Appearing in the 22nd Leukerbad
International Literary Festival:
Bachtyar Ali, Iraq/Kurdistan
Lukas Bärfuss, Switzerland
Azouz Begag, France
Michael Fehr, Switzerland
Christoph Geiser, Switzerland
Heiner Goebbels*, Germany
Nora Gomringer, Switzerland
Georgi Gospodinov, Bulgaria
Rolf Hermann, Switzerland
Franz Hohler, Switzerland
Anja Kampmann, Germany
Anna Kim, Austria
Chris Kraus, Germany
Sibylle Lewitscharoff, Germany
Jonas Lüscher, Switzerland
Nikola Madzirov, Macedonia
Urs Mannhart, Switzerland
Monika Maron, Germany
Robert Menasse, Austria
Lina Meruane, Chile
Quentin Mouron, Switzerland
Sharon Dodua Otoo, Germany
Tim Parks, Great Britain
Marie-Jeanne Urech, Switzerland
David van Reybrouck, Belgium
Anna Weidenholzer, Austria
Levin Westermann, Switzerland
John Wray, USA
Jeffrey Yang, USA
Liao Yiwu, China
Kathy Zarnegin, Switzerland
Serhij Zhadan, Ukraine
* Only on June 28th in
the Literaturhaus Zürich
Bachtyar Ali is one of the most renowned contemporary writers and poets of autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan. Born in Sulaymaniyah (Northern Iraq), he came into conflict with the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein in 1983. He was wounded in student protests and interrupted his geology studies. After the 1991 uprising and the partial autonomy associated with it, writers and intellectuals in the Kurdish regions gained new opportunities to express themselves. Bachtyar Ali began writing more intensively and also dedicated himself to the philosophical journal Asadi (Freedom). His works include novels, poems, and essays. In Kurdistan he was greatly respected for his nonpartisan stance and his open criticism of the political and social situations in his country.
This magician of narratives lived undiscovered in German for twenty years. Now the Unionsverlag has published his vivid parable of oppression and the fraternal strife among Iraqi Kurds, Bachtyar Ali’s first book to appear in German. DER LETZTE GRANATAPFEL (The Last Pomegranate), a highly topical and enchantingly lyrical novel tells the story of a high-ranking Peshmerga officer on a boat taking him and other refugees to the West. He has embarked on this journey through secrets to people who will help him find his missing son, a trip that will set him on the path taken by thousands before him: across the Mediterranean Sea to the West.
Bachtyar Ali has lived in Germany since the mid-1990s.
DER LETZTE GRANATAPFEL. Novel. Unionsverlag 2016
Available in English:
I STARED AT THE NIGHT OF THE CITY. Translated by Kareem Abdulrahman. Periscope Books 2016
Born in Thun in 1971, Lukas Bärfuss is a playwright, novelist, and essayist. His plays have been performed throughout the world and his novels have been translated into almost twenty languages.
Lukas Bärfuss has ventured into new territory in each of his novels. In his captivating third novel, HAGARD (Haggard), he shows us what very thin ice we are on as creatures dependent on the latest technological advances.
The word hagard cannot be found in any German dictionaries. Bärfuss reveals that the word is a term used by hunters to describe a wild hawk that has been caught and trained but never becomes completely tame.
This is a novel about hunting, pursuit, and the untamed: the narrator is chasing a story he never quite gets hold of. The protagonist, an utterly reliable man in his late forties, suddenly lets everything drop and, as if in a delirium, follows an unknown woman, falling completely out of his familiar routine. Bärfuss portrays this turn in his narrator’s as sinister but also in a positive light. Although exhausted, worn out, and hungry, he now perceives his surroundings more clearly and immediately than before.
Lukas Bärfuss offers a thought-provoking portrait of our society, which has become completely dependent on new technology, like cell phones. Without our devices, we are “cut off from the world, deaf and dumb, separated from others, and completely helpless.”
HAGARD. Novel. Wallstein 2015.
STIL UND MORAL. Essays. Wallstein 2015.
