marrying as convention dictates, a young man takes up with a penniless music teacher. In 1993, Manhattan is in the grip of the AIDS epidemic, and a young Hawaiian man lives with a considerably older wealthy partner. In 2093, the authoritarian world is wracked by disease, and the granddaughter of a powerful scientist attempts to navigate her life without him. …

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  • Thu. 17 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • Oper Köln im StaatenHaus
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • englisch | deutsch

Doris Dörrie is one of Germany’s best known filmmakers, and has delighted millions of people with movies such as “Men” and “Cherry Blossoms”. In addition to her film work, she has published very successful short stories, children’s books, novels and handbooks on writing. In The Heroine’s Journey, Dörrie writes about three journeys – to San Francisco, Japan and Morocco – and about what it’s like to be a woman travelling the world. Exposing yourself to the unknown and uncertain always means confronting your own fears, dependencies and losses at the same time. The common thread through her personal story is the…

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  • Thu. 17 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

It took some time before Luxembourg-born actress and presenter Désirée Nosbusch (“Bad Banks”, “Irish Crime”) made her impressive breakthrough as an internationally recognized actress. Her autobiography Endlich noch nicht angekommen [“Finally not yet made it”] is a personal and heartening chronicle of an eventful life in a male-dominated industry, her unusual career and the people who accompanied her and shaped her forever. Host: Bettina Rust

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  • Thu. 17 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • COMEDIA Theater, Roter Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

An East German village is stuck in a cozy standstill prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall. After being kicked out of his psychology studies, Micha moves to the country and starts secretly practicing hypnosis. Soon, young women from the big city start moving to the village to be hypnotized and experience what it’s like to travel to the West. Psychiatrist Jakob Hein, who also practices hypnosis, has written an entertaining novel about the joy of escapism in Der Hypnotiseur [“The Hypnotist”]. Host: Simone Standl

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  • Thu. 17 March 2022
  • 19:00
  • COMEDIA Theater, Grüner Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

It is possible to live without a dog, but why would you? That is surely what Christina Schenk and Denis Scheck thought years ago when they adopted a four-legged family member. In The Undogmatic Dog, they have now documented their life together. It is a fantastic love story between a woman, a man and a Jack Russell named Stubbs. And Stubbs comes from the Ruhr region, of all places. Could this be the reason why the wonderful actor Dietmar Bär agreed to this first joint appearance?

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  • Thu. 17 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • Kulturkirche Köln
  • Accessibility
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Dirk Steffens, known as the presenter of the TV documentary series “Terra X”, has released Projekt Zukunft: Große Fragen, kluge Köpfe, Ideen für ein besseres Morgen [“Project Future: Big Questions, Brilliant Minds, Ideas for a Better Tomorrow”]. In it, the passionate conservationist investigates not only the scientific, environmental and technological challenges we face but also the opportunities that arise. He connects the dots, eschews easy answers, and questions apparent certainties about how to shape our future. Host: Anja Backhaus

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  • Thu. 17 March 2022
  • 20:00
  • Brunosaal
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Tilmann Otto, better known as Gentleman, is one of the world’s best-known reggae artists. With his memorable style, he powerfully conveys ideas and texts. But he hates reggae clichés “because there is no other music genre that is so political, that gives a voice to people who do not have one.” On his latest album, Blaue Stunde [“Blue Hour”], he sings in German for the first time. Tonight he will talk to Jochen Rausch about his song lyrics, what they mean and how they come to be.

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  • Thu. 17 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • COMEDIA Theater, Roter Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

englisch | deutsch


Jussi Adler-Olsen is back – and so is Carl Mørck. The inspector realizes that for three decades a cunning killer has been choosing victims and killing them in a way that does not look like murder. The victims and time of death are precisely chosen. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Department Q is busier than ever and time is running out in Natrium Chlorid [“Sodium Chloride”]. Host: Margarete von Schwarzkopf; German text: Peter Lohmeyer

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  • Thu. 17 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • englisch | deutsch

Reading without talk.


Christian Kracht’s novel Eurotrash starts with a memory. Twenty-five years ago, the unnamed first-person narrator of “Faserland” wandered through a Germany that had taken leave of its senses, from the island of Sylt all the way down to the Swiss border, and onwards to Zurich. In “Eurotrash”, the same narrator sets off once more – this time journeying not only into his inner self, but into the depths of his own family, whose history overlaps in tragic, comic and occasionally spectacular ways with the history of Germany. “Eurotrash” is a moving masterpiece of existential impact and sarcastic humor, “an even…

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  • Thu. 17 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • Oper Köln im StaatenHaus
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Our lives are becoming increasingly challenging: We have to achieve work-life balance, do good deeds and – as if that weren’t enough – respond to countless crises that demand our attention. In Raus aus der ewigen Dauerkrise [“Escaping the Perpetual Crisis”], neuroscientist and journalist Maren Urner claims that creative and solution-oriented thinking and actions require curiosity, courage and understanding – that’s the only way to a sustainable life. In Streiten? Unbedingt! [“Let’s Argue!”], Michel Friedman makes the case for arguing about everything that’s important to us. “Arguing is wonderful, challenging,…

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  • Thu. 17 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Zusatzveranstaltung um 21 Uhr!


We are in the midst of excessive times! Some overdo it with vaccinations, others by objecting. Some look ridiculously good, while others really let themselves go. We’re currently learning that there’s an excessively stupid argument for everything, while level-headedness is largely and dramatically understated. What can be done? Well, we should take an urgent look at how excessiveness has us in its clutches. How, with the help of epidemic activities, it’s caused us to consider pretty much everyone – friends, family, colleagues, anyone with a different opinion – predominantly stupid. Perhaps we can get s…

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  • Fri. 18 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Was sind das für Zeiten! Übertriebene Zeiten erleben wir! Die einen übertreiben es mit dem Impfen, die anderen mit der Verweigerung. Die einen sehen übertrieben gut aus, während andere sich übertrieben gehen lassen. Es gibt fü alles übertrieben dumme Argumente, lernen wir gerade, und die Besonnenheit erlebt auf weiten Strecken eine dramatische Untertreibung. Was ist zu tun? Nun, wir sollten uns dringend damit befassen, wie die Übertreibung uns in den Griff bekommen hat. Wie sie anhand von epidemischen Umtrieben dafür sorgt, dass wir uns überall – im Freundeskreis, in der Familie, am Arbeitsplatz…

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  • Fri. 18 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

