Emily Nemens in conversation with Musa Okwonga

Emily Nemens joined Musa Okwonga for a discussion of the main themes in her brilliant debut novel, »The Cactus League«. In a time when more and more people are facing a cost-of-living crisis, Emily and Musa talked about what the concept of »home« now means, and what it means to belong, whether that's belonging to a baseball team or a community in crisis. Watch the event on YouTube.

Emily Nemens is the current Picador Guest Professor for Literature at the University of Leipzig. Her debut novel, »The Cactus League« (FSG 2020, Picador 2021) was called »a wonderful, necessary read to remind you how infinite and wild other people can be« (The Brooklyn Rail). It was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and named one of the best books of the year by NPR. Her fiction has also appeared in Gettysburg Review, n+1, Iowa Review, and Blackbird. Emily spent a decade editing literary quarterlies, including The Paris Review, which won the American Society of Magazine Editors’ Award for Fiction under her tenure, and The Southern Review. She teaches at the Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92NY in New York and is the sports/senior editor for the literary travel magazine Stranger’s Guide.

Musa Okwonga is a writer, broadcaster and musician. The co-host of the Stadio football podcast, he has published one collection of poetry and three books about football, the first of which, »A Cultured Left Foot«, was nominated for the 2008 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. Recent publications include: »In The End, It Was All About Love« (Rough Trade, 2021), a memoir set in Berlin; »One of Them« (Unbound, 2021), a memoir about his five years at Eton College; and »Striking Out« (Scholastic, 2021), a children’s novel written in collaboration with and based on the life of Ian Wright. Musa’s work has appeared in various outlets, including Africa Is A Country, The Byline Times, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Economist and The Ringer. He lives in Berlin.

»Home Field Advantage« took place on December 5 at the English Theatre Berlin. Watch the conversation on YouTube.

This event is part of the U.S. Embassy Literature Series and was presented by the Picador Guest Professorship for Literature in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy and the English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center. Partners of #PicadorProf are: the University of Leipzig, DAAD, the U.S. publisher Picador and Holtzbrinck Berlin - Inspire Together. 

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Emily Nemens in conversation with Justin Andreae

On November 30, Emily Nemens read from »The Cactus League« and talked with Justin Andreae about baseball and its impact on American society, celebrity and fan cultures, literature, and the Picador Guest Professorship.

Justin Andreae is a current affairs journalist at Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR), Central Germany’s public broadcaster. From 2021-2022, he served as editor-in-chief of mephisto 97.6, Leipzig's local and campus radio. He is a graduate of History and English from Leipzig University, where his thesis research centered on media representations of East German protest movements post-reunification; and a Fulbright fellow, having served from 2019-2021 as Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Gettysburg College.

Find out more about the venue on www.literaturhaus-leipzig.de.

This event is presented by the Picador Guest Professorship for Literature. Partners of #PicadorProf are: the University of Leipzig, DAAD, the U.S. publisher Picador and Holtzbrinck Berlin - Inspire Together. Cooperation partners for this event are the U.S. Consulate Leipzig and the Literaturhaus Leipzig.

Emily NemensEmily Nemens

We proudly present: the next Picador Professor Emily Nemens!

Emily Nemens’s debut novel, The Cactus League (FSG 2020, Picador 2021) was called “a wonderful, necessary read to remind you how infinite and wild other people can be” (The Brooklyn Rail). We are delighted that she will be teaching at the University of Leipzig in the winter semester of 2022/23!

© Photo: James Emmerman

©Rachel Eliza Griffiths

"I was a Picador Guest Professor in Literature in Leipzig (2010/2011). The position was very fulfilling and my creative writing students were dynamic, imaginative, and full of heart. Leipzig is wondrous."

Nathalie Handal in an interview with thebartleby.com.

Nathalie Handal is an award-winning poet, playwright, and writer. She has lived in Europe, the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Arab world. In the winter semester 2010/11, Handal held the Picador Professorship at the University of Leipzig. Her latest book Life in a Country Album was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press.


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In 2006, Leipzig University, in co-operation with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Veranstaltungsforum of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, initiated the Picador Guest Professorship for Literature at the University of Leipzig aiming at conveying and critically reflecting on Anglo-American Literature. Public events are also offered in addition to the authors’ teaching activities as Picador Guest Professors. This takes place in collaboration with the creative arts and culture community of Leipzig.

"Many of the questions we discussed were ones we had never thought about before for example the question of what our own “fundamental truth” is."

Thea, Student


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