Max Kade Writer-in-Residence

Every year, the Department of German Studies invites an author to the University of Arizona for the spring semester. The Max Kade Writer-in-Residence enriches the life of the department by sharing his or her work and experiences in courses and conversations, special events and every-day encounters.


Judith Nika Pfeifer is a novelist, poet, and transmedia artist. She studied Political Science and Communications in Vienna and was a Visiting Postgraduate Student in Lancaster, UK and at the University of in Edinburgh. In 2017, she earned an interdisciplinary PhD from the University of Vienna, where she held a position as a DOC-team research fellow from the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Prior to her PhD research, she studied at the Universities of Vienna and Pavia, Italy to receive her M.A. in Political Science, Communications and Contemporary History.

Pfeifer's texts have appeared in literary magazines and anthologies, such as kolik, Literatur und Kritik, the gap, and Lichtungen. She performs at poetry festivals and experiments with transmedia art projects in Vienna, Berlin, Edinburgh, Helsinki, and Munich and enjoys working together with other artists.

Books published in German: Violante (2017). manchmal passiert auch minutenlang gar nichts / sometimes nothing really happens, really (2015). between. Prose (2015). zwischen. Prosa (2014). nichts ist wichtiger. ding kleines du / nothing is more important. thing little you (2012). Nika Pfeifer's poems have been translated into English, Chinese, Spanish, Hindi, Malayam, French, Italian, Slovenian, Serbian, Polish, and Belarusian.

Violante was awarded the Österreichische Buchprämie 2017. zwischen, her critically acclaimed collection of short stories, was awarded the Österreichische Buchprämie 2014 by the Federal Chancellory of Austria. sometimes nothing really happens, really received the Buchprämie in 2015. Other prizes, invitations, and awards: 2017 Max Kade Writer in Residence, Easton, PA. Writer in Residence Paliano, Italy 2016. Villa Waldberta Residency Munich, 2015. Writer in Residence of the City Ptuj, Slovenia 2015. seestadt aspern 2014. Artist Residency Schloss Wiepersdorf, Germany 2014. Reinhard-Priessnitz-Prize 2012.

It is a pragmatic and playful approach, with which she approaches the writing process, a nonchalant casualness that one feels – in her micro fiction as well as in her poetry. Speech material is smashed and re-assembled, thoughts flicker and in the strongest moments, the idyll is deconstructed again. It does not matter if she puts herself on the shores of the South Pacific, takes on Vienna's pale November romance, or simply dedicates a poetry cycle to the Fluc, a music club in Vienna. The cycle – and this underlines once again her spontaneous approach to poetry – was created on site, sitting on the floor, when the technology went down at a music event/ reading. A bit of event character, music and visuals do not harm readings, even if they distract from the pure word. – the gap

yes, yes, yes!! that's what made me so excited! – i remember: that was a lively, young, fresh poem! – Friederike Mayröcker on "nothing is more important"

have found love
feels as is off
the rack it fits

Nika Pfeifer's most recent book Violante is based on the true story of an honor killing that took place in 1559, written as a furious crossover of the great opera and Quentin Tarantino's bloody cinema thrillers. Literature that is both literary and airy at the same time, unbiased present, nonchalantly historical. Sparkling prose peppered with references. – Herbert J. Wimmer

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