Terézia Mora

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Terézia Mora in Berlin 2019 - press photos for the release of her novel On the Rope (2019)

- Stefanie Kreuzer | As of Nov. 2, 2021 -

Grimm Poetics Professor 2021: Terézia Mora

Terézia Mora (*1971) will receive the Kassel Grimm Poetics Professorship in 2021.

Terézia Mora's fictional texts impress, as already pointed out in the context of the Büchner Prize award (2018), by "their eminent presence and lively linguistic art, which unites everyday idiom and poetry, drasticness and tenderness." Her textual worlds are populated by a cast of characters that often assembles oddballs, precarious existences, modern nomads, hapless loners, and whimsical, sympathetic strangers. Terézia Mora's storytelling is characterized by vivid character descriptions and visually arresting worlds. Likewise, self-reflexive moments and playfully experimental elements emerge, sometimes ironically breaking the narrated worlds. Examples include simultaneous narrative strands and perspectives placed side by side in the text, as well as the accompanying different individual reading directions, or even crossed-out words and graphically structured text arrangements.

As a prose writer, Mora has now published two volumes of stories and four novels. Her early story collection Seltsame Materie (1999) and the novel Alle Tage (2004) were followed over the course of a decade by a trilogy of novels recounting the simultaneously extreme and curious life of IT specialist Darius Kopp. The trilogy ranges from Der einzige Mann auf dem Kontinent (2009) to Das Un geheuer (2013) and Auf dem Seil (2019). The protagonist initially spends professionally successful and privately happy times in Berlin. When he is confronted with the suicide of his Hungarian-born wife, he experiences it as a blow of fate. He withdraws from his previous life and embarks on an aimless nomadic existence. With his wife's urn in his luggage, he sets off in search of her origins, traveling to Hungary and on through Eastern Europe. In the third part, he is finally stranded penniless as a casual laborer, tourist guide, and pizza baker in Sicily, before setting out for a new life back in Berlin with his pregnant, underage niece.

Like Darius Kopp, many characters in Mora's texts appear as quirky characters who more or less hold their own in their lives or even - like Darius's wife Flora - can no longer bear it. For example, Abel Nehma, the protagonist of Alle Tage, or the main characters of the title story from the collection Die Liebe unter Aliens (2015). Terézia Mora's narrative is rich in action, uses very different subjects - from the academic life of a retired Japanese professor to the description of contradictory feelings during a rape - and linguistically offers a wide spectrum of heterogeneous tones and stillages.

Prior to the Kassel Grimm Poetics Professorship, Mora held the Tübingen Poetics Professorship with Péter Esterházy in 2006/07 and the Frankfurt Poetics Professorship in 2013/14. In 2014 she gave the Salzburg Stefan Zweig Poetics Lecture.

GPP event series with Terézia Mora (SoSe 2021)

The public events in Terézia Mora's Grimm Poetics Professorship have taken place in online formats from Mon. to Thurs. 7-10 June 2021.

In total, the series of events for Terézia Mora's Grimm Poetics Professorship is composed of three parts: (1) a recorded digital inaugural lecture (asynchronous), (2) a live online conversation with Terézia Mora (via Zoom Meeting), and (3) a poetics seminar for students of the University of Kassel.


Poster for Terézia Mora's
Grimm Poetics Professorship 2021
(Poster: Stefanie Kreuzer;
Photo: Antje Berghäuser)

Interview with Terézia Mora

In the run-up to the Kassel GPP event, a hr-2-kultur podcast (June 8, 2021) announcing Terézia Mora's guest professorship was produced, which also refers to the accompanying film SIE SAGEN IMMER TERÉZIA MORA (D 2021), directed by Thomas Henke.

Ad (1): Terézia Mora's Poetics Lecture (from June 7).

The digital inaugural lecture entitled "Agoraphobics on viewing platforms" is available as an (asynchronous) film stream publicly on this homepage.

Ad (2): Online meeting with Terézia Mora u. Film trailer (June 9, 2021, 6-8 pm).

A public (zoom) meeting with was held on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, starting at 6 p.m. and ending at approximately 8 p.m. The online event was recorded for documentation and research purposes. The schedule was organized as follows:

  • ca. 18-19:15: Opening/welcome (Prof. Dr. Stefanie Kreuzer), greeting by the Vice President of the University of Kassel Prof. Dr. Ute Clement, public award ceremony, (audience) talk with Terézia Mora especially about her inaugural lecture.
  • ca. 19:15-20:15:Premiere of the trailer for the experimental film THEY ALWAYS SAY TERÉZIA MORA (D 2021), which was made on the occasion of the Grimm Poetics Professorship and directed by Thomas Henke; digital plenum with Terézia Mora, the film director Prof. Thomas Henke (FH Bielefeld), the initiator Prof. Dr. Stefanie Kreuzer (Univ. Kassel) as well as other people involved in the film project (Andreas Jungwirth, Klaus Siblewski, Flora Saß), who will report on the film and enter into dialogue with an interested audience.

Ad (3): Online poetics seminar with Terézia Mora

The poetics seminar took place within the framework of the accompanying seminar "Terézia Mora - Grimm Poetics Professor 2021" led by Prof. Dr. Stefanie Kreuzer and was open to the public (with a limited number of participants). It was held as a (zoom) meeting (incl. video recording) on two Thursdays, May 27 and June 10, 2021, from 12 to 2 p.m. each day.

Prizes and awards (selection)

  • 1999: Ingeborg Bachmann Prize for the story Der Fall Ophelia from the prose volume Seltsame Materie (1999)
  • 2000: Adelbert von Chamisso Sponsorship Award
  • 2004: Sponsorship Award for the Art Prize of the Academy of Arts (Berlin)
  • 2004: (Fiction) Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair for the novel Alle Tage (2004)
  • 2005: Prize of the LiteraTour Nord
  • 2006: Villa Massimo scholarship
  • 2006/2007: Tübingen Poetry Lectureship together with Péter Esterházy
  • 2007: Franz Nabl Prize
  • 2010: Adelbert von Chamisso Prize
  • 2010 Erich Fried Prize
  • 2011: Translator Prize of the Kunststiftung NRW for her life's work as well as the translation (2010) of Péter Esterházy's Ein Produktionsroman (Two Production Novels ) (1979) from Hungarian
  • 2013: German Book Prize for the novel Das Ungeheuer (2013)
  • 2013/2014: Frankfurt Poetics Lectureship
  • 2014: Salzburg Stefan Zweig Poetics Lecture
  • 2017: Bremen Literature Prize for Love Among Aliens (2016)
  • 2017: Prize of the Houses of Literature
  • 2017: Solothurn Literature Prize
  • 2018: Georg Büchner Prize