www.henrikeger.com

BIOGRAPHIE, בִּיוֹגְרַפִיָה , BIOGRAFIA,Биография, Βιογραφία, سيرة, BIOGRAPHY

BACKGROUND: My name is Henrik Eger.  I am a tenured professor of English and Communication at Delaware County Community College (DCCC) in Media, PA, where I have been teaching English and Communication since 1992, and where I served, among others, as chair of the Academic Affairs Committee. 
 
FROM GERMANY TO ENGLAND: Born and raised in Germany, I grew up first in Frieding, a beautiful little village, near Kloster Andechs (Monastery) in Bavaria, and then in Wuppertal, the city with the world's oldest monorail and one of Germany's most avant-garde ballet companies, the Pina Bausch Wuppertal Dance Theatre.  Because of poor performance in English and Biology, I did not graduate from High School.  At the age of 17, I became an apprentice at the Nettesheim bookstore, and, determined to learn English, attended evening classes, spent all my vacations in England, and with the help of a British soldier who was stationed in WuppertalDavid Scurfield, a descendant of William WilberforceI started an English Club in my hometown.  The day after my three-year apprenticeship ended, I traveled to England to take on the new postion of import manager at Interbook, Ltd. (the sister company of Oswald Wolf publishers) in London.  I became active in the British-German Association, attended evening classes, passed the Cambridge Proficiency Exam, and back in Wuppertal, managed to get through the "Begabtensonderprüfung," the exam for the specially gifted, a German equivalent of the Abitur
 
FROM EUROPE TO AMERICA: Often compared to a high school diploma in the United States, the Abitur more closely resembles an associate degree of a US College, and my limited knowledge at the time made it the most difficult exam I have ever taken.  In spite of this non-traditional beginning to my education, especially my poor performance in high school English, I won a scholarship as the 1964-65 Wuppertal exchange student to Bethel College, Kansas, and became Martin Luther King's Nobel Peace Prize mail translator (May, 1965).  In that year, I compiled and edited a booklet to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the Wuppertal-Bethel Exchange Program.  Ten years later, Bethel College published a follow-up volume to celebrate the 25th Anniversary, opening it with my poem “Bridges Over Troubled Waters,” and in 2001, to mark the 50th Anniversary, Bethel College published a third volume, edited by Dr. Merle Schlabaugh, which included my essay dedicated to the yet unborn exchange students: “100 years Wuppertal-Bethel Exchange Program: An open letter to the American and German students of the year 2051.”  
 
EDUCATION:Winning scholarships, I studied English Language; British, American, and German Literature, especially Drama and Shakespeare; Linguistics; Sociology of Literature; and Composition and Rhetoric at universities in Germany (Wuppertal), England (Kent, Essex, and Exeter College, Oxford), and the US.  Within a fairly short period of time, I earned two BA’s, three MA’s (English and German; Sociology of Literature; Applied Linguistics), and one Ph.D.University of Illinois at Chicago (in Composition and Rhetoric, 1991), under dissertation director John C. Mellon, Ed.D. (Harvard), now Professor Emeritus.   

For one of my Master's degrees (Duisburg), I investigated the integration of impoverished children from Duisburg's Gleisdreieck projects into a public school environment, and for another MA (Essex) I wrote my thesis on Distortions: The production of the image of “the German” in English Literature.  

My dissertation, “Writer Perception, Writer Projection: The Influence of Personality, Ideology, and Gender on Letters of Recommendation” showed that writers can accept a different gender and personality to those of their own, but find it difficult to accept someone else’s different ideologies, values, and world viewsleading to many misjudgments in the professional world.
 