KOALA. Novel. Wallstein 2014.
HUNDERT TAGE. Novel. Wallstein 2008.
Available in English:
ONE HUNDRED DAYS. Novel. Translated by Tess Lewis. Granta Books. 2013.
THE SEXUAL NEUROSES OF OUR PARENTS. Play. Translated by Neil Blackadder. Nick Hern Books 2008.
A writer, sociologist, economist, and politician, Azouz Begag was born in Lyon and lives in Paris. His parents were originally from Algeria. Begag grew up in the banlieue of Lyon and was often confronted with racism and discrimination in his school years. Along with his scientific writing, he published his first work of fiction in 1986, an autobiographical novel LE GONE DU CHAÂBA (Shantytown Kid). In this novel he looks back with humor and in great detail at his experience of being a child of guest workers, explores the theme of double identity, and reflects on the differences between the generations of immigrants. The novel was awarded many prizes and made into a movie in 1998. Since then, Azouz Begag has written more than two dozen children’s and young adult books, novels, as well as numerous essays and cultural and political studies with a particular focus on questions of immigration and integration.
Begag has been a member of the UN’s Economic and Social Council. From 2005 to 2007, he was the delegate minister for equal opportunities in France under the then Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin. While holding political office, he worked to further social diversity at all levels and on this subject said: “I formed my cabinet in line with diversity; it resembles the France of today.”
LEÇONS COLONIALES. Novel. Delcourt 2012
BOUGER LA BANLIEUE: L'INTÉGRATION EN QUESTION. Nonfiction. Elytis 2012
LE GONE DU CHAÂBA. Novel. Editions du Seuil 2005
Available in English:
SHANTYTOWN KID. Translated by Naima Wolf. University of Nebraska Press. 2007
Michael Fehr studied at the Swiss Institute of Literature and the Bern School of Fine Arts. He is a storyteller and lives in Bern. From 2015 to 2016 he was part of the authors collective in the Lucerne Theater. He has published several books, yet his writing lives through his magical performances—often accompanied by music or percussion. Word and sound: this combination plays a special role with Michael Fehr as this severely visually impaired resident of Bern is also a renowned spoken word artist. He doesn’t write his texts, he draws them acoustically. As a result you don’t read Michael Fehr’s texts—they resound when they’re read.
In GLANZ UND SCHATTEN (Light and shadow), a collection of short stories that could also be called spoken texts, Michael Fehr uses succinct, carefully chosen words to transform short sentences or idiomatic expressions into scenes of great depth and vivid imagery. You never know where the next line will lead: will it bring something new, will it make what has already been said more precise, or will it lead off on a tangent? Fehr’s language is not new but it is distinctive. Sometimes a line is only one word long, sometimes it’s an entire phrase. The scraps of dialect embedded in Fehr’s texts are not meant ploys or calculation: Fehr draws no distinction between standard speech and dialect, as he explained in a panel at the Leipzig Book Fair. For him, there is only one language, the words and sounds that are at his disposal. From this fund, Fehr creates his literature.
GLANZ UND SCHATTEN. Short stories. Der gesunde Menschenversand 2017
SIMELIBERG. Novel. Der gesunde Menschenversand 2015
KURZ VOR DER ERLÖSUNG. Seventeen sentences. Der gesunde Menschenversand 2013
“I’m a rather melancholy person and so not well-suited to writing entertaining self-descriptions. I grew up in Basel and initially wanted to study theology but ended up studying sociology by mistake. Ibroke off my studies after a short time and earned my living as a journalist. Since 1974 I have been a freelance writer, living mostly in Bern and writing mostly novels. I feel at home in the image worlds of Caravaggio and in the oubliettes of the Marquis de Sade.” This is what Christoph Geiser wrote about himself on ‘Literapedia Bern’.
Clemens Klopstein summarizes Geiser’s most recent novel DA BEWEGT SICH NICHTS MEHR (Nothing’s Moving Anymore): “He just happened to be near three murders, he writes. Everything meanders around his mind, the murders, the murderers, the victims, the police officers, the media. As if in a washing machine the counterparties, the components, the details, the weapons, the shadows, the bars all spin around and are jumbled.”
