IZO Events

May 6 2022

Upcoming: IZO Panel Discussion with Yan Geling and Yang Lian: 'The Moral Duties of Art: Chinese Literary Exiles in Germany' on 19 May 2022

To write or not to write a poem after Auschwitz — that is not the question. The real question is how, so that art avoids falling victim to cultural barbarism. This question is particularly pertinent today to Chinese writers and artists, when the Chinese regime, an authoritarian world power, also styles itself as the custodian and patron of Chinese culture, with a lucrative and growing cultural market at its disposal. In this moderated dialogue, YAN Geling and YANG Lian, two distinguished Chinese authors living in Berlin, will answer questions about art, truth, power, and market. Yan Geling, a writer who consistently explores historical atrocities like the Nanjing Massacre or the Cultural Revolution in her novels, has also seen many of her works adapted into feature films with great commercial success. Through her fiction and essays, she investigates the human nature underlying the behavior of the Chinese regime. Yang Lian, a poet living mostly in self-imposed exile since 1989, whose works having entered the global scene of “World Literature," is also one of the most celebrated poets in mainland China. How do they perceive the moral duties of art? What do they think of literary exiles or those who choose to live in inner banishment? How do their works respond to the crises of our times, in China and beyond? The dialogue will be moderated by Prof. Zhiyi Yang (Sinology). The two authors will also read their works and take questions from the audience. The event is organized by the Interdisciplinary Center for East Asian Studies (IZO).

Date: 19 May 2022

Time: 6.15 – 7.45 p.m., followed by a small reception in the foyer

Place: Goethe University Frankfurt, Casino Building, R. 1811, Nina-Rubinstein-Weg 1

Please register for the talk and reception via e-mail to by 15 May at the latest.