Photo of Jeff Schinker

Jeff Schinker, born in 1985 in Luxembourg, is a writer and journalist. He studied in Paris, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature. Since 2017 he’s been working as editor of the cultural pages of the Luxembourg daily newspaper Tageblatt. In 2015, Jeff Schinker published Retrouvailles, a novella about a protagonist who organises and simultaneously describes a meeting among old friends. While this task seems at first superficial and banal, eventually uncomfortable truths are revealed. Sabotage, Schinker’s second book, is a collection of stories in French, Luxembourgish, English and German that confront its protagonists with the excesses and perversions of the world of work and relationships in a neoliberal society. It was published in 2018 and shortlisted for the Servais Prize for Literature, the Lëtzebuerger Buchpräis and the European Prize for Literature. Schinker’s most recent novel Ma vie sous les tentes was published in October 2021 and shortlisted for the Servais Prize for Literature in 2022. Jeff Schinker has also written several plays. His most recent one, Bouneschlupp, addresses racism in Luxembourg. Since 2014, he has also been organising, hosting and participating in the lecture series Désoeuvrés – Work in Progress. In 2016, Jeff Schinker was the laureate of the writer’s residency at the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin for which he has also been selected in 2023.

© Picture Philippe Matsas

EUPL Country
Ma vie sous les tentes (My life in tents)

The novel Ma vie sous les tentes by Jeff Schinker uses the experience of traveling to and attending music festivals to explore the existential insecurities of a writer and music fanatic. The protagonist sees in the unformatted revelling of festival life a way of resisting the patterns of modern consumer society, and in the friendships made through music a way of escaping an unsatisfying love life. The title’s tents become both a symbol for nomadic life, allowing the protagonist to travel through Europe and experience surprising and occasionally ludicrous or incredible adventures, and for the text itself, writing being seen as a similarly unstable refuge from personal and societal issues. The author revels in metafictional excursions and linguistic digressions that expose the narrative process and, in characteristic self-mockery, the futility of any search for meaning and stability. The unfamiliar becomes the commonplace, the only thread holding it all together being the communal experience of listening to music. The novel celebrates this by including listening suggestions and creates, with the addition of drawings by Alasdair Reinert, a multi-layered artistic experience. Both the story and the language reflect the sense of volatility and transience of a generation more at home in their friendships and the bonds created by music than in the families, villages and cities of their childhood.

Photo of the cover of the book "Ma vie sous les tentes"

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Stefanie Drews
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