During the 25 years of Solitude’s existence, an impressive number of writers have passed through Akademie Schloss Solitude, some spending more time at this special place, some less. Some Solituders selected their favorite book from the large amount of literature that has been produced at Solitude and then left behind by fellows. Listen to them reading a few lines from their personal favorites, which they’ve dug out of the library’s bookshelves, and read about the memories and feelings influenced their choice.
Maren Pfeiffer reading Dominic Otiang’a’s Der deutsche Traum in German.
While wandering through the shelves of the libraries at Akademie Schloss Solitude, I discover mostly new authors. A multitude of the names on the spines do not trigger any associations, no memory of former fellows. Therefore, I cannot relate them to an anecdote.
My choice for Der deutsche Traum (English title The German Dream) was highly influenced by the developments in Europe with rising right wing parties, also seen in the recent political elections in three federal states of Germany, and by recent trends of criminalization of primarily North African immigrants after the events in Cologne on New Year’s Eve 2015.
The author Dominic Otiang’a was a fellow for literature at Akademie Schloss Solitude 2013-2015. His novel The Dalaian Immigrant, which he continued and revised into Der deutsche Traum, was already published in 2012. The book tells the story of an immigrant in Germany facing daily struggles and discrimination. From my point of view, the debate on how to treat immigrants coming to Europe is becoming increasingly critical. Usually, immigrants have no chance to participate in this debate. They need someone to speak for them; they need a lobby, which stands up for their rights. At the same time, racists are using social media in particular to vent to their resentment. With comments like »they get everything from the German government and we are left with nothing,« their fears are manifested. I can hardly bear to read sentences like this.
Dominic Otiang’a himself said that he wrote this novel »to that person who is willing to get to know what’s in the minds, dreams, daily life, and needs of some immigrants in Germany.«  Personally, I would wish that more people would take this opportunity.
(Maren Pfeiffer, Solitude intern, on Dominic Otiang’a’s Der deutsche Traum.)