Farah Abdi © 2021 Yoshi Shimizu
Discover our current fellow’s life and work in Berlin in a sensitive video portrait by film director Sophie Gmeiner.

Direction and concept: Sophie Gmeiner
Camera: Simon Dallaserra
Production: Schiefer Film

Call Torschreiber am Pariser Platz

Where: Berlin

When: ongoing

With: Stiftung Brandenburger Tor

Application deadline: 20.09.2021

Cultural and intellectual life in the city of Berlin has always been shaped by people who immigrated, newcomers arriving from the outside. For centuries, the only way to gain access to the city was via the city gates. There, travellers encountered the royal gate scribes, who not only collected taxes and duties, but also recorded the identities of the newcomers. They decided who could enter the town – and at the same time, they admitted people who would have a lasting and transformative influence on the city’s society.

One of them was Moses Mendelssohn, who came to Berlin at the age of 14 in 1743. At the Rosenthal Gate, the only gate which Jews could use in the north of the city, he managed to enter the city with some effort. He would leave his mark on an entire epoch of Berlin’s social life and Jewish-German history.

The fellowship “Torschreiber am Pariser Platz“ (Gate Scribe at Pariser Platz) has been initiated by the two foundations headquartered on Pariser Platz, tying in with this memory and commemorating the permanent transformation of urban society through new biographies and stories. With a change of accent: while the function of the gate scribe in former times was exclusionary – he decided who gained access and who didn’t – today it is an invitation. The city opens up, becoming a place of refuge for writers.

The fellowship enables one author to work on their own literary projects of choice for six months, starting in November 2021. A later start may be arranged after consulting. The foundations aim to help the fellow network with the city’s literary life. In consultation with the author, an individual side programme of events will be developed, including readings and cultural encounters.

Fellows receive a monthly stipend of 2,000 Euro for six months. In addition, there may be a lump sum for in-kind costs. 

Applications are open to writers from Europe and the Mediterranean Region who are threatened or persecuted in their country of origin or residence. In the light of current events, the foundations have decided to extend the scope of this year's program to include applications from Afghanistan. We invite Afghan writers who have had to leave their country to apply for the fellowship.

Fellows of this programme may be one of the following:

   •     Persons holding a residence permit enabling them to do freelance work in Germany

   •     Asylum seekers in the process of applying for asylum holding a residence permit or proof of arrival in Germany

Applications may be submitted in German or English. Please format and label your documents as described. Mandatory application documents (maximum size 10 MB):

  • CV in table format including prizes and fellowships (max. 2 A4 pages, file format: pdf. Please choose the following filename: Name_First Name_CV)
  • Brief description of your personal situation (max. 2 A4 pages, file format: pdf. Please choose the following filename: Name_First Name_Statement)
  • List of published and unpublished works (file format: pdf. Please choose the following filename: Name_First Name_Catalogue_of_Works)
  • Reading sample (selected text of max. 2,000 words, file format: pdf. Please choose the following filename: Name_First Name_Sample)

Umlauts, special characters and blank spaces are not permissible in file names.

The application deadline was September 20, 2021.
A jury has decided in November 2021 on the recipient of the fellowship.

© Jürgen Bauer
Jackie Thomae works as a journalist and writer, as well as a scriptwriter for television programs. In 2015, her debut novel “Moments of Clarity” was published by Hanser. With her second novel, “Brüder” (Brothers), she was shortlisted for the 2019 German Book Prize and awarded the 2020 Düsseldorf Literature Prize.
She lives in Berlin.
© Mathias Botor_Secession Verlag
© Tobias Bohm