The writer with his own desires and fantasies is entangled in the stories, which he tries to reconstruct using the internet and examining sources. In the process he gets snarled in the stories’ underbrush, as he once put it, because every word, every expression is an occasion for associations, wordplay, and puns that suddenly turn the apparently harmless report on the murders enigmatic.
DA BEWEGT SICH NICHTS MEHR. Fiction. Spiegelberg Verlag 2016
SCHÖNE BESCHERUNG. Novel. Offizin Verlag 2013
DER ANGLER DES ZUFALLS. Scenes. Hrsg. von Michael Schläfli. Männerschwarm Verlag 2009
Dieser Test ist noch in Bearbeitung.
Danke für Ihr Verständnis.
Nora Gomringer is a German-Swiss poet, performer, and winner of the 2015 Ingeborg Bachmann Prize. She lives in Bamberg where, since 2010, she has been director of Villa Concordia, the international artists’ residence. That she is one of the most important poets of her generation has been clear since the publication of her collection of poems KLIMAFORSCHUNG (Climate Research).
Nora Gomringer does not shy away from difficult or weighty topics. She owes her success as a poet to her virtuosic use of language and performances. Classically trained as a singer, she has great expressive resources and a high level of energy that carries her to the most remote linguistic reaches. When Nora Gomringer is on stage, her words speak, call, holler, hiss, whisper, sing, and celebrate.
Gomringer’s interest in pithy pronouncements, her sense of dramaturgy, and her delight in dramatic recitation date from her poetry slam phase between 2001 and 2006. She was a “cheerful slammer” she says, in any case her education and aims were too classical for her to stay in that scene permanently. Listening to Gomringer’s texts and other statements closely, one senses shades of disquiet and unhappiness. What is most distinctive about her is her deep trust in language and the self-evidence with which she sees literature and art as a natural part of life.
MORBUS. Book with Audio-CD. Illustrations by Reimar Limmer. Voland & Quist 2015
MEIN GEDICHT FRAGT NICHT LANGE RELOADED. Book with Audio-CD. Voland & Quist 2015
ACHDUJE. Spoken Texts. Der gesunde Menschenversand 2015
ICH BIN DOCH NICHT HIER, UM SIE ZU AMÜSIEREN. Writings and lectures. Voland & Quist 2015
Georgi Gospodinov was born in Yambol (Bulgaria) in 1968. He gained an international following with his first book NATURAL NOVEL (1999), which has been translated into twenty-three languages. He writes poetry, short stories, novels, and plays, works as an editor, and teaches creative writing. He refers to himself as a storyteller.
In Gospodinov’s writing, childhood is the most important phase of life, especially the first seven years, in which status, appearance, and origins play no role. “I love this anarchic time of childhood. The state comes later. In school, you’re taught to be proud that you’re Bulgarian or Swiss. But if you believe Bulgarians are the best, then others must be worse. That’s the stupid logic of nationalism.”
In his most recent short story collection, 8 MINUTEN UND 19 SEKUNDEN (8 Minutes and 19 Seconds), we meet backwoods villagers in the southern Balkans, a child adopted by a series of different fathers, a writer searching all over Lisbon for an unknown beauty, and numerous simple or even refined adulterers. A few of the stories look at the country’s Communist past and others look into mankind’s future.
Gospodinov playfully and elegantly portrays a world familiar from his novels—a world that often comically recognizable as ours but it follows the tricks and escapades of the imagination more often then the laws of reality.