We’ll never forget them! Good teachers are authority figures in the best sense of the word and remain important guiding lights throughout our lives. Uncertain teachers, on the other hand, are at the mercy of unruly students. For them, the school gate is a passage to hell. There are many kinds of teachers: strict ones, caring mentors and scoundrels who shouldn’t be taken seriously. Gerhard Schröder unceremoniously labeled all of them “lazy slackers”. Yet year after year, they undauntedly teach binomial formulas, the habitat of the crested hornbill or the ablative absolute. Intrepid educators voluntar…

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  • Fri. 18 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • Stadthalle Köln-Mülheim
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Andrea Sawatzki is one of Germany’s best-known film and television actresses. Brunnenstraße is her sixth book – but none of the others have been this personal and this intimate. In the autobiographical novel, Sawatzki explores a childhood unlike any other. It is a book about closeness and estrangement, love and excessive demands – with a catastrophic ending. An intense story from the best-selling author. Host: Knut Elstermann

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  • Fri. 18 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • BALLONI Hallen
  • Accessibility

englisch | deutsch


Woman. Black. Lesbian. Working-class. Bernadine Evaristo was confronted with those stigmas for 40 years. But she fought back, campaigned right from the start. For a place of diversity and tolerance for all. Her new memoir Manifesto tells the moving tale of the first Black Booker Prize winner – and advocates never giving up. Join us for her first reading in Germany. Host: Alf Mentzer; German text: Anja Herden

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  • Fri. 18 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • englisch | deutsch

english | german


In 1974, Cyprus finds itself on the brink of civil war. A taverna is the only place where Greek Kostas and Turkish Defne can meet. A majestic fig tree in the courtyard of the taverna is the sole witness to their joyous encounters and silent farewells. The fig tree is also there when war breaks out and people all over the island disappear without a trace. In the present, the tree stands in the garden of Kostas and his 16-year-old daughter, Ada, in London. Ada knows nothing about her homeland. Kostas refuses to divulge anything about his past or his late wife, Defne. But Ada investigates.…

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  • Fri. 18 March 2022
  • 19:00
  • Börsensaal der IHK zu Köln
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • english german

spanish | german


Easy Reading tells of four women with a “mentally handicapped” diagnosis who live together and lead an independent life. Cristina Morales, who was born in 1985, expertly combines court records, reports by the anarchistic Okupas, WhatsApp texts in “plain language” and a fanzine to create a great novel. She is considered one of Spain’s most important young literary voices. In 2019 she became the youngest author to be awarded the Spanish National Literature Prize for Narrative. Host: Paul Ingendaay; German text: Anja Laïs

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  • Fri. 18 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • spanisch | deutsch

english | german


Vertrauen heißt der lang erwartete neue Krimi von Dror Mishani, dem Meister der überraschenden Wendungen. Inspektor Avi Avraham will endlich mal einen großen, wichtigen Fall übertragen bekommen. Doch das Wünschen hat so seine Tücken. Bald schon gerät er in ein Labyrinth aus Gewalt und Täuschung, das ihn nicht nur mit dem Mossad in Konflikt bringt. Dror Mishani, geb. 1975, gelang mit „Drei“ der internationale Durchbruch. Mod.: Angela Spizig, dt. Text: Christian Berkel

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  • Fri. 18 March 2022
  • 20:00
  • Brunosaal
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • english german

Some say Jean-Henri Fabre and his texts would have been worthy of the Nobel Prize for literature. The great French author, inventor and naturalist (1823–1915) was a pioneer of nature writing and a devoted observer of the not-always-friendly miniature world of our six-legged friends: insects. On his sprawling property in southern France, he researched the fascinating behaviour of insects and described it as nobody had done before. He was a pioneer in both biology and literature. The final book of his ten-volume works has just appeared in German translation, to acclaim from the newspaper arts a…

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  • Fri. 18 March 2022
  • 20:00
  • Altes Pfandhaus
  • Accessibility

The OffSpring Award is sponsored by Flossbach von Storch AG.


In the first round of the writing competition for emerging talents, we got to hear about generation Z’s visions of the future. This year we’re staying in the present and would like to read your response to the question “Who am I?” We challenge you to seek, find, mirror, observe and describe yourself in society. Use the breadth that the topic offers, and impress us with your literary self-portrait in the form of a short story, essay or poem. Please send your contribution (max. four A4 pages, font size 12) to offspringaward@litcologne.de by February 20. Our jury of experts will select the three most in…

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  • Fri. 18 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • BALLONI Hallen
  • Accessibility
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung

The great poet Mascha Kaléko once wrote: “Just like you, I want to drink fearlessly, in brotherhood with infinity”. Men boozed their way through literature for years, now the ladies get their turn. The evening will start off sober, with gender analysis and social criticism. Women and men in literature – who drinks more or less, better or worse, and what do the statistics actually mean? And meanwhile, the ladies will enjoy a wee tipple on stage. Everyone relaxes, one drink quickly turns into three. And then comes the tipping point. As always happens when you’ve had too much. So – bottoms up?! Anneke Kim…

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  • Fri. 18 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

There is always a problem. Just when you have found your dream princess or prince, some stupid social conventions get in the way. Or ridiculous family feuds, as in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Or you are a cowboy in Wyoming in 1963 and you have fallen in love with another cowboy (“Brokeback Mountain”, Annie Proulx). Or you are “Anna Karenina” (Tolstoy) and you are married to the very handsome Alexei Karenin but you love and desire the even more dashing Alexei Vronsky. As you can see, literature is full of stories of forbidden and impossible love, and Mariele Millowitsch and Devid Striesow are here …

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  • Sat. 19 March 2022
  • 17:00
  • RheinEnergie Hauptverwaltung
  • Accessibility
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung

The Mines of Falun tells the saga of the unfortunate mariner Elis Fröbom, who seeks his fortune as a miner, and his bride, Ulla. The story of this love and its tragic end has been given the literary treatment multiple times, including by Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Johann Peter Hebel. The stories by literary outsider E.T.A. Hoffmann, with his deep roots in Romanticism, reveal fantastical worlds in a unique, unfathomable interpretation of the material. His “Mines of Falun” resembles a nighttime journey through a loss of reality and a final awakening in eternal love. This version is presented as a co…

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  • Sat. 19 March 2022
  • 17:45
  • WDR Funkhaus, Kleiner Sendesaal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Inspector Sörensen, who has only just made the move from Hamburg to Katenbüll in North Frisia, is giving up hope of finding peace in the countryside. A corpse is found in the marsh – stabbed with a screwdriver. And the last person to have seen the dead man alive has disappeared without a trace: the young Ole Kellinghusen, father-to-be and a good friend of Sörensen’s. The police officer, who suffers from an anxiety disorder, realizes that fear has many faces. For many years, the deceased man had been preparing for the end of the world – just not his own. The film adaptation of the novel “Sörense…

