Jens Brockmeier is a professor of psychology at The American University of Paris. He received his degrees in psychology, philosophy, and linguistics/literary theory from the Free University Berlin where he took on his first appointment as assistant professor of epistemology and philosophy of science. Since then, he has held teaching and research appointments at the University of Toronto, The New School New York, and Linacre College Oxford, among others, before he joined the American University of Paris in 2014. His research is concerned with the cultural fabric of mind and language, which he has examined in a variety of cultural contexts and under conditions of health and illness. A paperback edition of his latest book Beyond the Archive: Memory, Narrative, and the Autobiographical Process was published by Oxford University Press in 2018.
Sirpa Kähkönen is a Finnish writer, who has studied history at the University of Helsinki. She constructs her books on a foundation of research, using a range of archive materials, press archives, scholarly studies and literature from that era. She is inspired by the philosophy of history and by the micro-historical research tradition, when she writes about how mindsets arise and how intangible heritage circulates in families and societies. Kähkönen was born in the city of Kuopio, among the lakes of Eastern Finland. Her parents and extended family had been severely affected by events of 20th-century history. The Finnish Civil War in 1918 and the Second World War had scarred her relatives, leaving behind heavy silences and words left unsaid. Surveying that silence became her work. This intellectual curiosity expanded from her personal sphere to encompass first Finnish history, then the history of Europe and finally more generally the fate of the individual in times of crisis.
The historical novel begins where the sources end. It opens the gates to an eidetic experience of the past. Kähkönen’s Kuopio-series consists of seven novels. In addition she has written one novel and two fact-books, and contributed also to academic anthologies on war history. Currently she is the chair of Finnish Writers’s Society (Kirjailijaliitto) and has also been the Chair of Finnish PEN-society.
Photo: Tommi Tuomi
Saidiya Hartman is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She is the author of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval (2019), Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (2008), and Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth Century America (1997).