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Mieze Medusa

Mieze Medusa, civic name Doris Mitterbacher (born 1975), is an Austrian author, Slam poet, rapper, and publisher. She is a main pillar in the Austrian Hip-Hop- and Poetry-Slam-scene, and has been organizing and hosting various Poetry Slam formats ever since 2004, such as the longest running Poetry Slam “textstrom” in Vienna, the “KULTUM” slam in Graz, as well as a number of other slams in various theatres, museums, and other cultural institutions. She is also part of the “Textvorstellungen” – Team that hosts readings at renowned Alte Schmiede in Vienna. The “Textvorstellungen” aim to discuss emerging literature with a special focus on publications in literary magazines.

She is currently working on a novel. The working title is Inflation der Steine (The inflation of stones) and features a chapter called “Die unerträgliche Leichtigkeit der Null und Eins” (“The unbearable lightness of zero and one”) as homage to Milan Kundera.

Mieze Medusa explains aim of the novel: “Central questions that drive the plot are: What are our roots? What's breakable, what is solid? What is change? 3 generations meet (and clash). Literature is ambiguous. It is not always easy to say, what it is about. But some concepts are central to the project: Surveillance, Big Data, The generation of 68, security, waste, nerds, migration, education, tourism, change of values, hacking, the city versus the country, care, virtual reality, paid versus unpaid work, participation,…”

Mieze Medusa studied German Language and Literature as well as English and American Language and Literature at Innsbruck University and one year German Literature at University College London under a scholarship.

In 2008, her first novel Freischnorcheln was published by the Milena publishing house. Since then she has regularly published novels, anthologies, Poetry Slam texts, and Rap albums. Her second novel Mia Messer (2012) was nominated for the Alpha Literature Award and was presented in Austria as well as internationally. In 2015, she published book of stories Meine Fußpflegerin stellt Fragen an das Universum.

In 2002, she won the FM4 Wortlaut literature competition with her text “Muss Ja Alles Inklusive Sein”, and in 2007, she won the FM4 Protestsongcontest together with tenderboy and Violetta Parisini with the track “Nicht Meine Revolution”. Mieze Medusa published a number of collections of spoken word poetry together with her husband Markus Köhle – eg. Alles außer grau – Texte to go (2016), Ping Pong Poetry – die neuen besten Slamtexte (2013), Doppelter Textpresso (2009). She also presents her work at Slam Poetry Performances at home and abroad, eg. Prague (Book Fair), Leipzig (Book Fair), Luzern Literary Festival, Sprachsalz Literaturfestival, readings in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Uzbekistan.

Can spoken poetry be transferred into a different language? Mieze Medusa answers: “I have a lot of experience in performing outside of Austria and also outside of German speaking countries. Spoken poetry easily overcomes language barriers due to its performative nature. I have also hosted creative writing workshops in English or in German for non-native-speaking participants. This is a part of my poetic work abroad and at home. An example: Last year, Markus Köhle & I hosted workshops and poetry slam for a mixed group of Austrian and Czech students in Melk in Austria. That was a cooperation with the European Literature Festival and will be repeated this year. Monthly textstrom poetry slam has a new emphasis on multilingual performances.”

Her interest in music and poetry has fully revealed itself in the project “Mieze Medusa & Tenderboy”, devoted to poetic and intelligent hip-hop, with a couple of released CDs as well. In addition she has written for the Viennese free magazine “The Gap”, as well as having worked as a columnist for the feminist pop-cultural magazine “an.schläge”.

As part of the Prague residency organized by Prague City of Literature, Mieze Medusa wanted to contribute to a better poetic connection between Prague and Vienna, and you can also meet her personally during the poetry performance on 20th of November 2018 in Pilsen or at the readings in Prague during November and December.

She adds to her stay in Prague: “Also, possibly more importantly, there's a huge benefit for authors who write for some time in a non-native-speaking city. While you get the full experience and inspiration of a cultural hub you get to be alone with your language and can focus in an exceptional way.”

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