15 March 2023

Akademie der Künste opens up the Kito Lorenc Archive

Event on 21 March 2023, Pariser Platz

On 21 March the Akademie der Künste is hosting an event at which the archive of Saxon poet Kito Lorenc is to be opened. The estate, which is now being made available for research purposes, was acquired by the Akademie der Künste in 2020 with the help of funding from the Hubert Burda Foundation.

The Kito Lorenc Archive contains all the author’s manuscripts, extensive correspondence with Volker Braun, Jurij Brězan, Heinz Czechowski, Róža Domašcyna, Benedikt Dyrlich, Elke Erb, Adolf Endler, Peter Handke, Manfred-Peter Hein, Wulf Kirsten, Uwe Kolbe, Gregor Laschen, Richard Pietraß, Tadeusz Róžewicz, Erwin Strittmatter and others, and the dossiers of his 80 or so published volumes of Sorbian poetry. Biographical documents show how closely connected Lorenc was with Lusatia and its people, and with his Sorbian and German peers. The rest of the holdings consists of photos and collections of material on Sorbian literature.

Born in Schleife (Upper Lusatia), Kito Lorenc (1938–2017) wrote in Sorbian and German. He went to school in Cottbus, studied in Leipzig, worked in Bautzen and lived as a freelance writer for almost 40 years in Wuischke, a village at the foot of Czorneboh, a mountain in Upper Lusatia. In this parochial geographical milieu, he produced a significant body of work – most importantly, the poems, plays and essays that were published from 1960 on. He is also the editor of several volumes of Sorbian poetry, furnished with his well-informed commentaries, which are of particular note. These works include the series of poems Serbska poezija. Lorenc was in active contact with poets in both East and West, and their lively communication prompted frequent visits to his home and family. He has been honoured with many awards, including the Akademie der Künste’s Heinrich Mann Prize in 1991, the Free State of Saxony’s Lessing Prize in 2009 and the Hubert Burda Foundation’s Petrarch Prize in 2012. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by TU Dresden in 2008 and the Christian Wagner Prize in 2016 in recognition of his complete lyrical works.

To mark the opening of the archive, a new volume of poetry Es war nicht die Zeit (It Was Not the Time) will be presented at the Academy, providing an insight into all the different phases of Lorenc’s creative output. The book also contains poems from his estate as well as adaptations of work from his last Sorbian poetry collection zymny kut, rendered into German by other poets. After an introduction to the work by Kerstin Hensel, director of the Literature Section, moderator Karin Großmann will talk with Academy member and editor of the book Michael Krüger, poet Róža Domašcyna, who has adapted Lorenc’s poems, and head of the Literature Archives, Gabriele Radecke. A display case presentation is devoted to the career of Kito Lorenc and the making of a selection of poems as well as the anthology Serbska čitanka: Sorbisches Lesebuch (Serbska čitanka: Sorbian Reader, 1981).

Event details
Kito Lorenc: It Was Not the Time
Opening of the archive, book presentation and reading
Tuesday, 21. March 2023, 7 pm
Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin
Admission €6/4; ticket reservations: 030 200 57–10 00; ticket@adk.de 
Online tickets: www.adk.de/tickets 
For press pass reservations, please email presse@adk.de or telephone 030 200 57–15 14

If you have questions about the Kito Lorenc Archive, please contact:
Dr Gabriele Radecke, Head of Department, Literature Archives
Tel.: 030 200 57–32 00
Email: radecke@adk.de  or literaturarchiv@adk.de