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  • Sat. 19 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

What is Germany? Between the champagne bars and the corner pubs, the Autobahn with no speed limit and the missed connecting trains, the vegetarian doner kebabs and the pork knuckle, it appears there is no clear answer to this question. How can you tell the story of a country? Marleen Lohse and Rufus Beck will take you on a journey through Germany and through time. A literary cartography – surveyed and sketched by students from the writing program at the University of Cologne. The coordinates are provided by text snippets from Roger Willemsen’s 2001 book “Deutschlandreise” [“Germany Trip”], supplemente…

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  • Sat. 19 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • BALLONI Hallen
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung

Maxim Leo (“It's Just a Phase, Honeybunny”) has written a deliciously satirical novel: Der Held vom Bahhof Friedrichsstrasse [“The Hero of Friedrichsstrasse Station”]. It’s about a man who becomes an unwitting hero 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, because it’s thought that he redirected a local train to the West, enabling a mass exodus. It’s about a man who plays this game with all its absurd twists and developments, while finding the love of his life. Host: Christine Westermann

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  • Sat. 19 March 2022
  • 19:00
  • Kulturkirche Köln
  • Accessibility
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Our culture has no concept of desisting. For this reason, we build motorways and airports for futures in which there will no longer be cars or planes. And we attempt to solve our future problems through optimization, even though optimized wrong is still wrong. In Obituary to Myself, Harald Welzer shows us how to escape from these absurdities: We need to write an obituary to ourselves in good time, so we know how we would have liked to have lived. Host: Stephanie Rohde

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  • Sat. 19 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • Börsensaal der IHK zu Köln
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

“All my works, whether books or films, have a solid core. That core is the answer to my inner voice, and it responds to the reality that surrounds me. But in the 60 years that I’ve been working as an author, that reality has advanced in leaps and bounds. So the core often changes both its color and its form. All the way through to my latest books, Das Buch der Kommentare [“The Book of Commentaries”], Zirkus / Kommentar [“Circus / Commentary”] and Schramme am Himmel [“Scratches in the Sky”] (with Jonathan Meese). I look forward to reading and debating with Svenja Flaßpöhler (“Sore Subjects”). We’ll start with “The…

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  • Sat. 19 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • Schauspiel Köln im DEPOT 1
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

June 24, 2022 will be the 100th anniversary of the murder of German foreign minister Walther Rathenau. In a startling literary reportage, journalist and author Thomas Hüetlin revisits the events that led to that fateful act. Berlin, June 24, 1922 narrates the chronology of that tragic day in German history and the political consequences that reverberate until today. We dive into a murky world of toxic, elitist, anti-Semitic groups of men and their respectable supporters in the military, politics and the justice system, whose deeds were more than a prelude to the later seizure of power by the …

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  • Sat. 19 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • Stadthalle Köln-Mülheim
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Many authors have sung the praises of the great American outdoors, many have focused on the simmering metropolises. But when it comes to the American small town, there is only one undisputed master storyteller: Sherwood Anderson, who became immortal with his book, Winesburg, Ohio, written in 1919. Not only is the champion of Faulkner and Hemingway considered the originator of a combination of novel and short story. In his narrative dance, he transforms the longings, frustrations and suppressed urges of the American provinces into unforgettable imagery. Writers including John Updike, Philip…

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  • Sat. 19 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Just like in the novels, the kangaroo presents its philosophical and political views with irrefutable justification, proving itself highly superior to author Marc-Uwe Kling. Together with illustrator Bernd Kissel, Marc-Uwe Kling now continues his famous kangaroo stories as a comic strip. Since November 2020, new comic strips have appeared (almost) daily in ZEIT Online, in black and white during the week, and in color on the weekend. Also ich könnte das besser – die Känguru-Comics [“I Could Do It Better – The Kangaroo Comics”] contains all the comic strips from 2021 – including (of course) COVID-19, t…

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  • Sat. 19 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

As Aldous Huxley once wrote, “that we are not much sicker and much madder than we are is due exclusively to that most blessed and blessing of all natural graces, sleep.” He was absolutely right – because we’ve all spent excruciatingly wakeful hours in bed, tossing and turning as lack of sleep almost pushes us over the edge... Industrial nations have been becoming increasingly interested in sleep, and in particular the lack of it, for some time. This is borne out by many newspaper and magazine articles. But in literature, too, you’ll find countless scenes about sleep, whether fantastical, horrific,…

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  • Sat. 19 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • BALLONI Hallen
  • Accessibility
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung

Are North Germans really so cold and Tiroleans always cheerful? Are the chalk cliffs on the island of Rügen the epitome of German Romanticism? In music, landscapes are often associated with programmatic content – “The Moldau” or Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 6” – or they are assigned to a region through their musical idiom. Composers such as Beethoven, Brahms and Smetana often took inspiration from vibrations in nature or encounters with the Alps or the sea. Shortly before his death, Roger Willemsen developed the Landscapes concept with violinist Franziska Hölscher and pianist Marianna Shirinyan. This event buil…

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  • Sun. 20 March 2022
  • 11:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

english | german


Renowned best-selling author Tana French is back. In her big new novel, The Searcher, Cal Hooper, a former Chicago cop, has fled to the West of Ireland. The surroundings seem peaceful; he gets a friendly welcome in the village. Until his inner warning system, trained over years, sounds the alarm. He’s being watched. Animals are dying in strange ways on nearby farms. Cal gradually becomes caught up in a search that leads him deep into darkness. A story of beauty and powerful suspense, a literary thriller and an impressive novel about family, community, nature, and the danger posed by humans. “…

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  • Sun. 20 March 2022
  • 12:00
  • Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • english german

In a deeply personal book, star conductor Kent Nagano talks about 10 Lessons of My Life that influenced him far beyond his artistic path. Nagano tells how Leonard Bernstein drove him to despair with a simple question, how he met pop musician Björk and got to know the other side of Frank Zappa – and how these encounters changed his thinking. Host: Claudia Dichter

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  • Sun. 20 March 2022
  • 16:00
  • Flora Köln
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, also known as “Mull”, is probably Germany’s best-known doctor. The nation used to hold its breath as he sprinted across the soccer field. He says he can see with his hands. We say he can READ the body with his hands. In his new book, Bewegt euch! [“Get Moving!”], Müller-Wohlfahrt describes the connections between mobility and health. Because exercise is the key to our physical and mental well-being. Host: Jörg Blech

