German whispers – the endings where cultures meet

Thursday 29 September 2016

The Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) at the School of Advanced Study is looking for budding student story-tellers willing to spin a yarn about migration – in German.

After the successes of the 2014 poetry competition organised in cooperation with the British Museum’s ‘Germany – memories of a nation’ exhibition, and the translation competition based on Annett Gröschner’s novel Walpurgistag the following year, IMLR and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) are joining forces again to launch the third writing challenge for all learners and lovers of German.

This time, the task is to write a story. Two German-speaking authors, Ulrike Ulrich and Anja Tuckermann, have provided beginnings of stories of migration. Now it’s the competitors’ turn to take one of these beginnings and continue spinning the yarn. There are only two rules: the story ending must be no more than 250 words and written in German.

Applicants are free to develop their text in any direction explained Dr Godela Weiss-Sussex, senior lecturer in modern German literature at IMLR. ‘They can write a story of flight or refuge, of identities and self-images, of encounters or new beginnings. Stories can be set in the past, the present or the future and in any geographical location. The judges – among them the writers themselves – look forward to being inspired by the texts.’

As in previous years, the competition is open to secondary school students, sixth-formers, undergraduates, postgraduates and anybody else who feels up to the challenge. Submissions are to be entered online.  

Prizes of books and a writing workshop with one or both of the authors, will be awarded to winners and runners-ups in each group at an event at Senate House on 1 March 2017. This will be a chance to listen to the winners’ as well as to the authors’ own story endings.

The competition is in cooperation between DAAD London, the Institute of Modern Languages Research and the Goethe Institut, London. It is also kindly supported by the German and Swiss Embassies in London.

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Notes to Editors
1. For all enquiries, please contact: Maureen McTaggart, Media and Public Relations Officer, School of Advanced Study, University of London +44 (0)20 7862 8859 /

2. The Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) was established in 2004 (previously the Institute of Germanic Studies and the Institute of Romance Studies, founded in 1950 and 1989 respectively). Until August 2013, IMLR was known as the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies. Its current name emphasises its national research role and wider remit. The institute is committed to facilitating, initiating and promoting dialogue and research for the modern languages community.

3. The School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities. SAS and its member institutes offer unparalleled academic opportunities and facilities across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. In 2014-15, SAS welcomed 805 research fellows and associates, held 2,073 research dissemination events, received 23.1 million visits to its digital research resources and platforms and received 213,456 visits to its specialist libraries and collections. The School also leads the UK’s only nationwide festival of the humanities, Being Human. Find out more at or follow SAS on Twitter at @SASNews.

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