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To mark the centenary of the death of Franz Kafka, Oxford University is joining together in an initiative called #OxfordReadsKafka. 

Students have all received a specially printed copy of his most famous work, The Metamorphosis. Alongside a major exhibition at the Bodleian (Kafka: Making of an Icon, curated by colleagues in German), the four Divisions of the university have joined together to curate lots of exciting events leading up to a gala reading of The Metamorphosis in the Sheldonian on 3 June. For more information and registration, see here.

In Humanities, we are looking forward to two award-winning shows based on another of Kafka’s ‘metamorphosis’ stories: Kafka’s Ape and Ed Gaughan Words and Music in an exciting double bill at the Old Fire Station 10-12th May. These shows translate Kafka's dark parable of un-belonging for the modern day. Kafka's story 'A Report for an Academy' finds its way into blistering explorations of race and migration, and grownup reflections on aging and humanimal agency, at the same time metamorphising prose into drama and stand-up comedy. Kafka as you've never seen or heard him before.  

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Franz Kafka

In a conversation on 'Hunger Artistry: Kafka and the Art of Starvation', we will also be tackling another of Kafka’s stories with strong links to The Metamorphosis. ‘The Hunger Artist’ takes its cue from the real exhibition starvation artists who until the early years of the twentieth century would starve themselves for the entertainment of paying audiences. The story has been translated into theatre, comic form, animation and a new ballet has been commissioned as part of the Oxford Kafka celebrations. It has also inspired writers, artists and academics to explore the politics and art of starvation in the twentieth century and beyond. 

The conversation will be on 30 May and will feature Peter Boxall, Alys Moody, Ankhi Mukerjee, and Meindert Peters, alongside Karen Leeder, to think about how Kafka and the art and literature that comes after him can be read at a time when eating disorders have reached epidemic proportions, hunger-strikes are a political tool and starvation is used as a weapon of war. More information and sign up here.

Finally, colleagues from across the Division and a few surprise guests have come together to offer their insights into Kafka and his legacy. This brilliant series of podcasts explore approaches to The Metamorphosis; how the text has itself been transformed into new forms like ballet, theatre and comic books; how Kafka’s work has been read, from ecological insights to questions of illness, humour feminism or race; how writers from across the world have responded to him, from J. M. Coetzee to Clarice Lispector or Marie NDiaye; and finally how artists have ‘written back’ to Kafka from their own time and place including even a viral Facebook novel in Russia.

For the curious, a reading list associated with this series will be available on ORLO. Coming soon!

Follow these events and see all the things happening across the university: as part of the AHRC project Kafka’s Transformative Communities, the Cultural Programme and all the Divisions.