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Autorenlesung mit Tom Franklin

The one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the author of your “Abiturroman”

Reading and analysing books in class can be extraordinarily tough. We all know the routine: an ancient classic which barely connects to the young readers’ life and an overwhelmed teacher trying his or her best to keep the classroom interested - maybe by modernizing the underlying themes or showing the students that this timeless drama does indeed play a role in our world today.
Well, this year it was oh so different! In preparation for our Abitur 2022 we engaged in reading the modern social crime-novel “Crooked letter, Crooked letter” from 2010, written by the US American author Tom Franklin.Clipboard01 One afternoon not too long ago, I was sitting in a regular English lesson when out of the blue our teacher Mr. Mankel proposed the idea of an online conference with Tom Franklin himself. The class, including myself, were quite lost for words to say the least and no sooner said than done a real time meeting with Mr. Franklin had been arranged. For us students this not only meant that we could get to know the person behind the book, we were also given the chance to ask the author in person all the complex question which had remained from analysing the novel. With our Abitur vaguely becoming visible on the horizon, this was more than the “extra mile” towards the finish line. And indeed, everything fell into place just perfectly – the one-in-a-lifetime opportunity was there because all the stars (in a school system) aligned: an ambitious teacher willing to go much further than usual, a classroom full of interested students willing to engage and, of course, an open-minded author willing to share his time with us.
And so it happened that the meeting with Tom Franklin came across fruitful and lively as he told us about his upbringing, how much it influenced the book and how he could identify with one of the relevant characters. Clipboard04We eventually asked several questions which had been on our minds for months and were approvingly answered by the author.
In addition, Mr. Franklin even shared with us his personal experiences here in Heidelberg in 2016 when he stayed at the university for six months. Apart from “talking business” we learnt that he is a huge fan of our cherished “Weihnachtsmarkt” and the seducing perfumes and aromas of our German specialities. No doubt did we learn very much and found ourselves one step closer to our Abitur. I personally doubt that many students in Baden-Württemberg could enjoy such a luxurious treat!

It only remains for my classmates and me to express our sincere appreciation to our school, to our creative and determined teacher Mr. Mankel and, of course, to the good-hearted Tom Franklin.

Thank You!


Erin Kirimli, J2

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