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Esther Kinsky

Opening Speech

The writer and translator Esther Kinsky, born in Engelskirchen in 1956 and raised in the Rhineland, has been awarded numerous awards for her extensive literary work, which includes poetry, essays, and narrative prose. She is also an accomplished translator for Polish, Russian, and English. In 2022, she received the prestigious Kleist Prize. Kinsky’s works impress with their stylistic brilliance, thematic diversity, and stubborn originality. She is a truly European writer: her books are set in the Hungarian province ("Banatsko", 2011), on the outskirts of East London ("Am Fluss", 2014), on a small archipelago off the west coast of Scotland ("Schiefern", 2020), or in Friuli, Italy ("Hain: Geländeroman", 2018, awarded with the Leipzig Book Fair Prize in 2020; "Rombo", 2022).

In her texts, Kinsky travels to unknown, unnoticed peripheries. She has dedicated herself to the existential, human experience of exploring and overcoming the foreign. Seeing, recognizing, and naming a strange world in natural-historical, geological, geographical, cultural, and historical-political contexts is the central theme of her oeuvre. Kinsky's novels and poems place people in a relationship with "disturbed terrain" ("Störungen", 2023), an area that gradually reverts to nature after a phase of intensive use and exploitation by humans. She eloquently examines metaphorical fields of disturbance as well: historical burdens, frictions of nature and culture, the tension between extractivism and reconquest. Her writing is a school of perception in its own right. Her latest book "Weiter Sehen", a love letter to the cinema as a space that expands our point of view, asks how it is possible to "see further" and reach an understanding when the place of shared experience, the cinema, has been dismantled in favor of a privatized life and experience. This year, Esther Kinsky will give the opening speech of the Ruhrfestspiele.

The opening speech on May 3 is part of the feierlichen Eröffnung of Ruhrfestspiele and can only be only be booked in combination with „The Pulse“.

Tip: The speech will be recorded. We will publish the video recording shortly after the event here.

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