Kathrin Röggla is an Austrian author and playwright, as well as a prolific writer of radio plays. She is a member of the Academy of the Arts in Berlin. Her work, which is often political in tone and critical of the media, has won many awards over the past two decades, most recently the Arthur Schnitzler Prize in 2012.
In a 2011 interview with Roland Steiner, she addressed the question of whether it is possible to write about politics without writing about media: “You always have to take the media along with it…You have to find a way to turn it into literature by asking the right questions. Literature is a medium that has a lot more room to depict complex situations. It also has its limits, but in comparison to film or other forms of media, it offers more possibilities because the way it is experienced and received is more temporal. You can bring together many more threads and demonstrate systematic contexts more clearly.”
Featured Reading Group Title
Die Alarmbereiten (The Vigilant)
The stories in this collection portray a society in a constant state of panic. Röggla’s experience in theatre shines through in tragicomic monologues and dialogues that reveal the speakers’ psyches and the culture of anxiety that is their milieu. Black humour, irony, and hyperbole are tools Röggla wields with mastery, whether writing about global warming, the work of NGOs, or the media circus surrounding the abduction and escape of Natascha Kampusch. A review in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung drew comparisons to the work of Thomas Bernhard, calling Röggla “an exaggeration-artist whose astute distortions and fine shifts in accent reveal the truth.”
- The Vigilant is featured in our German Reading Group Winter 2012-13.
- If you’ve read the book, let us know what you think by commenting below or coming along to our reading group meetup.