8 MINUTEN UND 19 SEKUNDEN. Short stories. Translated from Bulgarian by Alexander Sitzmann. Droschl Verlag 2016
PHYSIK DER SCHWERMUT. Novel. Translated from Bulgarian by Alexander Sitzmann. Droschl Verlag 2014
KLEINES MORGENDLICHES VERBRECHEN. Poems. Translated from Bulgarian by Alexander Sitzmann u.a. Droschl Verlag 2010
Available in English:
NATURAL NOVEL, Translated by Zornitza Hristova. Dalkey Archive Press. 1999
AND OTHER STORIES, Translated by Alexis Levitin. Northwestern University Press. 2007
THE PHYSICS OF SORROW, Translated by Angela Rodel. Open Letter. 2015
THE STORY SMUGGLERS, Translated by Theodore Ushev. Sylph Editions. 2016
Rolf Hermann was born in Leuk in the canton of Valais in 1973 and works as a freelance writer in Bern. He paid for his studies in English and German literatures in Fribourg and Iowa by working as a shepherd in Simplon. Rolf Hermann is a member of the dialect combo ‘Die Gebirgspoeten’ (The Mountain Poets). He writes poetry, prose, performance texts, and radio plays, often in dialect. A number of his texts, which have been published in journals, anthologies, and collected into five volumes, have been translated into Arabic, English, French, Lithuanian, Polish, and Spanish.
In his most recent collection of short stories DAS LEBEN IST EIN STEILHANG (Life is a Precipice), an American student writing a dissertation on the Lötschental dialect comes to a surprising insight in a karaoke bar; a married couple who are addicted to television and amateur sheepherding rediscover the eroticism of kissing in a pasture; and in Sanctus Jubilate High School an odd little tribe of teachers waits out its pedagogical existence alternating between pointless continued education and cultural excursions to the weapons museum in Venice.
Rolf Hermann devotes himself to daily madness with impish humor. This new collection of stories is a multifaceted and extremely delightful book. And because the Walliser dialect is not exactly a world language, most of the linguistic precipices can be scaled twice: uff Wallisärtiitsch and in the German translation of Ursina Greuel and Rolf Hermann himself.
DAS LEBEN IST EIN STEILHANG. Short stories. Der gesunde Menschenversand 2017
KURZE CHRONIK EINER BRUCHLANDUNG. Poems. Verlag X-Time 2011
HOMMAGE AN DAS RÜCKENSCHWIMMEN IN DER NÄHE VON CHICAGO UND ANDERSWO. Poems. Verlag X-Time 2007
One of Switzerland’s most prominent writers, Franz Hohler was born in Biel in 1943 and lives in Zürich. He has written children’s books, novels, short stories and accounts of his hiking tours. He has also been a passionate mountain climber for many years.
“The mountains aren’t dead. They are alive.” These sentences conclude IMMER HOEHER (Higher and Higher), his collection of texts about hikes and climbs that took him up several four-thousanders and one five-thousander. These precise and poetic accounts are so vividly rendered, readers have the feeling they are climbing and hiking with Franz Hohler. His hiking accounts were also set to music by the alphornists Ulrich Haider and Michael Büttler.
The writer Urs Widmer emphasized Hohler’s stance towards reality—and his humor. Hohler’s greatest talent is his ability “to look the beast of reality in the eye ... and to remain cheerful.” We know Franz Hohler as a deeply human poet whose texts transform the world. Seemingly random perceptions yield meaning that accompanies us in our daily lives. At the same time, Franz Hohler is still the same old disturber of the peace whose farcical, touching, jolly, melancholy, and thoughtful stories continuously throw us off kilter in dull normality. “Stories,” Franz Hohler says, “are as much a part of our fundamental needs as food and drink.”
ALT? Poems. Luchterhand 2017
IMMER HÖHER – EIN KLANGBUCH. CD with alphornists Ulrich Haider und Michael Büttler. Zytglogge Verlag 2016
IMMER HÖHER. Reports. AS Verlag 2014
SPAZIERGÄNGE. Short stories. Luchterhand 2012
Born in Hamburg in 1983, Anja Kampmann studied at the University of Hamburg and the German Literary Institute in Leipzig. She lives in Berlin.
Her first collection of poems, PROBEN VON STEIN UND LICHT (Samples of Rock and Light), was published in Hanser Verlag’s prestigious Edition Lyrik Kabinett series.
