Moderator: Prof. Dr. Susan Neiman, Potsdam
Is it different to write about evil than to write about goodness? How does that experience influence a writer herself? Slavenka Drakulic compares writing her book Keiner war dabei about war criminals from the Balkans on trial in The Hague – with writing her new book about the “banality of goodness”. In both cases, she finds, there is a strong resistance from outside – but also from inside – to consider these people ordinary. Rather, they are called either “monsters” or “angels”. Why? Looking into human nature makes you realize unpleasant truth about yourself, and that can’t be easy…
Slavenka Drakulic, born in Croatia (former Yugoslavia) in 1949, is an author and journalist whose books are translated in many languages. She published four novels: Das Prinzip Sehnsucht (Rowohlt, 1989), Marmorhaut (Aufbau, 1998), Das Liebesopfer (Aufbau, 1997), Als gäbe es mich nicht (Aufbau, 1999).
She also published four non-fiction books: Wie wir den Kommunismus überlebten und dennoch lachten (Rowohlt, 1991), Sterben in Kroatien – Vom Krieg mitten in Europa (Rowohlt, 1992), Café Paradies oder Die Sehnsucht nach Europa (Aufbau, 1997), Keiner war dabei. Kriegsverbrechen auf dem Balkan (Zsolnay, 2004).
Her writing appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review Of Books, The Guardian, The Observer, FAZ, Die Zeit, Profil, Die Presse, Der Standard etc. She now contributes to Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), La Stampa (Italy), Dagens Nyheter (Sweden) and Politiken (Denmark). She lives in Croatia, Sweden and Austria.
Slavenka Drakulic is the recepient of the 2005 Leipzig Bookfair Award “for European understanding”.