Kübra Gümüşay

c/o Hanser Berlin – Lehrter Straße 57, Haus 4, 10557 Berlin

Büro betreut von Julia Obermann

Bürozeiten: dienstags 9.00 – 13.00 + donnerstags 9.00 – 13.00

Bei Interviewanfragen, Lesungen und alle anderen Fragen zu meinem Buch “Sprache und Sein”
hilft Ihnen gerne mein Verlag weiter:

Hanser Berlin

Thomas Rohde
thomas.rohde@hanser.de, +49 30 252 948 015


What happens when our language is no longer fit for purpose, and how we can change the discourse

Language opens up our world, and in the same instant, limits it. What does it mean to exist in a language that was never meant for you to speak? Why are we missing certain words? How can we talk about our communal problems without fuelling them? What does it actually mean to speak freely?


As a writer and activist fighting for equality, Kübra Gümüsay has been thinking about these questions for many years. In this book she explores how language shapes our thinking and determines our politics. She shows how people become invisible as individuals when they are always seen as part of a group, and the way those in the minority often have to expend energy cleaning up the messy thinking of others. But she also points to how we might shape conversations to allow for greater ambiguity and individuality, how arguments might happen in a space of learning and vulnerability without sacrificing principles – how we might all be able to speak freely.

published by Profile Books in May 2022, translated by Gesche Ipsen


German “Sprache & Sein”, Hanser Berlin, 2020
for more information, click here.

Italian Lingua E Essere Fandango Libri 04/2021
– translated by Lavinia Azzone

Dutch  Spreken en Zijn Atlas Contact 10/2022
– translated by Ymke van der Staay

Mandarin  “我說,所以我存在” Infortress Publishing 05/2023
– translated by 杜子倩

Korean  “언어와 존재”, SEEP fall 2023
– translated by 강영옥



»Speaking and Being«, May 2022, Profile Books. To preorder, please click here. There you will find links to various online stores. But – if you can – it would such a joy if you could go to your local bookshop and order the book there to support them.



For media enquiries and readings, please contact:

Anna-Marie Fitzgerald
Head of Publicity, Fiction & Commercial Non-Fiction at Profile Books
anna-marie@profilebooks.com | +44 (0) 20 7841 6300


For world rights and all other enquiries, please contact:

Lisette Verhagen
Literary Agent, Peters Fraser + Dunlop (PFD)


SPIEGEL Bestseller (Hardcover, non-fiction) (number of placements: 52)

The ZEIT-Bestseller-List in non-fiction

“Beste Sachbücher 2020” – Die Welt

Shortlisted for the WISSEN-Sachbuchpreis of WBG, a german foundation for humanities

For a selection of the reception of the book, see here or here.


»Ein beeindruckendes Buch, poetisch und politisch zugleich. Es fordert uns dazu auf, die Grenzen in unseren Köpfen zu hinterfragen – und abzuschaffen.«


»Kübra Gümüsay seziert die Architektur unserer Sprache auf der Suche nach einem neuen Haus, in dem Platz für alle ist. Ein leidenschaftliches, elegant geschriebenes, dringliches Plädoyer.«


»Dieses Buch ist wunderbar dafür geeignet, Sprache von der Zunge ins Ohr und über das Herz in den Verstand zu bringen.«


»Wer darf sprechen, wer wird gehört? Ein kluges, mitreißendes, wichtiges Buch, in dem Kübra Gümüsay mit unserer Sprache auch unsere Denkgewohnheiten hinterfragt.«


»Kübra Gümüsay zeigt uns, wie mächtig Sprache ist und wie sie zugleich feine Grenzen zieht. Und das Beste: Großartig schreiben kann sie auch!«


»Kübra Gümüsay baut Brücken und rüttelt auf. Ihr Buch, so intellektuell wie gefühlvoll, zeigt einmal mehr, wie zentral der Anspruch auf Zugehörigkeit ist.«


“Gümüşay’s most remarkable feat is having written this book using rare language. It is much quieter, more poetic, more colourful and often more intricate than much other current writing on the topics of racism, right-wing extremism and xenophobia. It is partly inspired by the sound and possibilities of other languages such as Turkish or Arabic. It raises questions about where others are looking for answers – questions that are often so stimulating that they continue to have an effect long after the reading.” 

Jutta Rinas, Hannoversche Allgemeine, 08.02.20


“Wer Gümüsays Buch … liest, sieht manches eigene Verhaltensmuster, manche Gedankenlosigkeit anders. Die Stärke des Buches leigt in dieser Zumutung einer anderen Perspektive und der Erschütterung der eigenen.”

Martin Ebel, Tages-Anzeiger, 22.02.20


“Kübra Gümüsay erzählt, argumentiert, zitiert ‚Sprache und Sein‘ mit solch einer Dringlichkeit, Fantasie und furchtloser analytischer Schärfe, dass jede Seite ein Hochgenuss ist. Man hört, spricht anders danach und will das Buch in die Schulen tragen.”
Barbara Weitzel, WELT am Sonntag, 16.02.20


“An intelligent, a very personal book…. with an important message.”
Pascal Fischer, SWR lesenswert, 12.2.20


“Language and Being is a polemical plea for a new use of language in public discourse. A polemic, however, that counteracts the battle cries with a personal tone and an inviting gesture to start a dialogue.”

Paul Stoop, Deutschlandfunk, 10.02.20


“Language and Being is a passionate defence of cultural diversity. Contrary to what the title suggests, it does not resemble Heidegger in the least. It formulates the aspiration to live without stigmatisation. The book is a reckoning with our linguistic habits: because the first tool of discriminatory practices is words.”

Katharina Teutsch, Die Zeit, 30.01.20


“Der Kampf um Individualität, um die eigene Sprache, der Kampf darum, den Graben zu schließen, zwischen dem, was sie sich entschieden hat zu sein, und dem, worauf sie festgelegt wird – und zwar der kollektive Kampf aller Marginalisierten und im Speziellen ihrer Generation: Kübra Gümüsays Buch ist dafür ein kraftvolles, mit vielen interessanten Verweisen und Zitaten gespicktes Manifest.”
Ambros Waibel, taz, 29.01.20


“Language and Being is based on what progressive communities refer to as empowerment: the attempt to raise up others through advocacy, thus helping them stand up for themselves and their rights. Gümüşay is very well-versed in the current discourses of anti-racism and net feminism, and synthesises them compactly in her book.”

Hanna Engelmeier, Zeit Online, 29.01.20


“Precise, clever and extremely readable Gümüşay’s first work is an important, thought-provoking commentary. Gümüşay’s passionate plea for a new, free language and a new, free way of thinking questions the status quo.”

Madeleine Gullert, Aachener Nachrichten, 28.01.2020


“Gümüşay’s book is strongest when the author shows by her own example how she, as a person with a name among the nameless, holds on to her dream of a society in which ‘everyone can speak and be equal’. Her democratic aim to make language a home for everyone is presented wisely and passionately.”

Ralph Gerstenberg, Deutschlandfunk, 27.01.2020


“The book title Language and Being sounds like Heidegger, but it’s not about being thrust into our linguistic present: it is about the mission to shape it.”

Marc Reichwein, Die Welt, 27.01.20


“The issues Gümüşay raises are important: an awareness of the power of language, the current shift in discourse to the right, her plea for letting people speak outside of categories.”

Azade Pesmen, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, 27.01.20


“This book is an act of liberation – and a clever essay of literary quality and political strength.”

Martina Läubli, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 26.01.20