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25 October 2006

Louis Begley: Between Fact and Fiction

Author in residence at the University of Heidelberg in November 2006 — First event at 7 p.m. on 16 November 2006 in the Great Hall of the Old University

This year's author in residence at the University of Heidelberg is Louis Begley. The series of lectures and other events assembled under the heading "Louis Begley: Between Fact and Fiction" begins on 16 November. Louis Begley is the first non-German writer to hold this position in Heidelberg. On 16 November (7 p.m.) Rector Peter Hommelhoff and Heidelberg burgomaster Raban van der Malsburg will be welcoming the American novelist and the Heidelberg literary scholar Helmuth Kiesel will provide an introduction to his works. After that, Louis Begley will give a lecture entitled "Autobiography or Novel: Fact or Fiction?" The other events featuring the new Poetik-Dozent will take place at the municipal theatre (19 November), the German-American Institute (29 November, with Patrick Roth) and the New University (23 and 30 November).

Begley's first novel Wartime Lies, about a young Jewish boy who escapes the holocaust, appeared in 1990. It quickly became a bestseller and received a number of awards. After that, Begley published the novels The Man Who Was Late, As Max Saw It and About Schmidt, the last of which was the basis for the Hollywood film of the same name starring Jack Nicholson as the eponymous hero. From 1993 to 1995 Louis Begley was president of the American P.E.N. Centre.

With his striking, scrupulous and witty style, Begley has carved out an outstanding position for himself among America's novelists. The subjects, metaphorical strategies and stylistic elegance of his work are reminiscent of Henry James, Marcel Proust and Thomas Mann. The German translation of his latest novel Matters of Honor will be published by Suhrkamp in early 2007.

Louis Begley was born in Poland in 1933, escaped the horrors of the holocaust and then moved to the United States with his family. In 1953 he became an American citizen and then received a grant to study English literature at Harvard. After military service in Göttingen he returned to Harvard, where he obtained a law degree. Until the early 1990s Begley was on the staff of the major New York business law firm Debevoise & Plimpton, first as an employee, later as a partner.


Please address any inquiries to:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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