Saša Stanišić is back in town

Book reading event in Heidelberg

Autorin: Aida Murtić

The writer Saša Stanišić met his readers and Heidelberg audience in the aula of the New University on 9 January 2020. As a former citizen of Heidelberg and a student of the Heidelberg University, Stanišić was warmly welcomed. His narration made some of the Heidelberg quarters literary visible and his return to the city he wrote about was much expected and appreciated. On the same day, Stanišić got a place in the Golden Book of the City Heidelberg, where he wrote “Heidelberg: meine Kraft. Mein Glück. Meine Stadt“ (Heidelberg: my strength. My luck. My city”).

For his book “Herkunft” (Origins), Saša Stanišić received one of the greatest literary awards, the German Book Prize for 2019. The book became a true bestseller that continues to animate debates about questions of place, belonging and language.

The author often highlights that the book is about one of the greatest and first coincidences in our biography – being born somewhere. And about what happens afterwards. Born in 1978 in Yugoslavia, he fled to Germany during war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992. In his book, Stanišić goes back to his hometown Višegrad, visits his grandmother and records her memories. He plays with facts and fiction, rejects chronologies, recollecting anecdotes, single moments and stories in a thought-provoking juxtaposition.

The evening in Heidelberg was emotional, humorous, inspiring, all in one. The writer Jagoda Marinić and the Heidelberg’s Intercultural Centre were great hosts and organisers. The whole event could be seen on the YouTube channel of the Stadt Heidelberg:

More details about Stanišić’s life and study in Heidelberg can be found in the Alumni-Interview from 2015: