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A young black man with a short beard, a small black cap and a buttoned black jacket looks seriously into the camera. In the background, a blurry house and a tree. Next to the photo, the blue book cover of the reading is superimposed.
© Tunde Somoye
A young black man with a short beard, a small black cap and a buttoned black jacket looks seriously into the camera. In the background, a blurry house and a tree. Next to the photo, the blue book cover of the reading is superimposed.
© Tunde Somoye
International Summer Festival 2022
Reading / Music

Diasporic Echoes im Avant-Garten

Reading: JJ Bola "The Selfless Act Of Breathing" / Concert: Jean Jannochkin & Co

Dates

Thursday

8/25/22

6:30 PM

Waldbühne

Lesung: ca. 90 Min. / Konzert: ca 90 Min.

/ Admission free

At 18:30 (Reading in English) JJ Bola's essay »Mask Off: Masculinity Redefined. Outspoken« (2019) is a bestselling analysis on masculinity in times of #MeToo. Bola defindes a guideline for a new masculinity and showes how this is possible through influences from non-Western traditions, pop culture and the LGBTQ+ community. On August 25, his novel »The Selfless Act of Breathing« (2021) will be published in German (»Weiter atmen«, Kampa Verlag). Bola tells the story of Michael Kabongo, who makes a radical decision: He will travel as long as his money lasts, then he will end his life. For years he has been tormented by depression, the feeling of homelessness, traumatic memories of his refuge from the Congo and the death of his father. On his journey through the USA, Michael comes to places that are connected to his history, meets people who break through his protective walls, has experiences that push him to his limits. But his time is running out. And as his bank balance dwindles, the question of whether Michael will manage to find his way back to life becomes ever more pressing. Praised by The Guardian as »powerful, important and emotive«, the Booklist Chicago wrote: »Bola proves himself a master of mood and empathy. Altogether, his novel is an excellent and heartrending effort.«

JJ Bola, born in 1986 in Kinshasa, Congo, fled to the UK with his family at the age of six and grew up in the London neighborhood of Camden. As a teenager, Bola suffered from depression. After earning a master's degree in creative writing at Birkbeck College, University of London, he worked for several years as a social worker with young people with mental health issues. JJ Bola has published three books of poetry, two novels, and one nonfiction book.

At 20:30 The a violinist, jazz pianist and bassist Jean Jannochkin performed with numerous rock and pop stars in Ukraine. At Waldbühne he will present a multi-layered and varied program with international music and several other musicians between pop, rock, jazz and chansons.


A three-week series of events brings together diasporic voices at the Waldbühne with readings and concerts.

The war in Ukraine resulted in a wave of solidarity and an openness to welcome people fleeing from this war. Because we love this energy and want it for all those who have to leave their homeland, every Thursday to Saturday the Summer Festival, in cooperation with the ZEIT Foundation and NDR, presents authors and musicians and their stories about times of upheaval and displacement, of the search for belonging and empowerment, and of global political and family entanglements. Each evening begins with a reading, including a discussion with the authors and NDR journalists, and continues with acoustic concerts in a small setting (programmed by Anas Aboura und Alexei Volinchik).


Reading: JJ Bola

Talk: JJ Bola, Dienna Wehenpohl (Moderation)

FUNDED BY ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius

IN COOPERATION with NDR Kultur