open book

Max Kade Center for Contemporary German Literature

Visitor Programs 

Over several decades, the Max Kade visitor programs have welcomed numerous preeminent writers, critics, and scholars to Washington University. For a look into this history, view all past visitors. These guests have and continue to contribute to our vibrant department and university community.

Max Kade Writers & Critics

Every spring since 1985, the Max Kade Center has invited one prominent writer and one leading critic from a German-speaking country to teach a graduate course on contemporary German literature. The visitors are supported by a grant from the Max Kade Foundation in New York. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Center in 1995, the authors returned to participate in a symposium on multicultural literature in the German-speaking countries. See: Paul Michael Lützeler (ed.) Multiculturalism in Contemporary German Literature, special issue of World Literature Today, (Summer 1995). In German: Schreiben zwischen den Kulturen (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch, 1996). In 2010, the Max Kade Center celebrated its 25th birthday with a symposium on Contemporary German Literature: eight former critics, eight former writers and eight scholars contributed. See: Paul Michael Lützeler, Jennifer Kapczynski (ed.), Die Ethik der Literatur. Deutsche Autoren der Gegenwart (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2011).

Max Kade Fellows

For twelve years, the Max Kade Center was able to reinvite one former Max Kade Writer or Critic per year, under the auspices of the Max Kade Fellowship. As a Max Kade Fellow, this writer or critic returned to spend four to six weeks at Washington University to finish a project and to interact with faculty and students.

Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, VolkswagenStiftung, and Robert Bosch Fellows

For fifteen years, the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung in Cologne, the VolkswagenStiftung in Hannover, and the Robert Bosch Stiftung in Stuttgart, granted fellowships which brought leading scholars from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in the field of Germanistik to Washington University. These scholars conducted research and established contacts with faculty and students. They also taught one weekend seminar on contemporary German literature, to which writes and translators also contributed. Travel grants were available for students and faculty from American universities. Some of these weekend seminars were conducted at the Deutsche Literaturarchiv in Marbach, Germany.


Unique to WashU

Mike Lützeler Collection of Contemporary German Literature

In 1980, the German Department's 5th St. Louis Symposium on German Literature and Culture focused on the topic of contemporary German literature since 1965. In the course of preparation for the conference, it became obvious that contemporary German literature was poorly represented at North American university and college libraries. To remedy this situation, Paul Michael Lützeler, director of the Max Kade Center for Contemporary German Literature in the German Department, built in cooperation with Olin Library the largest collection of contemporary German literature since 1985 at an American university library. Every year, Olin Library catalogs the new publications, incorporating them into the general collection. One of the important aspects of this cooperative work is the commented annual bibliography (Editor: Garth Reese, MLIS, PhD), which is published online, ensuring that a wide audience can familiarize itself with the newest publications. See the Literature Resources section below for a link to the annual bibliographies.

Learn More about the Collection

Summer Grants

The center offers a select number of grants for summer research at Washington University.

Application Instructions

The application deadline for both grants is March 30. Research must be done during the time between the May 15 and August 15. 

Graduate students who would like to be considered for both the Max Kade Grant and the DAAD Grant may submit the DAAD Grant application and indicate in the accompanying email that they would like to be considered for the Max Kade Grant as well. (Successful applicants will receive either the Max Kade Grant or the DAAD Grant, but not both.)

Please note that the terms of both grants restrict them to scholars who are currently affiliated with US or Canadian universities; unfortunately, applicants without a current university affiliation in the US or Canada cannot be considered.

Email all applications to the director of the Max Kade Center for Contemporary German Literature, Matthew Erlin, Professor, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Washington University in St. Louis:

Max Kade Grant

One Max Kade Grant ($3,500 as of 2022/2023) for a faculty member, postdoc, PhD candidate, or graduate student at a US or Canadian university to do research in the Mike Lützeler Contemporary German Literature Collection at Washington University’s Olin Library. This grant covers a minimum of six weeks; applications for a shorter period will not be considered. Please send a CV and short description of your research project or dissertation topic. PhD candidates and graduate students must include a recommendation from a dissertation advisor or other faculty member; faculty members do not need to include a recommendation.

DAAD Grant

Two DAAD Grants ($2,000 - $3,000 as of 2022/2023) for graduate students, PhD candidates or postdocs at US or Canadian universities to do research in the Mike Lützeler Contemporary German Literature Collection at Washington University’s Olin Library. This grant covers a period of one to two months; applications for a shorter period will not be considered. Detailed application instructions are available here.


Contact the director to apply

Gegenwartsliteratur: A German Studies Yearbook

In 2002, we started to publish the yearbook Gegenwartsliteratur. It deals with the last three decades of contemporary literature of the three German speaking countries: Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The scholarly contributions can be written in German or in English. It is a refereed journal and, as such, a member of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. Paul Michael Lützeler was the Editor-in-Chief from 2002 to 2020.

Volumes and focus

Volume I:     Günter Grass
Volume II:    Multikultur
Volume III:   Jüdisch-deutsche Literatur
Volume IV:   Berlin-Literatur
Volume V:    Elfriede Jelinek
Volume VI:   W. G. Sebald
Volume VII:  Literatur und Film
Volume VIII: Neue ostdeutsche Literatur
Volume IX:    Nach der Postmoderne
Volume X:     Herta Müller
Volume XI:    Uwe Timm
Volume XII:   Peter Handke
Volume XIII:  Thomas Bernhard
Volume XIV:  Zeitkritische Autorinnen
Volume XV:   Christoph Ransmayr
Volume XVI: Daniel Kehlmann
Volume XVII: Emine Sevgi Özdamar
Volume XVIII: Lyrical Poetry
Volume XIX: Ecocriticism

Beginning with Volume XX (2021), Friederike Eigler, Georgetown University, is the yearbook's editor-in-chief. She can be reached at or

Literature Resources

  • American Literary Translators Organization

    A broad-based organization dedicated to the promotion of literary translation.

  • Frankfurter Buchmesse

    The leading international trade convention in the field of books and literature

  • Deutschlandradio

    In addition to a current calendar of cultural events, organized by state, the site’s Book Market Archive offers over 3,000 book reviews for reading and research.

  • Goethe-Institut, New York

    Here you will find links to high caliber literary events nationwide, to reviews of new publications on the German book market and to programs advancing translation.

  • New Books in German

    Regular reviews of new titles recommended for translation into English

  • Annual Bibliography

    New publications cataloged by Olin Library