‘I have never seen so much snow / never seen so many tracts of land so deeply frozen over / as cold and icily silent as the land that turns away from us’ begins one of Anja Kampmann’s explorations of a landscape. Many of her poems alternate between strangeness and familiarity, between nature’s inarticulateness and poetic expression. ‘It should skirt the horizon’: the horizon that circumscribes but also frames the world of each individual. In Anja Kampmann’s work we discover a fresh new voice in contemporary poetry.
‘Glass’, ‘limestone’, ‘ice’, ‘salt’, ‘sand’—are the sections in Anja Kampmann’s PROBEN VON STEIN UND LICHT and the poems in this collection reflect the characteristics of these materials. Kampmann looks through the window of the present and sees the sediment of days gone by. She plumbs the depths of the seas and measures the deepest strata of our world and our era—and does so in a voice of surprising clarity and ease. And yet, her depictions are not idyllic: the manmade is ever present in this debut collection, most prominently in unsettling ways.
PROBEN VON STEIN UND LICHT. Poems. Hanser Verlag 2016
Born in South Korea in 1977, Anna Kim moved to Germany as a young child. She studied in Vienna and now lives in Berlin and Vienna. How often literary critics complain that young writers have too few stories to tell, that their protagonists are bored, alienated, cynical pseudo-intellectuals who know nothing of real life and have nothing to say to the reader! Anna Kim proves those critics wrong with her three books. She engages with topical subjects—always carefully researched—and connects them to history and to her characters’ fates in exciting narratives.
In her most recent novel, DIE GROSSE HEIMKEHR (The Great Homecoming), a young woman in Seoul is searching for her family roots. In flashback we witness three young people fleeing a paramilitary squad serving the South Korean regime, itself on the brink of collapse. Although the trio’s dangerous and illegal entry into Japan succeeds, their past soon catches up with them. At once political and historical, this novel is also a thrilling spy novel about friendship, loyalty, and betrayal and the difficulties of life under a dictatorship. This book addresses the effects of the division of the Korean peninsula and the inception of today’s North Korea when Kim Il Sung’s regime was still in its infancy. And it asks the question: to whom does history belong—to the victors, who secure the archives and censor documents or to the individual who shares his experience of loss with other losers like himself?
DIE GROSSE HEIMKEHR. Novel. Suhrkamp 2017
DER SICHTBARE FEIND. DIE GEWALT DES ÖFFENTLICHEN UND DAS RECHT AUF PRIVATHEIT. Essay. Residenz Verlag 2015
ANATOMIE EINER NACHT. Roman. Suhrkamp 2012
Available in English:
FROZEN TIME. Translated by Mike Mitchell. Ariadne Press 2010
ANATOMY OF A NIGHT. Translated by Bradley Schmidt. Frisch & Co. 2010
Born in Göttingen in 1963, Chris Kraus is a film director, screenwriter, and novelist. His films (including ‘Scherbentanz’ and ‘Poll’) have won numerous awards. In his most recent novel, DAS KALTE BLUT (Cold Blood), he tells the story of two Baltic German brothers, Hub and Koja Solm from Riga, pursuing their careers, first in Nazi Germany then as spies in the young Federal Republic. The third protagonist in the novel is their adopted sister, Ev. She is at times the lover of one brother, at times of the other. Moral abysses yawn within this passionate ménage à trois and lead to political complications. The story of the Solms brothers is also the story of Germany in the 20th century, of the demise of an old world and the emergence of a sinister phoenix from its ashes.
The brothers are bound by genuine brotherly love. The older is radiantly extroverted, the younger more sensitive. Koja would have liked to lead an artist’s life, as his father had, but political upheavals and financial constraints have upset his plans. And so in the 1930s, he allows his older brother Hub to draw him in to Nazi movement in Latvia and later in Riga.
The brothers share a passionate love for their adoptive sister Ev. When Ev’s Jewish roots come to light, Koja, who has reached the rank of Obersturmbahnführer is able to save her from the extermination.
