ONLINE COURSE: Writers in and around Berlin

Berlin is a great inspiration for novels, music, theatre, fine arts, and more! In the 20th century, it was also a home and inspiration for many great writers. In this course, we will follow some of them on their paths through the city and its surroundings, and we will discuss the city on our own for the stories we will write.

Course periodJuly 19, 2021 - Aug. 13, 2021 Session II
Category Language, Literature & Creative Writing
Course levelsBachelor, Master, Ph.D.
Class size

max. 10 participants in class

Credits and certificate

Participants will receive 5 ECTS credit points after successful completion of the online course. Additionally, six weeks after the end of the online course a Transcript of Records will be issued by Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Application deadline May 15, 2021, or when participant quota is reached
Course fee650.00 Euro | (excl. program fee and discounts)

Online Course Fee


Berlin is a vibrant city – and has always been. The City and its surroundings have always attracted and influenced artists. The “Golden Twenties and Thirties” of the 20th Century are legendary – not only the city provided inspiration and material for novels, music, theatre and fine arts, but also all the places of retreat that led from the external hectic pace to inner reflection.

The course is concerned with several writers, whose lives and work are closely connected to Berlin and the escape to the idylls of small towns. How did this contrast impact their writing process? What can we learn by that for our own creative processes?

In this course we will be reading and writing, as well as discussing and examining the relation between texts, style and atmosphere.


Preliminary Syllabus (PDF)

Course structure

The course content is equivalent to an on-site course offering 45 contact hours.

The study time includes:

  • virtual class room lessons with the lecturer and the fellow students (50%)
  • group exercises (25%)
  • assignments and self-study (25%)


Track B

Weekly schedule of virtual class room sessions:

  • Course days: Monday, Wednesday and Friday
  • Time: 12.30 pm - 2.45 pm (Berlin time, UTC+2)
    6.30 pm – 8.45 pm (Beijing time, UTC+8)
    8.30 pm – 10.45 pm (Sydney time, UTC+10)
    5.30 am – 7.45 am (Chicago time, UTC-5)
Language skills German: B2 - proof will be required
Motivation Letter about one page in German
Student Profile

Students of all subjects (Undergraduate, Graduate and PhD-Candidates) and professionals with an interest in creative writing (German language), culture and literature.

The course is designed for everybody who is interested in literature, creative writing (German language) and the city of Berlin as well as its surroundings.

Participants in this course should share an interest in literature and life in Berlin, as well as a willingness to explore their own writing and joy in playing with the German language.

For participants who are learning German and for whom German is not the first language, a language level B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) is required for the understanding of the texts and the discussions in class. A language level of C1 or C2 is recommended.

Mistakes in own texts are corrected but not discussed in class. They do not have any effect on the overall assessment of the participant’s performance. Of course, native speakers are also welcome.

The minimum age requirement is 18 years.

Ms. Renate Graßtat

Renate Graßtat, M. A., is currently teaching German as a Foreign Language andAcademic and Creative Writing in several different programs at Humboldt University. She is also offering Creative Writing classes in her own company. Further, she is working as an auditor at Goethe Institute.

She was born in Berlin and has spent most of her life in the city, being able to compare the particular characteristics of the city and its inhabitants with other parts of Germany (North, West and South), all of them also having been her residence for several years. As a result, she has become a “defender” of the Berlin accent and communication style, often mocked, and always tries to involve some of the features and background stories into her lessons.      

Building on her university degree in German Studies/Comparative Literature, her qualification as Intercultural Trainer and her experience as a translator, author of radio programs on cultural issues, she is not only specialized in the field of literature, films and writing, but also particularly interested in the many possibilities of changing perspectives and the challenges implied when transferring words and meanings from one language to another. Her strong interest in psychological processes and relevant trainings add to her focussing on biographical, historical and literary interactions and the role that writing plays in it.
CoordinatorPierre Steuer/ Carmen Opolski/ Sanja Müssig
Contact detailsInternational Department
Unter den Linden 6
10999 Berlin

This course can be combined with: