22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Emma Braslavsky

Portrait Emma Braslavsky
© Hartwig Klappert

Emma Braslavsky was born in a year when another two million mines were laid on one side of the German-German border, while soldiers with shoulder-length hair on the other side of the divide were handed hairnets and given training. She grew up in a society in which the word »decree« had been obviated and transplanted by the term »objective necessity«, so that people could then indulge in voluntary compulsive behavior. She spent her childhood at once in a democratic republic and in a dictatorship of the proletariat, as well as between the Catholic phraseology of her grandmother – with whom she spent the first years of her life – and the mathematical thought clusters and memory gaps of her father, who lost his ability to remember shortly before she was born. These many contradictory stimuli fed the codes that ultimately allowed her to see paradox as the wellspring of the human story, indeed of universal existence. A few months before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Braslavsky hastily left her home country to travel many years across the continents, stopping to study or work in Moscow, New York, Rome, Vietnam and Tel Aviv. One year before the new millennium she received a master’s degree from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She has since worked as a freelance author and curator.

She became known as a storyteller with the publication of her tragicomic debut novel »Aus dem Sinn« (2007; tr. Out of mind), a book about the gravitational force of memory that won her the Uwe-Johnson-Förderpreis and Franz-Tumler-Literaturpreis as well as a nomination for the Debut Prize by the Buddenbrookhaus. One year later she followed with her grotesque novel titled »Das Blaue vom Himmel über dem Atlantik« (2008; tr. Promising everything under the sun above the Atlantic), a story about the weightlessness of memory. In both books Braslavsky probes the relationships between man and spirit, and the dependencies between memory and identity. Since 2010 she has written and produced – with her brother, the musician Alexander Magerl – the audio comic series »Agent Zukunft« (tr. Agent future). In the feature-length, cinematic radio dramas the siblings examine humanity’s unrealized manifestos and treatises on feasibility, profitability and the potential for happiness. Braslavsky performed eight years of research for her new novel, »Leben ist keine Art, mit einem Tier umzugehen« (2016; tr. Life is no way to handle an animal). She spoke with climatologists, geneticists and embryologists, with anxiety researchers and experts on international law, with yacht appraisers and specialists for bunker construction and bunker complexes, and with Kabbalists. Their insights and expertise form the backdrop for her epic adventure novel on the blessing and curse of mankind, her captivating story of our quest for knowledge and veracity.

Emma Braslavsky has officially been an ex-Catholic since 2010, and a member of the Giordano Bruno Foundation since 2014.