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  • Sun. 20 March 2022
  • 17:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

op Kölsch


When “Das Herz der Kölner – Eine Sprachcollage aus original kölschen Tönen” [“The Heart of the Cologners – A Linguistic Collage of Original Kölsch Sounds”] was published at the beginning of the 1990s, another Cologne was revealed that exists in parallel with the one of narcissistic (half) truths. A Cologne that is at once funny and raw, dirty and warm. Gerd Köster and Arno Steffen seek out Cologne dialect real and fake, in old texts, songs, traditional humorous Krätzer narratives and among their own acquaintances. What they discover is that not all that glitters is Kölsch. Gerd Köster was the singer in “Schroede…

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  • Sun. 20 March 2022
  • 17:00
  • Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Bastian Schweinsteiger, hero of the 2014 World Cup Final in Rio, is also the hero of Martin Suter’s new novel. In One of You: Bastian Schweinsteiger, Suter shares true and nearly true stories from the life of a man who was certainly not set up from birth to accomplish everything a soccer player can. And he reveals how Basti achieved great success nonetheless. After his latest best sellers, Martin Suter could have gone in various directions, so it was a surprise to see one of the most successful German-language writers focus on perhaps the most prominent player in recent soccer history. But m…

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  • Sun. 20 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • Gürzenich Köln
  • Accessibility
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

For years, Hamburg-based yachtsman Boris Herrmann has been an advocate of climate action and protecting nature. He gained global attention when he sailed Greta Thunberg on his zero-emission yacht across the Atlantic to New York in 2019. Recently, he was the first German to take part in the Vendée Globe, the world’s most famous and difficult round-the-world solo sailing regatta. He was a front-runner in the race with his yacht Seaexplorer and ultimately came in fifth. In Allein zwischen Himmel und Meer [“Alone Between the Sky and the Sea”], co-written with Andreas Wolfers, he describes his experi…

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  • Sun. 20 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • RheinEnergie Hauptverwaltung
  • Accessibility

Aladin El-Mafaalani has been researching social inequality for more than 10 years. In Wozu Rassismus? [“What’s Racism For?”] he offers insights into the debate. Aminata Touré spent her early years in a refugee shelter. Since 2019 she has been vice president of the parliament in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Her book We Can Be More is a call to change politics and the way we co-exist. Together, they take a look at a possible tomorrow. Host: Thomas Laue

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  • Sun. 20 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • BALLONI Hallen
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung

How much courage does it take to forge your own path? Spiel doch mal leiser! [“Can’t You Play More Quietly?”] is the life story of Joja Wendt, one of Germany’s most successful pianists. It’s about how a vague dream became a big goal, about working beyond your pain threshold, about dramatic nadirs, fateful encounters and personal happiness. A fascinating journey from an exotic childhood to today, by way of the furthest reaches of the Earth.

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  • Sun. 20 March 2022
  • 20:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

french | german


Leïla Slimani spends an unusual night at the Punta della Dogana Museum in Venice. In the old Customs House of the Serenissima, where east and west have rubbed shoulders since time began. For the French-Moroccan writer it becomes a symbol of her own story. In Le parfum des fleurs la nuit [The Scent of Flowers at Night], Slimani, alone in the museum, dives into her memories. She writes about her childhood in Rabat, her daily life in Paris as a mother of two, about life between two cultures, and the feeling of foreignness. She thinks about her role as a writer and activist, about urgent societal …

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  • Sun. 20 March 2022
  • 20:00
  • Flora Köln
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • french german

turkish | german


When plague breaks out on Minger Island in 1901, Muslims and Christians blame each other. But whether it was pilgrims from Mecca or traders from Alexandria who brought the disease, the island is in chaos. When Sultan Abdul Hamid II and England and France finally order their warships to block the island to prevent the plague from spreading, the people of Minger are left to fend for themselves. Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk’s new book, Nights of Plague, is a unique requiem for the Ottoman Empire, under threat from nationalism and superstition. It is also a great historical novel that cleverly w…

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  • Mon. 21 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • turkish german

In 2016, following a successful career as a television presenter – first on music channel Viva, later on the satire show “extra 3” and the culture program “aspekte” – Tobias Schlegl began training to become a paramedic. In the early summer of 2021 he spent several weeks on board the ship Sea-Eye 4, searching for people in distress at sea on the world’s most lethal migration route. In his journal he reports on the daily tragedies off the Mediterranean coast. Host: Joachim Frank

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  • Mon. 21 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • Kulturkirche Köln
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Don’t we all envy sloths a little bit? These chill creatures spend most of their time hanging in trees, perfectly camouflaged by the green-tinged algae in their fur, which also serves as a basic food. In Sloths: A Portrait, Tobias Keiling and Heidi Liedke follow the furious influence of the lazy animal, which these days serves as a symbol of a relaxed life and anti-capitalistic stance. Host: Ralph Caspers

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  • Mon. 21 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • COMEDIA Theater, Roter Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

The gardener is not always the murderer. Sometimes he’s also the corpse, as retiree Angela realizes when her pug discovers a body in the Kleinfreudenstadt cemetery, in the tranquil Uckermark region. The dead man is buried head first in the earth with only his legs sticking out. The murder suspects all belong to two warring undertaker families. There’s a dubious managing director, a prim accountant, a sensitive eulogist, a Satanist and a cultivated stonemason. The latter not only shares Angela’s love of Shakespeare; the old man also still looks like a French film star. Will Angela fall for his rugge…

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  • Mon. 21 March 2022
  • 19:00
  • KOMED-Saal im MediaPark
  • Accessibility

The world we know is the result of human decisions, including the crises we currently find ourselves in. Now, we need to make new decisions – for a better world. The way we live will change fundamentally. Aspects of the environment, the economy, politics, society and technology that we have taken for granted will crumble away. But in Wir können auch anders [“We Can Also Do It Differently”], Maja Göpel gives us hope. Drawing on scientific findings, she explains how we can understand such complex developments and use the knowledge gained for the future. After all, there have always been great transfo…

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  • Mon. 21 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • Stadthalle Köln-Mülheim
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

How lucky that the pandemic didn’t strike until 2020! Fifty years earlier and we’d only have had two TV channels! Twenty-five years after his comedy show, “Zapped”, TV junkie Michael Mittermeier presents Nur noch eine Folge! [“Just One More Episode!”], in which he fondly recalls countless weird and wonderful shows, from “Biene Maja” to “Star Trek” to “Game of Thrones”. A wild and hilariously funny ride through German television history. Host: Ralf Husmann

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  • Mon. 21 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • Volksbühne am Rudolfplatz
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife

“I was depressed for thirty years. I have to live with it, and I’ve got no desire to keep it a secret”, says Kurt Kromer, one of Germany’s best-known and most popular comedians. In his book, Du darfst nicht alles glauben, was du denkst [“You Mustn’t Believe Everything You Think”], Alexander Bojcan, Kromer’s real name, processes his experiences with the condition. Brutally honest and disarmingly funny, he talks to doctor and author Jakob Hein about his love of life and art.

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  • Mon. 21 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • BALLONI Hallen
  • Accessibility
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung

A house in the country. Lush green views, a crowing rooster, a babbling brook, not a soul for miles around. For some it’s perfectly idyllic, for others a perfect nightmare. “When one is in town one amuses oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people”, wrote Oscar Wilde. And he is in good company with authors who write spitefully, dreamily or with delightful humor about urban and rural life. To celebrate the 22nd lit.COLOGNE, Caroline Peters and Sebastian Koch read texts about neurotic city dwellers, the unsophisticated village fair, the trendy exodus to the country and the agoni…

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  • Mon. 21 March 2022
  • 20:00
  • Philharmonie
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

You’d be hard pressed to find someone more familiar with the wonderful world of soccer than the creators of 11Freunde magazine. Now, the two editors-in-chef, Philipp Köster and Tim Jürgens, have delved into the archives of teams and associations, looking for unusual, bizarre, surprising and outstanding letters that bring to life the fascination for this sport and its protagonists. The documents include a victory telegram sent to Moscow by Frankfurt Eintracht, Sepp Herberger’s warning to Helmut Rahn, and Bernd Schuster’s apology to Jupp Derwall. Lieber Herr Bundestrainer! 54 Briefe, die die Fußball…

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  • Mon. 21 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

After her training at Camp Ritchie, Paula Bloom returns as an officer with the American occupying forces to a destroyed and broken Germany. While the principal war criminals are being tried in Nuremberg, the US Army has long resumed working with Nazi offenders. In the engine room of the Cold War, it’s the pragmatists who call the shots. Andreas Pflüger (“In the Dark”, “A Shadow Falls”, “Geblendet [Dazzled]”) proves with Ritchie Girl that he’s one of the world’s greatest thriller writers. Host: Thomas Laue

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  • Mon. 21 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • Kulturkirche Köln
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Hüseyin has worked in Germany for thirty years to achieve his dream: his own apartment in Istanbul. On the day he moves in he dies there of a heart attack. His wife and four adult children come from Germany for the funeral. Fatma Aydemir’s great social novel, Dschinns [“Djinns”], tells of six different people who happen to be related to each other. All of them have secrets, wishes and wounds. Host: Miryam Schellbach

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  • Mon. 21 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • COMEDIA Theater, Roter Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Marion Karausche’s The Empty Seat is a harrowing book about what we consider normal and what we call “crazy”. Marlen has a nice life. But when her son disappears one day, she finds out how quickly happiness can melt away. The fearful waiting, and later the sad certainty of his mental health condition gradually eat away at the lightness of her life. A novel about a mother’s struggle to hold her family together and her confrontation with a disease that is poorly understood by society. As Elke Heidenreich writes: “It’s a rare debut that unfolds to reveal such a rich palette of gentleness and desperation…

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  • Tue. 22 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Where exactly is our immune system, and how do we keep it intact? What are antibodies, and remind us again what the difference is between viruses and bacteria? Hendrik Streeck is director of the Institute of Virology at the University Hospital in Bonn. In Our Immune System he demonstrates in a scientifically well-founded and understandable way how the system performs a mammoth task that we seldom notice. He explains which pathogens cause the body to send out alarm signals, and why herpes viruses always break out on days when we want to look especially good. With dermatologist Yael Adler…

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  • Tue. 22 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • COMEDIA Theater, Roter Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Johann Lafer is what is known these days as an “entrepreneur chef”. As a professionally trained and highly acclaimed chef, he was once a restaurateur at Stromburg Castle and a busy TV chef; he possesses a helicopter pilot’s license. He has published numerous books and has pledged to promote good and healthy food for school pupils. He talks to YouDinner founder Miguel Calero (podcast: “Miguel trifft... [Miguel meets...]”) about the art of good food and all the stories around it.

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  • Tue. 22 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • Kulturkirche Köln
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

The young pastor, Anna von Betteray, is greeted with skepticism by her new congregation. She is a woman, after all, divorced, only in her mid-thirties, and an aristocrat to boot. Her sister Maria couldn’t be more different. It takes the disappearance of Maria’s son, Sascha, to rekindle the bond between them. In Wir sind schließlich wer [“We Are Important, After All”], Anne Gesthuysen tells the story of a shattered family with warmth and sensitivity. Host: Steffi Neu

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  • Tue. 22 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • Oper Köln im StaatenHaus
  • Accessibility
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

When photographer Bettina Flitner heard about her sister’s suicide several years ago, she reacted with shock, paralysis and despair. Then she faced the ghosts of the past. The result is a brilliant, moving book of liberation. Meine Schwester [“My Sister”] is a literary memoir in the tradition of Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking” and shows how you can work through the death of a loved one. Host: Jürgen Wiebicke

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  • Tue. 22 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • Kulturkirche Köln
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

danish | german


In Denmark she’s a star. Her novel, The Land of Short Sentences, has already won multiple awards. Now Stine Pilgaard is also coming to lit.COLOGNE! With humor and linguistic prowess she writes about a young mother who moves to peaceful West Jutland with her husband and baby. When she takes on the role of agony aunt at the local paper, her life changes and the clouds part. The session will be moderated by the novel’s translator, Hinrich Schmidt-Henkel, with a reading by Caroline Peters.

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  • Tue. 22 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • COMEDIA Theater, Roter Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • danish german

turkish | german, in cooperation with KulturForum TürkeiDeutschland e. V.


Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is one of the most controversial politicians of the 21st century. He used democracy as an elevator to power and then shut it off once he’d reached the top. In their graphic novel Erdoğan, Can Dündar and illustrator Mohamed Anwar trace the roots of his passion, document the tactics he used to gain support as an Islamist in liberal circles, and explain how Turkey went from being a secular to an authoritarian Islamic country. The work is surprising, fascinating and sobering. Can Dündar was editor-in-chief of the renowned newspaper Cumhuriyet until he revea…

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  • Tue. 22 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • turkish german

Bernhard Schlink’s new novel The Granddaughter is a story of family, love and freedom. Birgit fled to the West to be with Kaspar. Not until after her death does he discover the price she paid. He sets out to uncover her secret in the East, meeting the people she cared about and witnessing first-hand the oppression and their stubbornness. His search leads him to a rural community of neo-Nazis – and to a young girl. Host: Stefanie Junker

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  • Wed. 23 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

In englischer Sprache


Florence Given, Jahrgang 1999, ist Englands newest It-Girl und vor allem für ihre knalligen Illustrationen zu feministischem Empowerment bekannt. In ihrem Buch Frauen schulden dir gar nichts spricht sie über das, was ihre Generation beschäftigt: Rassismus, Sexismus, queere Identitäten, Body Positivity und toxische Männlichkeit. Die großartige, diskursprägende Sophie Passmann („Komplett Gänsehaut“) wird uns den englischen Shootingstar vorstellen.

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  • Wed. 23 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • Brunosaal
  • Accessibility
    • englisch

Helgoland: Kann man da hinschwimmen? [“Helgoland: Can You Get There By Swimming?”] Swimmer André Wiersig pondered this question for a long time. After achieving the greatest open water swimming challenge, Ocean’s Seven, he set off on the nearly 50km swim from the German mainland to the island of Helgoland on a dark August night in 2021. Wiersig discusses his adventures and his passion. “For me, ‘Ein Mann des Meeres [A Man of the Sea]’ is one of the truly defining literary experiences of the year” (Denis Scheck).

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  • Wed. 23 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • COMEDIA Theater, Roter Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Sold-out venues, “The Masked Singer” and a duet with pop star Helene Fischer – Bülent Ceylan has achieved it all, yet has remained true to himself. In Ankommen. Aber wo war ich eigentlich? [“I’ve Arrived. But Where Was I, Actually?”], the comedian talks for the first time about things there’s no room for on stage – about how he grew up, the meaning of diversity, home and family – with heart, humor and depth. If you think the journey is the reward, then you don’t know how important it is to arrive! Host: Roberto Cappelluti

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  • Wed. 23 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

In Freiheit für alle [“Freedom for Everyone”], philosopher Richard David Precht demonstrates the enormous restructuring tasks we face due to changes in the world of work, such as transforming our social system into a universal basic income. He joins Belgian philosopher and economist Philippe Van Parijs, who has worked extensively on the concept of a universal basic income and founded the Basic Income Earth Network back in 1986.

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  • Wed. 23 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • Stadthalle Köln-Mülheim
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Following Philipp Winkler’s celebrated debut “Hool”, his second novel offers a look at the black heart of the hypermodern. Creep tells the story of Fanni in Germany and Junya in Japan. Both are searching in the lives of strangers for things they themselves have otherwise given up hope on: control, belonging, liberation. In doing so, they cross boundaries that have long ceased to apply to them. Radical, daring and relentless! Host: Siham El-Maimouni

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  • Wed. 23 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • COMEDIA Theater, Grüner Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Sophia is a waitress at a wine bar. She always thinks she knows what people need to drink. The only one she can’t deceive is Martin. As her nights behind the bar get longer, her words of wisdom become stranger, more intimate and more disarming. According to writer Isabel Bogdan, Kork, by Sophia Fritz and Martin Bechler (Fortuna Ehrenfeld) is a “totally nonsensical, excellent book”. They’re presenting it to an audience for the first time – in a format to suit the context.

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  • Wed. 23 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • COMEDIA Theater, Roter Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

When fifteen-year-old Kim causes an accident, she is carted off to live with her father, whom she knows only from a photo. He sells awnings and turns out to be the world’s least successful salesman. They overcome their differences against all odds. Jan Weiler’s Der Markisenmann [“The Awning Man”] is a shrewd and humorous novel about growing up and getting older, about family secrets, guilt, responsibility and one remarkable summer. Host: Okka Gundel

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  • Wed. 23 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • Brunosaal
  • Accessibility
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung

Writers Monika Helfer and Michael Köhlmeier have been a couple for 40 years. Both have written excellent books and each of them has a new one coming out. Monika Helfer follows “The Riff-Raff” and “Daddy” with her novel, Löwenherz [“Lionheart”]. In it, Helfer recounts the life of her little brother and her own upbringing. With great honesty she creates an intimate portrait, a tale of caring, feelings of guilt and family ties. In Köhlmeier’s new novel a cat – Matou – asks humanity’s great questions. His life stretches from the French Revolution to the present day. He’s the Homer of cats. We’ll hear parts of both novels,…

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  • Wed. 23 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

When Isaac Bashevis Singer heard that he’d won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978, he thought it was a bad joke. In Stockholm, he gave his acceptance speech in Yiddish. Born in 1904 in Radzymin, Poland, he grew up in Warsaw and went to Rabbinical School. He emigrated to New York in 1935. He wrote countless novels and short stories in Yiddish, which were later translated into English. They include “Old Love”, “Reaches of Heaven”, “Lost in America”, and “Yentl the Yeshiva Boy” (filmed by and starring Barbra Streisand). Singer never forgot the old world of Eastern European Judaism, and he kept the “Shtetl”…

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  • Thu. 24 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

In his second novel, Senthuran Varatharajah tells two stories that become one: the story of a separation and the story of a single day, March 9, 2001, on which A. kills B. in Rotenburg, as arranged, and eats part of him. With lyrical intensity and philosophical rigor, Rot (Hunger) [“Red (Hunger)”] tells how the one we love is always too far away. And that they’re always missing, even when they’re standing right in front of us. Host: Carolin Emcke

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  • Thu. 24 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • COMEDIA Theater, Roter Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Harald Steen is 64 years old when he leaves his old life behind him. The loner boards a container ship in Rotterdam, heading for the legendary Galapagos Island of Floreana, hoping to finally trace his puzzling family history. Die dritte Quelle [“The Third Source”] by Werner Köhler is a clever novel about the myth of your own memory, and at the same time a modern adventure story set against a magical backdrop. Host: Wolfram Eilenberger

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  • Thu. 24 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • COMEDIA Theater, Grüner Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

french | german


Moroccan author Abigail Assor’s debut novel received laudatory reviews in France and was shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt for a First Novel. As Rich as the King is a sensual and linguistically masterful telling of the rise and fall of a young woman in Casablanca in the 1990s. It depicts a city full of contradictions and two people for whom love becomes a bargaining chip out of necessity. Sarah is young, attractive and penniless. Driss, on the other hand, the son of one of the wealthiest Muslim families, is as rich as a king. Sarah decides to seduce and marry him. Her pursuit of this goal t…

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  • Thu. 24 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • DEG - Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft
  • Accessibility
    • french german

The Berlin music scene in the 1980s and 1990s has long been portrayed in literature. But what was it really like? Danielle de Picciotto and Sven Regener (“Glitterschnitter”) should know. De Picciotto came to Berlin from New York City in 1987. She became a musician and artist, sang with the Space Cowboys and met all the dazzling stars of the time: Nick Cave, Einstürzende Neubauten, Depeche Mode, WestBam, Claudia Skoda, Die Ärzte, Marusha. In 1989 she launched the Love Parade with Dr. Motte. She talks about all that in her graphic novel, The Beauty of Transgression. Sven Regener has lived in Berli…

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  • Thu. 24 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

PeterLicht’s novel, Yes, okay, but, tells a tale of a man who rents an office in a co-working space. He wants to finally make it. As do the others there: flexible self-help experts, experienced funding application writers, eloquent procrastinators and other free-floating office personalities. They all have big plans and yet spend most of their time drinking coffee in the kitchen. The author reads and sings, accompanied by pianist Bene Filleböck. Host: Marie-Christine Knop

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  • Thu. 24 March 2022
  • 20:00
  • Schauspiel Köln im DEPOT 2
  • Accessibility

What is truth? Is it possible to be free of ambiguity? Norbert Gstrein is the master of the multi-perspective approach. His latest novel, The Second Jacob, was shortlisted for the German Book Prize. It features a first-person narrator who is trying to suppress an awful feeling of guilt. The writing is so imaginative, furious and gripping that readers remain enthralled until the final page. Hosts: Guy Helminger & Navid Kermani

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  • Thu. 24 March 2022
  • 20:30
  • Stadtgarten
  • Accessibility

“I think I’ve found someone! Judith Keller. She’s written a wonderful, whimsical book. It’s called ‘Oder?’ [“Isn’t It?”] and it makes me really happy and bewildered – in a good way.” The quote is from Saša Stanišić, German Book Prize winner and himself an author of wonderful books. “Dear Saša, I’m really pleased to hear that! Thanks for the lovely invitation! Yes, tell them I’d really love to join you there. I’m sure they’ll feed us well?” was the answer from the Swiss author (born in 1985). We look forward to seeing both of them!

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  • Thu. 24 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • COMEDIA Theater, Roter Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

english | german


In The Goodbye Man, best-selling author Jeffery Deaver (“The Bone Collector”) once again sends his investigator, Colter Shaw, to look for missing people. He comes across an organization claiming to be a self-help group, but immediately suspects that its goals are much more perfidious than grief counselling. It seems to be a dangerous sect that would do anything to protect its secrets. Hosts: Margarete von Schwarzkopf; German text: Dietmar Wunder

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  • Thu. 24 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • english german

19-year-old Else is on holiday in the Dolomite mountains when she receives a desperate letter from her mother. Her father is on the brink of bankruptcy, and only Else has a chance to save the family, if she can persuade her art dealer friend, Dorsday, to lend her 30,000 Guilders. Else suspects that he will only agree under certain conditions. This turns out to be true. Dorsday will only give Else the money if she undresses in front of him. This immoral proposition throws the young woman into deep conflict, which she avoids by making a surprising and tragic decision. The great prizewinning…

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  • Fri. 25 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

The ship will not depart.


Are you tired and worn out? Do you have a strange mix of symptoms and the feeling that you’re not at your best? In her best seller Energy, Dr. Anne Fleck, a specialist in preventive and nutritional medicine, gets to the heart of the matter, explaining the hidden causes that might be behind constant tiredness, susceptibility to infection and previously unaccountable symptoms. Doctor Fleck points the way to a healthier life. Host: Jörg Thadeusz

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  • Fri. 25 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • MS RheinEnergie, KD-Anleger
  • Accessibility

Never have so many people lived alone, and the brutal shift from self-determination to loneliness has never been so fundamentally palpable. But how does this loneliness affect us? Where does our great fear of being alone come from, and is it also possible to find happiness in solitude? Daniel Schreiber (“Alone”) and Bärbel Schäfer (“Avas Geheimnis” [“Ava’s Secret”]) talk about the consequences, danger and opportunities presented by going it alone. Hosts: Wolfram Eilenberger

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  • Fri. 25 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • Brunosaal
  • Accessibility

polish | german


Silesia, beginning of the 20th century: After his deployment in the First World War, miner’s son Alois Pokora finds himself unexpectedly confronted with his own origins and reunited with the love of his life. In Humility, Szczepan Twardoch depicts a world in transition with rousing impact. “His page-turners create a literary portrait of the violent upheaval of the twentieth century” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung). Host: Olga Mannheimer; German text: Florian Lukas

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  • Fri. 25 March 2022
  • 19:30
  • COMEDIA Theater, Grüner Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • polish german

english | german


Assembly talks of class, race, safety, freedom, winners and losers. It’s the story of a young Black woman who dares to take control of herself and her own story – even if it costs her life. British author Natasha Brown’s first novel is a literary sensation. “Diamond-sharp, timely and urgent!” (Observer) Host: Host: Marie-Christine Knop; German text: Cynthia Micas

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  • Fri. 25 March 2022
  • 20:00
  • Schauspiel Köln im DEPOT 2
  • Accessibility
    • english german

The ship will not depart.


A man is adrift at sea on a cooling box. He can’t remember anything. Around him are a llama and an unconscious clown. Piecing together his flashes of memory, he tries to discover who he is and how he got into this life-threatening situation. Flo Weber is the drummer and songwriter of the band Sportfreunde Stiller. Original and entertaining, Die wundersame Ästhetik der Schonhaltung beim Ertrinken [“The Wonderful Aesthetic of Keeping Still While Drowning”] is his third novel. Host: Katty Salié

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  • Fri. 25 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • MS RheinEnergie, KD-Anleger
  • Accessibility

Stefanie Stahl is a renowned psychologist and therapist. Her books, “The Child in You” and “Jeder ist beziehungsfähig” [“Anyone Can Have Successful Relationships”], were best sellers. Stahl focuses on relationships and self-esteem. She tells us why relationship problems are not just a phenomenon of today’s society and that everyone is capable of maintaining successful relationships. Stefanie Stahl will be interviewed by Verena Cappell (Psychologisches Radio [Psychological Radio]/WDR 5).

