Past events
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We may remember through narratives, but at the same time narratives are often used to shape memories. This is most obviously the case in memoir literature, autobiography and memoirs. But how does lived life become narrative? How much memory, how much invention is there in the genre? And why does it enjoy such popularity?

These questions have received special attention in recent years thanks to the success of autobiographical or autofictional projects by, for example, Nobel Prize winner Annie Ernaux.

The power of narratives in processing memory is also a central component of psychotherapy. One of Sigmund Freud’s first patients called his approach the “talking cure”. Putting experiences into words and making them narratable helps to integrate them biographically and to come to terms with them. So how do biographical memory and autobiographical narration relate?



Annett Gröschner is a writer, journalist, curator and lecturer at various universities. She writes poetry, prose, documentary literature, radio features and plays. She is best known for her novels Moskauer Eis (2000) and Walpurgistag (2011). She is editor of the 10 nach 8 platform at Zeit Online and curates a series on the poetics of biography.


Marie Jacquier is a Romance scholar and academic coordinator of the Frankreich-Zentrum at Freie Universität Berlin. She completed her doctorate with a thesis on constructions and reflections of authorship in contemporary French art and literature. Her research interests include cross-media and cross-genre artistic practices of the present.


Catherine Newmark (host) holds a PhD in philosophy, and was a research assistant at the Institute of Philosophy at Freie Universität Berlin. Today she works as a cultural journalist, such as, among other things, as an editor and presenter of the philosophy programme Sein und Streit on Deutschlandfunk Kultur and as a columnist for Zeit Online and Radio Bremen.

Hannes Uhlemann works as a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and expert in his own practice in Berlin. His work focuses on transcultural work with Italian patients and the assessment of people with traumatic experiences, including politically motivated imprisonment in the GDR, in youth centres and children’s homes. He worked as a gallery owner for many years and is working on a psychoanalytical approach to popular music styles.


Recording of the event
© Catherine Panebianco
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