It was a great pleasure to read from The Leipzig Affair at the beautiful Literaturhaus in Halle on 18 September as part of a conference on the 'Second World' in contemporary British writing at the Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. A very engaged audience ensured that we had a lively discussion during the Q&A afterwards, which was expertly chaired by Katrin Berndt, professor of English literature and culture at Halle-Wittenberg university.
Having not been to Halle since 1986, I was struck by how much it had changed while remaining essentially itself. The same is true of Leipzig, which retains the gritty edge that I remember from studying there in GDR times, however much it is gentrified.
The new Germany is a work in progress, as the discussion at the Literaturhaus revealed. Truly, the past is another country: one that it is hard to visit without bringing our own experiences and prejudices along as baggage.
After the Covid years, it was great to discuss literature and history again in an international group. Long may we gather in our polyglot splendour for such fair and frank exchanges of views.
For German speakers, here I am speaking to Radio Corax in Halle about the book and my experiences of being a student in the GDR.