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The Search for Happiness


“I think it is impossible to write a novel or screenplay without addressing fundamental topics such as love, death—and, of course, happiness. My stories always deal with friendship, loss, hope, human virtues and weaknesses and how we all understand these to be essential parts of our existence. When I write about happiness for twenty pages in a 500-page novel, bad luck gets 200 pages. Happiness, success, health, security: As much as we want all that for ourselves and our loved ones, we simultaneously enjoy following the hero of a novel or movie on his path through hell and various crisis: the journey of life we call destiny.” (Rolf Lappert)

Rolf Lappert will discuss the search for happiness with the Dutch author Gerbrand Bakker. Their conversation will be moderated by Lisa Dierbeck.

Gerbrand Bakker is a Dutch writer. In 2010, he won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for the English translation of his novel, The Twin.

Lisa Dierbeck is an editor, publisher, and the author of two novels, The Autobiography of Jenny X and One Pill Makes You Smaller, a New York Times Notable Book. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies.

Rolf Lappert was born in Zürich in 1958. He was trained as a graphic designer, and at the age of 20 he started writing short stories, novels, and poems. For a while he stopped writing and started a jazz club with a friend. From 1996 to 2004 he worked as a screenwriter. Rolf Lappert has travelled to various places in Asia, the Caribbean, and the United States. He also lived in France for a few years. From 2000 to 2011, he lived in Listowel, Ireland. In 2011, Rolf Lappert moved back to Switzerland. He currently is the writer-in-residence at Deutsches Haus at NYU.

Events at Deutsches Haus are free of charge. Please let us know which event(s) you would like to attend by sending us an email to deutscheshaus.rsvp@nyu.edu.

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