• 6/22/2016

The “Bayerische Akademie des Schreibens”:

“For a moment, I was doubting my participation”

Sonja Kappelan has a passion you would maybe not expect at a technical university. The student of TUM-BWL is a literary writer. She just took part in the “Bayerische Akademie des Schreibens” (BAdS). In an interview for TUMStudinews, she talks about what it is all about and what she learned there.

Literary talent: TUM student Sonja Kappelan took part in the “Bayerische Akademie des Schreibens”. (Photo: Uli Benz)
Literary talent: TUM student Sonja Kappelan took part in the “Bayerische Akademie des Schreibens”. (Photo: Uli Benz)

Sonja, you just took part in the “Bayerische Akademie des Schreibens”. How come?

Kappelan: I have been writing for quite a while now. At TUM, I participated  in the workshop “Selbst geschrieben – neu gelesen”, which is offered by the Carl von Linde Akademie every semester. The workshop is perfect for anyone who wants to try literary writing, and it is a good preparation  for the BadS – a protected space in which you can do exercises and get plenty of guidelines  and creative ideas.

How long have you been writing for?

I started writing poems when I was in 8th grade. Later, I wrote my own stories and scenes about different topics – depending on which movies, TV-series or books influenced me at the time.  My application for BadS was my first attempt of a short story.

What happens at the academy?

We are eight students from three universities. Our supervisors are the author Teresa Präauer and Martin Mittelmeier, an editor. All in all, we meet up on three weekends in three different cities. On the first weekend, it’s all about getting to know each other and working on the application text –  so the text is totally picked apart to identify the weaknesses.

That’s probably not so easy to deal with.

Exactly! It was quite hard to accept criticism for  the text you got selected for.. For a moment, I was doubting my participation . Today, I can say,  I learned a lot in the review session. Now, I have a different approach to writing. The aim was to improve the texts, so the criticism was always constructive and respectful.s. It showed me new dimensions (and possibilities) of my text.

What happened  then?

The second weekend was all about a text we wrote during in the two-month break. There were also writing exercises, a discussion with the author Thomas von Steinaecker, and a  meeting of the two courses at the “Literaturhaus”. The third weekend was about the final text and the remaining weaknesses in the rewritten form.

Where did you learn the most?

The academy ends in June – and there’s an event in Erlangen, where each participant reads his/her own text out loud. We had an extra workshop with a speech coach. It’s really fascinating how texts can change when they are stressed in a proper way or recited in a different voice.

What would you recommend other TUM-students who would like to take part in the BAdS, how should they prepare?

I think it’s very exciting to listen to author readings, as they  give you the opportunity  getting to know the author from a different perspective. Also, you often get some information about the basic thought of  the story – which is very helpful for one’s personal writing.

What is your advice for other students who want to improve their  literary writing?

My advice is to write because you want to. Always be open to new ideas. There are so many ways to describe a certain subject. Have trust in your own writing style, even if it takes a long time to find and develop it. Also, you should accept the imperfection  of your work.The final version does not necessarily have to be perfect: It has to be the way you want it, so you can see yourself in it.

The “Bayerische Akademie” is an association of seven Bavarian universities and the “Literaturhaus München”, which aims to promote young authors. It is open to all registered students, of all scientific disciplines. Participation (incl. accommodation) is free of charge; the participants have to cover the travel expenses. Applications for 2016/17 can be submitted as of now – until August 1, 2016.

More information:
"Bayerische Akademie des Schreibens" at the TUM
Seminars at the "Literaturhaus München"
"Literaturhaus München" at facebook

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