Marquette to host best-selling authors Franzen, Brussig for book launch of ‘The Short End of the Sonnenallee,’ April 13

April 6, 2023

Book Cover, "The Short End of the Sonnenallee"MILWAUKEE — Jonathan Franzen, award-winning author of “The Corrections,” and Thomas Brussig, a best-selling German author, will be featured guests for the launch of “The Short End of the Sonnenallee,” an English translation of Brussig’s best-selling “Am kürzeren Ende der Sonnenallee,” on Thursday, April 13, at 4 p.m. at Marquette University’s Weasler Auditorium, 1506 W. Wisconsin Ave.

“The Short End of the Sonnenallee” was translated by Franzen and Dr. Jenny Watson, associate professor of German in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Marquette. With Brussig, they will be joined by Dr. Alison Efford, associate professor of history, and Dr. Sebastian Luft, professor of philosophy, for a panel discussion of the book and its surrounding historical context.

Registration for the event is free and available online. After the presentation, there will be a reception where the book will be available for purchase and signing by the author and translators. Members of the media who are interested in attending should contact Kevin Conway, associate director of university communication, at

“The Short End of the Sonnenallee” is available to an American audience for the first time in a pitch-perfect translation by Franzen and Watson. The novel confounds the stereotypes of life in totalitarian East Germany with a funny, charming tale of adolescents being adolescents, a portrait of a surprisingly warm community enduring in the shadow of the Iron Curtain. As Franzen writes in his foreword, the book is “a reminder that, even when the public realm becomes a nightmare, people can still privately manage to preserve their humanity, and be silly, and forgive.”

Franzen is the author of six novels, most recently “Crossroads” and “Purity,” and five works of nonfiction, including “The Discomfort Zone,” “Farther Away,” and “The End of the End of the Earth.” Among his honors are the National Book Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Award, the Heartland Prize, Die Welt Literature Prize, the Budapest Grand Prize, and the first Carlos Fuentes Medal awarded at the Guadalajara International Book Fair.

Brussig is best known for his satirical novels that deal with the German Democratic Republic. His first novel, “Wasserfarben” ("Watercolors") was published in 1991 under the pseudonym "Cordt Berneburger." In 1995, he published his breakthrough novel, “Helden wie wir” (“Heroes Like Us”), which dealt with the fall of the Berlin Wall. The book was a critical and commercial success and was later turned into a movie. Two movies of his books have been released, "Helden wie wir" and "Sonnenallee."

This event was organized by faculty from the Departments of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and Philosophy in Klingler College of Arts and Sciences and Center for the Advancement of the Humanities. Additional support came from Department of English, Goethe House Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, American Friends of the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation, the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chicago, the Grollman Fund, The German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst), the German Language and School Society of Wisconsin, and Boswell Book Company.

About Marquette University

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university located near the heart of downtown Milwaukee that offers a comprehensive range of majors in 11 nationally and internationally recognized colleges and schools. Through the formation of hearts and minds, Marquette prepares our 11,100 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional students to lead, excel and serve as agents of positive change. And, we deliver results. Ranked in the top 20% of national universities, Marquette is recognized for its undergraduate teaching, innovation and career preparation as the sixth-best university in the country for job placement. Our focus on student success and immersive, personalized learning experiences encourages students to think critically and engage with the world around them. When students graduate with a Marquette degree, they are truly prepared and called to Be The Difference.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or