“We talked in great detail about the political situation in Germany. Especially with regard to the migrant crisis and what we as Leipzig students can do.“

Lynne-Sophie, Student







© Andreas Lamm


The guiding principles underlying the Picador Guest Professorship for Literature are Democracy‚ Diversity and Creativity. The magnificent cultural diversity that the invited authors from the USA, Great Britain and Canada bring to Leipzig will provide these guiding principles with committed ambassadors.
The spin-off project 'Picador at School' enables students to participate in this form of creative interchange with English-language authors. Classes in the form of creative writing workshops given in cooperation with teachers from the Anton-Philipp-Reclam School engender in students an understanding of the immense treasures to be found in cultural diversity.
The first workshops were given by the US author Justin Torres. The young author met with students at the Reclam Grammar School on 26 May and 8 June 2016. A student reported afterwards:
“We talked in great detail about the political situation in Germany. Especially with regard to the migrant crisis and what we as Leipzig students can do. It was a really honest discussion and everybody voiced their opinion. At the end, Justin Torres set some 'homework', combining literature with what we had discussed: We were to write a short piece of prose with the working title My first day as a refugee in Syria."

Quotes from the written short pieces:

"It feels strange to be a stranger." (Jonathan)

"I remembered myself three years ago. Karla, the cheery, clueless girl with such big dreams and a comfortable life, taking everything she had for granted. That girl probably wouldn’t have even noticed a refugee. And now she was one." (Lynne-Sophie)

"But no joy here. Only the gigantic world, the enormous foreign parts – and me in this dusty car, surrounded by other people who look like they could never ever be happy again." (Valerie)

"And suddenly it sounded like home. I felt like a person again, my heart starting to thump aggressively. My eyes shot open just to meet their eyes. They smiled again. And I smiled." (Jodie)


The partners in the Picador at School project

The motto of the Reclam Grammar School at the German French education centre in Leipzig is "Language connects. Culture communicates. Education unites." It defines the school's approach to education, blending lively engagement with a spirit of partnership that conveys to students a broad-based curriculum and enables a wide range of practical activities.

The Institute for American Studies at Leipzig University was refounded in 1994 after the reunification of Germany, but can look back on a rich tradition of American studies in Leipzig that extend back into the 19th century. The Institute now has three Chairs, among them Germany's first and only Chair for Minority Studies.


Our heartfelt thanks to the U.S. Embassy for its generous support of this project.

Please find more about the partners of the Picador Guest Professorship initiative here.