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Flowers for Otello

On the Crimes That Came Out of Jena: Reading and Performance

Writing as intervention – For /Flowers for Otello/ Esther Dischereit took part in the debates and investigations on right wing extremist crimes in Germany. More specifically, she observed the work of the investigation committee set up by the German parliament in the wake of the NSU murders, a series of killings of individuals seen as immigrants at the hands of the 'National Socialist Underground' after previous investigations had been marred by the intelligence service and police. /Flowers for Otello/ is dedicated to the victims and survivors of this series of killings, bomb attacks and robberies which went on for 13 years. It is a text of lamentations honoring the victims - and a work of prosecution.

Reading / performance in English.

Esther Dischereit was born in Heppenheim, Germany, and lives in Berlin. In its many different forms, her work presents a visceral pathography of post-war continuities, crises, spectres and trauma. She has published fiction, poetry, journalism and essays, and is a prolific writer for the radio, the stage and other artistic media. Between 2012 and 2017 she was Professor of Language Arts at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. She has been a Fellow at the Moses Mendelssohn Centre for European and Jewish Studies in Potsdam and the DAAD Chair for Contemporary Poetics at New York University, 2019. In 2009 she received Austria`s prestigious Erich Fried Prize for her writing. Her latest collection of poems is Sometimes a Single Leaf, translated and introduced by Iain Galbraith 2020. Blumen für Otello. Über die Verbrechen von Jena (Flowers for Otello. On the Crimes That Came out of Jena, published in English translation in 2022), was nominated as a radio play for the ARD Medienpreis. In 2021 she edited Hab keine Angst, erzähl alles. Das Attentat von Halle und die Stimmen der Überlebenden (Don’t be afraid, tell everything. The assassination of Halle and the voices of the survivors).

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