After the war and his return from a Soviet prisoner of war camp, Koja must reinvent himself and, as a double agent, he becomes ever more deeply entangled in lies and betrayal. Kraus has written a magnificent novel about the abysses of the 20th century.
DAS KALTE BLUT. Novel. Diogenes Verlag 2017
DIE BLUMEN VON GESTERN. Screenplay. Diogenes Verlag 2016
Born in Switzerland, Jonas Lüscher lives in Munich. After completing primary school teacher training in Bern and working for several years in the German film industry, he studied at the Munich School of Philosophy, before transferring to the ETH in Zürich. There he wrote his dissertation under Michael Hampe. Lüscher has been a freelance writer since leaving the ETH in 2014.
The protagonist of Lüscher’s first novel, KRAFT, is Richard Kraft, a professor of rhetoric at the University of Tübingen. He is unhappily married and in dire financial straights, but he may well have found a way out of his misery. His old friend István, now a professor at Stanford University, encourages him to participate in a science contest in Silicon Valley. In the style of Leibniz’s response to the theodicy question, he must offer an 18-minute defense of why creation is perfect as it is, yet can still be improved. The prize for the best answer is one million dollars.
Kraft would finally be able to buy his freedom from his demanding wife...
In this clever novel, Jonas Lüscher tells the funny, furious, and wicked story of a man facing the ruins of his life and a ruthless elite apparently no one and nothing can stop.
KRAFT. Roman. Verlag C.H. Beck 2017
FRÜHLING DER BARBAREN. Novelle. Verlag C.H. Beck 2013
Available in English:
BARBARIAN SPRING. Translated by Peter Lewis. Haus Publishing 2014
The daughter of a Bulgarian father and a German mother, Sybille Lewitscharoff was born in 1954. She studied theology in Berlin, where she now lives after extended stays in Buenos Aires and Paris.
Winner of the Büchner Prize in 2013, Lewitscharoff makes her fleet-footed, articulate way through heaven and hell in her new novel, DAS PFINGSTWUNDER (The Miracle of Pentecost). The main roles in this novel are played by the greatest comedy of world literature, 34 Dante scholars, and a narrator who works so diligently to keep his feet on the ground, that he can hardly bring himself to utter words like ‘miracle.’ Because Sybille Lewitscharoff unfolds the full landscape of the Commedia before us with endless love and passion, it is a great pleasure to accompany her.
This is no daring attempt to map the poetics of passion as a novel: the reader is meant to be unnerved, fulfilled, and elevated as the phenomenon of poetic levitation and emotion is depicted. The art of close reading and painstaking exegesis becomes a wild ride through the world of Western thought, an adventurous journey through the endless transformations a linguistic masterwork undergoes over the centuries. Sybille Lewitscharoff never falters in balancing between high- and low-brow tones, between demanding reading and diversion.
“Sybille Lewitscharoff’s DAS PFINGSTWUNDER is a blast that shakes contemporary literature plagued by realism.” (Björn Hayer, Der Spiegel)
DAS PFINGSTWUNDER. Novel. Suhrkamp 2016
VOM GUTEN, WAHREN UND SCHÖNEN: Frankfurter und Zürcher Poetikvorlesungen. Lectures. Suhrkamp 2012
KILLMOUSKY. Novel. Suhrkamp 2014
Available in English:
APOSTOLOFF. Translated by Katy Derbyshire. Seagull Books 2013
BLUMENBERG. Translated by Wieland Hoban. Seagull Books 2017
Nikola Madzirov was born in Strumica (Macedonia) in 1973. After completing his studies in Skopje, he published his first collection of poetry, ZAKLUČ ENI VO GRADOT (Trapped in the City), a fulminating literary debut that won him several awards and great recognition.
Already celebrated as “a beacon of Macedonian literature,” critics now deem him one of the most powerful voices in Europe. Madzirov’s poetry captivates readers with its lightness. His poems play with mundane objects and deconstruct their accepted meaning and routine associations in order to unsettle our habits of thought and open us up to new worlds of significance. According to the German writer Uljana Wolf, Madzirov’s “poems open onto a melancholy topography of unstable and temporary identities, whose memories, places, and non-places never coalesce into a single story.” His writing has been translated into forty languages.
