Please Enter a Search Term

German Literature Scholar Awarded the John G. Diefenbaker Award to Work at Memorial University

Ottawa, May 5, 2009 –Silke Horstkotte, a German Literature professor at Universität Leipzig (Germany) has been awarded this year’s John G. Diefenbaker Award by the Canada Council for the Arts. The award, worth up to $75,000, enables a scholar who is a German citizen to spend up to 12 months in Canada to pursue research in the social sciences and humanities.

Dr. Horstkotte will be working at Memorial University (MUN) from September 2009 to August 2010, where she will collaborate with Dr. Nancy Pedri, professor with the English Department at MUN, on a project which will examine the narratological concept of focalization – a technical concept that replaces older, better-known terms such as perspective or point of view. For their proposed monograph, to be entitled Visual Narratology and Focalization, they will investigate how the telling of a story – its narration – is different from its focalization – that is, from the perspective (perceptual as well as cognitive) presented within (or outside) that narration. In particular, they will look at multimedia artifacts such as graphic novels, film adaptations of literary texts, and opera scores in order to determine what, if any, analytical benefits the focalization concept has for the study of such texts.

“Dr. Horstkotte will make a most welcome addition to our department,” said Dr. Faith Balisch, Interim Head of the Department of English Language and Literature at Memorial University, in nominating Dr. Horstkotte. “Her research, with its innovative approach to the role of the visual in contemporary fiction, is of the highest quality. That the influence of the visual and all that has to do with the iconic– seeing, perceiving, viewing, gazing – on literature has never been so widely acknowledged, makes this project a highly pertinent one. ”

An image of Dr. Horstkotte can be downloaded from the Canada Council image gallery at

Established in 1991, the John G. Diefenbaker Award is an annual award honouring the memory of former Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker. Candidates must be nominated by a university department or research institute in Canada. The value of the award is provided by the Canada Council for the Arts and a travel allowance of up to $20,000 is provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Funded by an endowment of approximately $2 million from the Government of Canada, the award is administered by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Silke Horstkotte

Dr. Silke Horstkotte is a lecturer in German literature at the University of Leipzig and an internationally acknowledged expert on inter-media art and photography in contemporary German literature. Her other research areas include narratology, literature and visual culture, literature and film, and memorial culture. In 2008, she received her Habilitation (advanced doctorate) from the University of Leipzig; her second book, Afterimages: Photography and Memory in Contemporary German Literature, is forthcoming from Böhlau academic publishers. Her current research focuses on seeing and attention in film, film theory and literature from the 1910s and 1920s. She has published numerous articles on Goethe, Novalis, W.G. Sebald, image-text relations, photography, film, narratology and cultural practices associated with cultural memory. She has guest-edited with Dr. Pedri a special issue of Poetics Today on “Photography in Fiction.”

General information

In addition to its principal role of promoting and fostering the arts, the Canada Council for the Arts administers and awards many prizes and fellowships in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural and health sciences, engineering, and arts management. These prizes and fellowships recognize the achievements of outstanding Canadian artists, scholars, and administrators. The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to raising public awareness and celebration of these exceptional people and organizations on both a national and international level.

Please visit our website ( for a complete listing of these awards.


Media Contact:

Carole Breton: 613-566-4414 or 1-800-263-5588, ext. 4523

Grace Thrasher: 613-566-4414 or 1-800-263-5588, ext. 5145

Visit our website at

Tous les documents du Conseil des Arts du Canada sont disponibles en français et en anglais.

350 Albert Street 350, rue Albert

Post Office Box 1047 Case postale 1047

Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5V8 Ottawa (Ontario) K1P 5V8