Death and language

Mely Kiyak und Christian LEhnert
Der Tod ist in allen Alphabeten zu Hause

The writer Mely Kiyak and the poet Christian Lehnert in an exchange about language and dying. The House of One invites to the discussion together with the Catholic Academy in Berlin.

With language one lives, one loves and one dies. And when it comes to death and dying, this language has a special weight - or power. There are words that carry, and phrases that say nothing to anyone. And because death is at home in all alphabets and literatures, there are many words and images for it. What language and what words have poets and writers found or rediscovered in the face of death? And why have we dared to talk about it so little in the last year? At least these are the questions Mely Kiyak and Christian Lehnert will be talking about.


Mely Kiyak, born in 1976, lives in Berlin and has published several books and essays, including "Herr Kiyak dachte, jetzt fängt der schöne Teil des Lebens an" (2013). In 2011, she received the Theodor Wolff Prize. She was recently awarded the Kurt Tucholsky Prize for her work "Frausein" and for her work as a columnist (including "Kiyak's German Lesson" in DIE ZEIT) and essayist.


Christian Lehnert, born 1969 in Dresden, is a poet and theologian. He directs the Institute for Liturgical Studies at the University of Leipzig. He received the Hölty Prize in 2012 for his complete lyrical works. Lehnert has also published various essays, including "Corinthische Brocken. An Essay on Paul" (2013) and, last year, "Ins Innere hinaus. Of Angels and Powers."

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