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  • Fri. 25 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

From a young age, girls learn to comply, to fit in, not to be too difficult, too demanding or too opinionated. This social expectation is mirrored and communicated in fairy stories and songs, poems and novels. But literature also tells us of female characters who step out of their roles by being clever or independent, who are stubborn and unorthodox, resisting taboos and conventions. Carolin Emcke and Anke Engelke read angry, amusing, shocking and encouraging texts about opinionated, unconventional women in literature. With the Brothers Grimm, Christa Wolf, Simone de Beauvoir, Mely Kiyak,…

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  • Sat. 26 March 2022
  • 17:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

The ship will not depart.


With his “Jung & Naiv” [“Young & Naive”] interview format, journalist Tilo Jung brought a fresh wind to political reporting and became an important voice in contemporary journalism. He is joined regularly on his YouTube channel by author and film critic Wolfgang M. Schmitt (“Die Filmanalyse” [“Film Analysis”], “Influencers. The Ideology of Advertising Bodies”) to discuss current problems in society and politics. At lit.COLOGNE, the two of them welcome Austrian Book Prize winner Raphaela Edelbauer (“The Fluid Land”), who is currently living and working in Mühlheim an der Ruhr as writer-in-residence of t…

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  • Sat. 26 March 2022
  • 17:00
  • MS RheinEnergie, KD-Anleger
  • Accessibility

“What really stood out as especially good was the Remix evening,” said the newspaper taz in 2019. So there was no question there would be a new round of Remixing this year. Remix is back! For the third time, we welcome young authors with learning difficulties, who present their latest literary works. This time they join us on an outrageous adventure: a literary journey through time, from the antique period to the Middle Ages and on into the modern era. They work through the literary greats and rework their texts. Sabine Heinrich will guide us through an evening full of fantasy, humor, poetry, emo…

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  • Sat. 26 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • Stadthalle Köln-Mülheim
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

It all began after he graduated from high school, with a screen printing workshop in Göttingen. Soon after that, the young Gerhard Steidl met artist Klaus Staeck, an encounter that led to a long-term working relationship. A fellow Young Socialist called Gerhard Schröder gave Steidl a tip about a piece of property, today the center of the “Steidl Village” in the middle of the city. Staeck introduced him to Beuys and Steidl became part of the artist’s entourage. Steidl printed a first book for Günter Grass. He soon owned the international rights to the Nobel Laureate’s work. A long phase of work with …

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  • Sat. 26 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • Kulturkirche Köln
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

Invented and circulated by people a few thousand years ago to make trading easier, money’s had a spectacular career. Today it’s everywhere, keeping us on our toes, occupying our thoughts and feelings, bringing us together or separating us. There are countless theories, endless shelves full of papers, finance tips, tricks and even meditation exercises on the subject of Mammon. And yet many questions remain: How did it take on a life of its own? Is money a blessing, a curse, or simply a tool? Will we have to give up cash one day? And what about the relationship between money and happiness? Why is …

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  • Sat. 26 March 2022
  • 18:00
  • Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • Accessibility
    • Gebärdensprachdolmetschung
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

The ship will not depart.


It’s time for the next round of the lit.COLOGNE Debut Prize! For the twelfth year in a row we present the spring’s cleverest and most remarkable debuts. The top prize is a silver pig worth €2,222, donated by RheinEnergie. Monika Schärer presents the three nominees: In Wir wissen, wir könnten, und fallen synchron [“We Know, We Could, And We Fall Together”], Yade Önder tells a wild and linguistically masterful tale of a young woman on course to collide with herself and the world. Sven Pfizenmaier’s Draussen feiern die Leute [“Outside They’re Celebrating”] is a clever, rigorous and entertaining portrait of German v…

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  • Sat. 26 March 2022
  • 20:00
  • MS RheinEnergie, KD-Anleger
  • Accessibility

french | german


This spectacular French best seller and Prix Goncourt winner by Hervé Le Tellier is a brilliant mix of thriller, comedy and great literature. In March 2021, a Boeing 787 on the way to New York flies through an electromagnetic storm and breaks all laws of reality. Highly amusing and devilishly clever, The Anomaly plays with our certainties and questions the limits of language, literature and life. Multi-faceted, universal, a literary sensation. This is “world literature without a doubt”, according to the television program “Druckfrisch”. “The combination of black humor, provocative thought experiment…

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  • Sat. 26 March 2022
  • 20:00
  • WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • french german

Tupoka Ogette (“exitRACISM”) is THE German facilitator for criticism of racism. Her books – including her latest work, Und Jetzt Du [“And Now You”] offer specific, realistic ideas for an anti-racist life and suggest ways of actively shaping and changing society in order to create a fairer world for us all. Because really confronting racism opens up a new perspective of ourselves and our fellow humans. Host: Mithu Sanyal

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  • Sat. 26 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • Kulturkirche Köln
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

english | german


Nigel Kennedy is an icon. As a child he was discovered and trained by master violinist Yehudi Menuhin. He performed on stage with jazz legend Stéphane Grappelli, and his rendition of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” made him an international star. In Uncensored!, the violinist is refreshing open about living for music, about a life that knows no bounds and that makes classical music accessible to everyone. Host: Jörg Thadeusz

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  • Sat. 26 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • Stadthalle Köln-Mülheim
  • Accessibility
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • english german

In a science-based, humorous and fascinating way, Frank Schätzing outlines various scenarios for our future in What if We Just Save the World? He shows how we can avoid the climate crisis and how everything can still turn out fine – or even become better. Peter Wohlleben’s The Tenacity of Trees is a declaration of love for natural diversity. In it, he shows how trees learn to cope with climate change – and why forests will save us if we let them. In Angry Weather, Friederike Otto (Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, London) sets out to find the reasons for heat waves, floods…

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  • Sat. 26 March 2022
  • 21:00
  • Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • Accessibility
    • Schriftdolmetschung
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang

english | german


Karl Ove Knausgård’s six-part autobiographical novel cycle became a worldwide sensation. Now the Norwegian star author is back with a new book. In The Morning Star, the world as we know it is turned upside down. Crabs walk on land, rats pop up in unexpected places – the idyllic Norwegian summer is overshadowed by strange occurrences. Nine people recount their experiences during these mid-summer days: literature professor Arne, who’s on holiday with his family in a summer house; pastor Kathrine, who realizes that her marriage feels like a prison; journalist Jostein, who, on an excessive drinki…

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  • Wed. 06 April 2022
  • 19:30
  • Flora Köln
  • Accessibility
    • Induktionsschleife
    • Rollstuhlgerechter Zugang
    • english german
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