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John von Düffel

Portrait of the author John von Düffel
Photo credit Katja von Düffel

»The destruction of the future takes place with each passing day «

John von Düffel works as a dramaturg at the Deutsches Theater Berlin and is Professor of Scenic Writing at the Berlin University of the Arts. Since his début novel "Vom Wasser" (From the Water) (1998), his writing has revolved around water. This was followed by the essay collection "Schwimmen" (Swimming) (2000), "Wasser und andere Welten" (Water and Other Worlds) (2002) and the prose volume "Wassererzählungen" (Tales of Water) (2014). In his recent novel "Der brennende See" (The Burning Lake) (2020), a body of water once more takes centre stage, becoming a medium by through questions of ecological and socio-political justice can be raised.

John Düffel’s novel also centres on a generational conflict, which is sparked by the question of responsibility in terms of climate change. It is also arguably the first German-language novel that includes the Fridays for Future protests. The personal conflicts and struggles of the young women Hanna, Julia and Vivien are mirrored in the power struggles and eco-political conflicts that arise within the narrative about the preservation of a lake. The story is about the clash between the purely economic interests of older generations and the political activism of the younger ones. The young women, no longer seeing their parents as role models, want to fight in their own way for a sustainable, environmentally friendly life and economy.