14 April 2023

Akademie der Künste on the current status of the legal dispute surrounding the magazine SINN UND FORM

On 23 February 2023, a ruling by the District Court of Berlin prohibited the Akademie der Künste from publishing the literary magazine SINN UND FORM following a lawsuit by the magazine Lettre International and its publisher Frank Berberich (see press release from 1 March 2023). The Akademie der Künste has appealed the ruling. At its Spring General Assembly on 12-14 May 2023, the artists’ society plans to adopt an amendment to its statutes in order to remove the formal barriers that the court of first instance identified, thereby preparing the way to resume publication of SINN UND FORM. The goal is to publish Issue 2 at the end of May and Issue 3 in June of this year; publication of Issue 4 is planned for July as usual.

Two high-profile events have already been held to highlight the current situation regarding SINN UND FORM: In the Literaturhaus Berlin, a discussion was held on 29 March 2023 between the constitutional law expert Christoph Möllers, the publicist Sieglinde Geisel, the poet Durs Grünbein, editor-in-chief of SINN UND FORM Matthias Weichelt and the journalist Lothar Müller. Discussions revolved around the question of what implications the current case has for the magazine and for the wider cultural landscape. The discussion can be viewed at the YouTube channel of the Literaturhaus. The relationship between freedom of the press and freedom of the arts was one of the main topics, as was the issue of the independence of the genre of cultural and literary magazines. On 2 April 2023, the eve of the birthday of former editor-in-chief of SINN UND FORM Peter Huchel, Friedrich Dieckmann, Katharina Winkler, Hans Joas, Kornelia Koepsell, Emanuel Maeß, Gisela von Wysocki, Wolfgang Matz and Avrina Prabala-Joslin read their texts from the currently unpublished issues and spoke with Lutz Seiler and Matthias Weichelt about the importance of magazines for literary life.

On 4 May 2023, an exhibition on SINN UND FORM will open at the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste in Munich with a reading and a discussion about the magazine; additional information is available here.

In the meantime, many more public personalities have expressed solidarity with SINN UND FORM. The list of supporters covers a wide spectrum: Among the writers are Saša Stanišić, Nora Bossong, Natascha Wodin, Uwe Tellkamp, Monika Maron, Gisela von Wysocki or Thomas Kunst; literary critics include Insa Wilke and Denis Scheck; among the publicists are Joachim Sartorius, Claus Leggewie or Klaus Reichert; institutions supporting the cause include the Kurt Wolff Stiftung zur Förderung einer vielfältigen Verlags- und Literaturszene, in addition to the organisers, among them the Literaturhaus in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Leipzig and Berlin. Many representatives of other arts such as music, theatre, fine arts are also on board. The list of supporters is available here.