Children of Hoy: Freedom, Happiness, Terror

Reading with Grit Lemke

SECTION: Weekender 2022

Grit Lemke was a member of our International Festival Jury in 2013. Now she is reading from her first book – and what a book it is! In the sixties and seventies, they came with their parents to Hoyerswerda, a model GDR town: rammed out of the heath, assembled from building elements. In the mornings, the parents rolled off in shift buses and the children grew up in a large collective. The narrator becomes part of the cultural and art scene around Gerhard Gundermann, the Springsteen of the East. A kind of proletarian bohemia develops: at night in the cellar club, in the morning on the shift bus. But reunification was followed by mass redundancies, and latent racism against contract workers living in the city and a rapidly growing right-wing movement led to riots. The cultural scene remains inactive, but even for them, nothing will ever be the same again … Suhrkamp

One of the best books written about the East.”
Matthias Schmidt, MDR Kultur



Born in 1965 in Spremberg/Niederlausitz, grew up in Hoyerswerda.
After an apprenticeship as a construction worker and work in the theater and cultural sector, 1987-93 studied cultural studies, ethnology and literature in Leipzig, 1999 doctorate in European ethnology at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

Since 1991 she has worked for film festivals in various functions, for many years for DOK Leipzig, where she was head of the film program until 2017. Head of the German-Sorbian section “Heimat | Domownja | Domizna” at FilmFestival Cottbus. Curated numerous film series, including at DOK Leipzig, the Akademie der Künste Berlin, goEast Festival of Central and Eastern European Film Wiesbaden and for Goethe Institutes worldwide. Has held teaching positions at various universities and institutes, mentor and tutor in training programs. Collaboration as author and dramaturge on documentary films and series. Publications on documentary film.

2019 Director of the feature-length documentary “Gundermann Revier” (Grimme Prize nomination, numerous festival participations, cinema exploitation) and author of the book “Unter hohen Himmeln. The Volker Koepp Universe” (Bertz + Fischer Verlag). Co-author of the children’s documentary “Lene und die Geister des Waldes” (Director: Dieter Schumann, 2020).
2021 Publication of the documentary novel “Kinder von Hoy. Freedom, Happiness and Terror” (Suhrkamp Verlag).
She has two sons and lives in Berlin and sometimes in Hoyerswerda.