Two films based on his poems have been shot in Zagreb and Sofia. In 2008, the American jazz composer Oliver Lake, who has also collaborated with Björk and Lou Reed, based one of his compositions on Madzirov’s poetry. Madzirov works for the Macedonian internet magazine Blesok, coordinates the international network Lyrikline, writes essays, and translates.
VERSETZTER STEIN. Poems. Translated from Macedonian by Alexander Sitzmann. Hanser Verlag 2011
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Danke für Ihr Verständnis.
Monika Maron was born in Berlin in 1941 and grew up in East Berlin. After graduating she worked as a molding cutter in an industrial company. After working as a director’s assistant in East German television for two years, she studied theater and art history, then worked as a journalist. In 1988, she left East Germany and moved to Hamburg. She returned to Berlin 1993, where she now lives.
Her 1981 debut novel, FLUGASCHE (Flight of Ashes), which was not allowed to appear in the GDR, received a great deal of attention in West Germany. She was one of the first to write a literary work dealing with environmental pollution, decrying the contamination through lignite surface mining in the DDR. In this novel, she also worked through her experiences in journalism.
While working on a new novel, Monika Maron began researching crows. Her initial curiosity soon turned to fascination. On walks through her district, she came across animals, lured them to her, reflected on them, and tracked them through the body literature. What began as research for her novel became a work of contemplation. In the melancholy narrative KRÄHENGEKRÄCHZ (The Cawing of the Crows), Monika Maron recounts her observations and thoughts that inform her reflection on the relationship between man and his fellow creatures. On a detour through the animal world, this introspective text considers the connections between man’s animal nature, love, age, and mortality.
KRÄHENGEKRÄCHZ. Narrative. S. Fischer Verlag 2016
ZWISCHENSPIEL. Novel. S. Fischer Verlag 2013
ACH GLÜCK. Novel. S. Fischer Verlag 2007
Available in English:
FLIGHT OF ASHES. Translated by David Newton Marinelli. Readers International 1986
ANIMAL TRISTE. Translated by Brigitte Goldstein. University of Nebraska Press 2000
SILENT CLOSE NO 6. Translated by David Newton Marinelli. Readers International 2004
Robert Menasse was born in Vienna in 1954 and studied German literature, philosophy, and political science in Vienna, Salzburg, and Messina.
Menasse taught for six years—first as Lecturer in Austrian Literature, then as guest professor at the Institute for Literary Theory in the University of São Paulo.
After his well-received essay, DER EUROPÄISCHE LANDBOTE (Enraged Citizens, European Peace and Democratic Deficits), he published a collection of thirteen lectures delivered between 2011 and 2014, in which he campaigned energetically for his vision of Europe. In HEIMAT IST DIE SCHÖNSTE UTOPIE. REDEN (WIR) ÜBER EUROPA (One’s Homeland is the Best Utopia. (Let’s) Talk About Europe) Menasse once again displays his keen intelligence and rhetorical brilliance. In contrast to many other political speeches, one always has the feeling when listening to Menasse’s talks that he knows what he’s talking about. His sentences deliver intellectual substance in considerable doses. He offers ideas and a vision, supported by comprehensible, logically consist arguments, accompanied by concrete suggestion to help make this vision real.
Menasse offers impetus for further developing the European project. This Austrian literary utopian follows in the footsteps of Jürgen Habermas and Hans Magnus Enzensberger.
“He is an Enlightenment philosopher of the old school. He makes no allowances, especially not for the enlightened.” (From the jury statement for the Heinrich Mann Prize 2013.)
Ten years after his novel DON JUAN DE LA MANCHA ODER DIE ERZIEHUNG DER LUST (Don Juan de la Mancha or an Education in Pleasure), we now have his great novel about Europe DAS ENDE DER EWIGKEIT (The End of Eternity).