WRITING & EDITING: In 1977, Noam Chomsky (MIT) wrote the forward to Who's Afraid of Noam Chomsky?, a small book of linguistic poetry which I had edited at the University of Essex at Colchester.   After experiencing the revolution in Iran (1978), I fled to Bombay, India, where I wrote articles for the Indian Express.  Along with my assistant Anup Singh, who a few years ago won first prize for best direction for an Independent Indian Film, I conducted creative writing workshops for Indian writers at the Max-Mueller-Bhavan (the Goethe Institute), each of which ended with a performance and a publication.  One of these publications, entitled WriteWrite Rewrite: Surreaslistic Stories and Sketches, Dramas, and Dialogues—included my introductory essay Can One Learn Creative Writing?  I interviewed hundreds of refugees and published articles in Kayhan International, a newspaper published in Tehran.  However, they did not accept any pieces that implied criticism of the new regime.  
 
In 1991, I wrote six entries for a handbook published by the Greenwood Press: Literary Exile in the Twentieth Century: An Analysis and Biographical Dictionary.  I have also participated in several productions of my play Metronome Ticking, a docudrama based on the uncensored writings of a German World War II correspondent (my father) and a Jewish Holocaust survivor.  A scene from my new play, Mendelssohn Does Not Live Here Anymore, was performed at the Jewish Ensemble Theatre (Detroit) as part of the Playwright's Forum during the 2008 Conference for the Association for Jewish Theatre.  To read the sample scene, click here.  For a full list of my publications, click here
 
TEACHING: I taught English and ESL in six countries on three continentsGermany, England, India, Sri Lanka, USA, and Iran, where I also served as the founding chair of the German Department at Kerman University.  In Tehran, I was invited by the Goethe Institute to conduct a workshop for faculty members on "How to teach creative writing in German to Iranian students," followed by poetry readings in German by my students from Kerman University who had not spoken a single word of German a year earlier.  As part of the annual Conference of Professors of English at Iranian Universities (1978), I was also asked to present my illustrated talk on "Teaching creative writing in English to Iranian students" at Mashad University.
 
In the United States, I taught at three large US State universities in Oklahoma, Illinois, and Indiana, and at Sacred Heart University, a private Catholic university in Connecticut, where I developed a Writer Mentoring Program that encouraged students to find writers in the community with whom they discussed their evolving texts, a project which resulted in Reaching Out: Mentoring as an Empowerment of Self and Others—A Collection of Reports on Mentoring Experiences (1992).  The courses I have taught in the US range from undergraduate Composition and Research Writing, to Creative Writing and World Literature, all the way to MBA level courses in International Business Communication
 
At DCCC, I developed handouts and a writer’s feedback program which resulted in quite a few well-written student essays and research papers.  Since 2005, I edit and conduct a weekly interactive "News Around the World" workshop at Martins Run in Media, PA, one of America's oldest  residences for Jewish Seniors
 
Henrik Eger in front of a sculpture by Eli MarshTRANSLATING & INTERPRETING: When time permits, I occasionally work as a translator and interpreter from German to English and English to German.  After the September 11 attacks, and the deaths of many New York City firefighters and police officers, I was invited by a delegation of Berlin firefighters and police officers to interpret for them at various fire stations and with the Chief of Police in NYC to arrange for widows and children of the slain firefighters to travel to Berlin as guests of the Berlin firefighters under the protection of the Berlin police.  I then accompanied these women and children as their interpreter in Germany, where the newspapers, TV stations, and the public welcomed them with open arms.  
 
CONSULTING: As a language consultant on industrial films requiring German voice-overs, I occasionally work in various sound studios, advising directors during the recording process.  I also work as a project, idea, and text consultant, specializing in helping professionals to overcome writer’s block through analysis, brainstorming, and assisting in the development of their projects and careers.  
 
As one of the most widely invited guest speakers at DCCC, I present goal-oriented workshops and seminars—tailored to the specific needs of the target audience—for corporations, organizations, or educational and community groups, including Elder Week at DCCC.  I am also actively involved with the Delaware County chapter of Toastmasters International, the world’s largest speech, communication, and leadership organization, who each semester, conduct workshops for my communications students.  In return, I host workshops for the Toastmaster Club in Media, PA. 

Henrik Eger as Theodore Herzl on Israel DayTHEATRE: For five years I served as one of ten Barrymore judges, sponsored by the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, where I saw about 70-80 plays per season.  For this awards program, I conceptualized and co-authored the Handbook for Barrymore Nominators and Judges, and served on the Barrymore Oversight Committee as the representative of the judges for four years.  I also continue to serve in the following roles: (1) as a theatre judge at the annual Short Play Festival in Horsham, PA; (2) as a member of the Board of Directors both of the Media Theatre and Theatre Ariel, the Jewish Theatre of Philadelphia (where he also chairs the Outreach Committee).  Every year since 2006, Theatre Ariel and the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia have asked me to play the role of Theodore Herzl on Israel Day in Philadelphia, which requires me to dye my hair and my beard black.  For that I wrote a bio about Herzl for young people as well as bios for David Ben-Gurion (on left), Golda Meir (not pictured), and Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon (on right), with myself in the middle as Herzl.  
 
Based on the town-gown principle, both the Hedgerow Theatre and the Media Theatre have invited me to conduct audience-interactive presentations.  Additionally, I have recorded voice-overs and facilitated workshops at the Hedgerow Theatre, while at the Media Theatre I worked as the German and British dialect and culture coach for Cabaret and Camelot, and each summer, I teach "Around the World in 60 minutes: International languages and accents" to the children involved in "Camp Media Theatre."  Most recently, I was invited to play the role of Adam Czernikov in a staged reading of Children of Night by Nephesh Theatre co-founder Gabriel Emmanuel (for details, click here).
 
Based on my work with underprivileged children in Duisburg-Hamborn, I founded and became the conductor of the Salzmann Singers, a group of 66 working-class children from the Ruhr, frequently featured by West German Radio and Television (WDR) and nationally by ZDF, and who even got invited to perform in England.   At the City Literary Institute in London, I produced and directed the "International Shakespeare." This program included unusual interpretations of classic Shakespearean scenes, such as the witches’ opening from Macbeth performed as a most vicious tea ceremony by three young Japanese women in kimonos, the interaction between Hamlet (speaking English) and the Ghost of his father (speaking German), and the fighting scenes of Romeo and Juliet featuring young men from Spain attacking as the Capulets and young Latin Americans fighting back as the Montagues.  All actors presented Shakespeare's scenes in their mother tongues.  When I lived in Chicago, I was invited to serve as a judge for the Chicago International Film Festival, and later the Chicago International Children's Film Festival.  
 
PERSONAL: In 1997, I bought a beautiful, large, old house (built in 1926), surrounded by a garden on a quiet side street in Upper Darby, PA, just outside Philadelphia.  I have since completely renovated this unique building, often opening my home to theatre and community groups for brainstorming sessions, fundraisers, and social events.  Although I still travel extensively and have journeyed as far as Australia and Africa, I enjoy growing roots in the United States, where I have now lived for over a quarter of a century.  Most of all, I cherish my friends, both here and abroad, for their advice, feedback, and support.

Every year in December, I invite my friends to a festive “Victorian Holiday” at what they call "the Li'l Manse."  As part of the program that night, many of the guests sing songs in various languages, share something of their culture’s holiday traditions, play instruments, tell stories, do skits or dramatic scenes from a play, perform dances, show their art work, and sometimes even create some magic. 

FUTURE: I have planned to continue my research on the connection between weekly, anonymous student feedback on the quality of teaching, and student satisfaction and retention.  I also want to connect the educational part of my website with the new, internet-linked computer system at DCCC, perhaps even creating e-portfolios.  For my students, I will fine-tune the online Schedules for each of their classes so that from one document, they can click to every handout and educational tool that they need to become better writers and communicators.  
 
I hope to complete more plays that I have written, and see them through to production at various theatres.  In the meantime, I look forward to upcoming performances of Metronome Ticking and to hear from anyone who is interested in discussing issues raised or topics brought up by this website.  Feel free to contact me via email.