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Feridun Zaimoglu

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Edited By Tom Cheesman and Karin E. Yeşilada

Feridun Zaimoglu made a spectacular entrance onto the German cultural scene in 1995 with Kanak Sprak: a volume of incendiary texts based on interviews with disaffected Turkish German youths, using an invented, stylized literary language, a hybrid of multiple varieties of German with a hip hop beat. A prolific and acclaimed novelist, dramatist, newspaper columnist, visual artist and live performer, Zaimoglu has remained in the public eye through controversy and reinvention. His more recent work appropriates German literary traditions in radically new ways, adapting Romantic styles, narrative forms and motifs to postmodern conditions.
This volume features the suppressed original first chapter of Leyla, Zaimoglu’s critically and commercially most successful novel, first published in 2006, as well as an extensive interview with the author. Critical essays on his writing by major scholars in the field cover issues of gender, language and power, the politics of ethnicity, religion, Romanticism and anti-modernism, and the challenges of translating his work. This is the first volume of criticism in any language dedicated to Zaimoglu’s literary work.

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Feridun Zaimoglu: Biographical Chronology

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1964 Born in Bolu, Turkey. His father is a metalworker, his mother a tailor. 1965 The Zaimoglu family moves to Germany, initially to Berlin. 1970 The family settles in Munich. 1985 Begins study of Medicine at Kiel University. Later switches to Art, then abandons his studies and starts writing and painting. 1995 Kanak Sprak (Rotbuch). His literary debut causes an immediate sensa- tion and wins him the status of an ‘enfant terrible’. Numerous press and media interviews and invited contributions ensue. The work is adapted for radio and theatre and issued as an audiobook. His readings all over Germany become cult events for a young Turkish-German generation. He co-founds the pan-ethnic social-cultural movement Kanak Attak. 1997 Abschaum (Rotbuch). Civis Prize for the script of the short film Deutschland im Winter – Kanakistan. Eine Rap-Reportage (co-written with Thomas Röschner). Henceforth columns, stories and essays for Die Zeit, contributions to other newspapers, magazines, volumes in Cultural Studies and Migration Studies, frequent appearances on radio and television shows. 1998 Koppstof f (Rotbuch). Schleswig-Holstein Filmscript Prize. There is much comment on his appearance on a live televised debate about ‘Kanak’ identity with Schleswig-Holstein’s Minister-President, Heide Simonis, and others. First reading abroad, at a Swansea University con- ference on ‘Post-migrant Culture’. First critical interventions in debates on contemporary German literature in Die Zeit. 2000 Liebesmale, scharlachrot (Rotbuch). Kanak Attack, a film adaptation of Abschaum co-scripted by Zaimoglu, directed by Lars Becker, is a minor success. Zaimoglu splits with the Kanak Attak movement to avoid being...

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