DAS ENDE DER EWIGKEIT. Novel. Suhrkamp Verlag 2017
HEIMAT IST DIE SCHÖNSTE UTOPIE. REDEN (WIR) ÜBER EUROPA. Lectures. Suhrkamp Verlag 2014
DER EUROPÄISCHE LANDBOTE, Die Wut der Bürger und der Friede Europas oder Warum die geschenkte Demokratie einer erkämpften weichen muss. Nonfiction. Zsolnay 2012
Available in English:
ENRAGED CITIZENS, EUROPEAN PEACE AND DEMOCRATIC DEFICITS: OR WHY THE DEMOCRACY GIVEN TO US MUST BECOME ONE WE FIGHT FOR. Translated by Craig Decker. Seagull Books 2016
Lina Meruane is one of the most prominent female voices of contemporary Chilean literature. Born in 1970 in Santiago de Chile, she has lived in New York since 2000 and teaches at New York University. She is the founder and director of the New York based independent publishing house Brutas Editoras. Her first book, a collection of short stories entitled LAS INFANTAS, appeared in 1998. Since then her oeuvre has grown to include numerous works of fiction, essays, and anthologies.
Her third novel, SANGRE EN EL OJO, translated into English as SEEING RED, opens with a medical emergency: a young woman at a party suffers a hemorrhage in her eye. She is convinced she will go blind. Fearing the loss of her sight, she decides to relocate. In this novel sight becomes a metaphor for existence—but also for language and therefore for writing as an act of potential transformation. The protagonist not only asks the question ‘Who am I?’ on a physical level, but on a cultural level as well. Identity is examined at a junction: at the intersection of sight and blindness, in other words, of knowledge and ignorance and of one’s origins and individuality. The novel—much more than an account of a woman’s indignation—consists of a breathless cascade of brief chapters in which a first person narrator, literally beside herself, is sometimes unable to speak. Lina Meruane’s elaborate, artistic prose is razor-sharp, sometimes cutting in its precision but also as permeable and porous as the world she describes.
SANGRE EN EL OJO. Novel. Caballo de Troya 2012
FRUTA PODRIDA. Novel. Fondo de Cultura Economica 2007
PÓSTUMA. Novel. Planeta 2000
CERCADA. Novel. Editorial Cuarto Propio 2000
Available in English:
SEEING RED. Translated by Megan McDowell. Deep Vellum Publishing 2016
Quentin Mouron is a Swiss writer with Canadian roots. He was born in Lausanne in 1989 and grew up in Quebec. His five novels quickly established him in the first rank of young writers in Romandy and France.
In his most recent novel, NOTRE-DAME-DE-LA-MERCI, Mouron describes the harsh, emotionally stifled world of three young adults in the Canadian province of the same name. Mouron’s sharply etched but supple depiction of his characters—whom we only follow over the course of one icy winter’s day—is woven with artful secretiveness. These young adults must find their place in frigid surroundings steeped in violence and hopelessness. Jean’s father’s suicide sets them off on a search for happiness in a world screaming with injustice. Every impulse, however lovingly initiated, ends in violence.
Quentin Mouron’s language is flinty, sharp-edged, and without any desire to please. It is addictive. He is able to keep the weedy plant of tenderness alive in the face of aggression, betrayed love, and social depression. This novel is fantastic cinema over barely one hundred pages.
“Quentin Mouron’s novel is a brilliant literary showpiece and a hard nut to boot.” (Roman Bucheli, Die Neue Zürcher Zeitung)
NOTRE-DAME-DE-LA-MERCI. Novel. Aus dem Französischen von Holger Fock und Sabine Müller. bilgerverlag 2016
L'ÂGE DE L'HÉROÏNE. Novel. Editions de la Grande Ourse 2016
TROIS GOUTTES DE SANG ET UN NUAGE DE COKE. Novel. Editions de la Grande Ourse 2015
Available in English:
THREE DROPS OF BLOOD AND A CLOUD OF COCAINE. