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Rainer Merkel receives scholarship for literary research at the Gotha Research Library

A scholarship for literary research has now been awarded for the first time at the Gotha Research Library of the University of Erfurt. The first scholarship holder is the Berlin-based writer Rainer Merkel, whose high literary quality convinced the jury.

The multi-award-winning author has already published several novels. At the Gotha Research Library, he wants to work on his current novel project with the holdings of the emigrant letter collection and on the history of Protestantism. The scholarship is endowed with 1,500 euros and enables a one-month stay in Gotha in 2021. A total of 30 applications, some of them of high calibre, were received, so that the jury decided at the jury meeting, due to the outstanding applications, to exceptionally allow other authors a short visit to Gotha in addition to the awarding of the scholarship. Xenia Helms (Berlin), Ralph Grüneberger (Leipzig) and Sebastian Stuerz (Hamburg) will each be invited to Gotha for a one-week trial stay. "In addition to the literary quality, we were particularly impressed by the original approach of the projects and the noticeable curiosity of the applicants," says Guido Naschert, who accompanied the competition as managing director of the Literary Society of Thuringia.

The Research Fellowship
The research grant is awarded jointly by the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Thuringia, the Freundeskreis of the Gotha Research Library, the Gotha Research Centre of the University of Erfurt and the Literary Society of Thuringia. The cooperation partners would like to give national and international authors the opportunity to come to Gotha once a year for their literary projects and to work with the holdings of the research library. A public reading is also planned in connection with each award.