'Seriously Cool': Students Respond to Global Writer's Debut U.S. Residency

Marie Gamillscheg, Dickinson's 2024 Max Kade writer-in-residence, speaks with students studying modern German film. Photo by Dan Loh.

Marie Gamillscheg, Dickinson's 2024 Max Kade writer-in-residence, speaks with students studying modern German film. Photo by Dan Loh.

Marie Gamillscheg marks first U.S. residency at Dickinson

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

If Marie Gamillscheg looks familiar, that’s no surprise. You may have noticed the young author working in the library or heard her chatting, in German, in the caf. Perhaps you attended her readings on campus or beyond, or interacted with her in class.

Gamillscheg is visiting Dickinson this spring through the Max Kade artist-in-residence program. Supported by the Max Kade Foundation and hosted by the Department of German since 1994, the program brings established and up-and-coming German writers to campus biannually to write new work and connect with students, inside and outside of classes. Past honorees include Nobel Laureate Herta Müller (1996) and, more recently, Jan Wagner (2022), Ahne (2019) and Thea Dorn (2017).

This spring marks Gamillscheg’s first visit to Dickinson—and the first U.S. residency for a young author on the ascent.

Complementary themes

Born in Austria in 1992 and now living in Germany, Gamillscheg is a journalist and award-winning novelist with a master’s degree in Eastern European studies and a background in transcultural communication. Her fellowships, grants and residencies in Germany and Austria include a 2022 literary project grant through the Austrian Federal Ministry of Art and Culture and a 2022 residency in the Schreyahn, Germany, artists’ village. She’s the recipient of the debut Austrian Book Prize and has been shortlisted for numerous other prestigious prizes and awards.

Gamillscheg's 2002 novel, An Uprising of Sea Creatures, folds sustainability themes into a playful tale about a young marine biologist and a jellyfish. Everything That Glitters (2018), and its 2022 theatrical adaptation, focuses on imbalance between the natural and human-made worlds. 

"We're excited to welcome her to Dickinson, because she's established herself as an author of note," says Sarah McGaughey, associate professor of German, "and because the themes in her works are fitting for our German program, with its emphasis on environmental humanities and politics."

A 'cool opportunity'

While in Carlisle, Gamillscheg has visited classrooms to meet with students studying German language and film. An informal talk on March 6 revealed her favorite novels. She also gave a public reading on campus and for the Austrian Cultural Forums in New York City and Washington, D.C.

“It’s something very special to read through a book while getting to know the author who created it. It's a seriously cool opportunity,” says Alex Arnold, a first-year German major who’s reading Gamillscheg’s newest novel in its original language. “Marie's presence on campus definitely creates new opportunities to get involved with German in an exciting and different way.”

Gamillscheg will remain at Dickinson through nearly the end of the semester, participating in German "language table" discussions on Tuesday evenings and working in the library. Her residency is only one of the ways Dickinson's world language departments seek to immerse students in global languages and cultures throughout the academic year.

The best part, according to Haley Henderson '27? Students in all majors and class years can take part.

“I’ve been wanting to branch out in what I read, especially literature in German, but it was a bit daunting to me. After hearing from Ms. Gamillscheg, I feel a lot more confident about delving in,” says Henderson, a double major in German and international business & management who was inspired by Gamillscheg's informal talk about books. "I hope more events like these help students discover the same passion that I have for the German language and culture.”


Published April 6, 2024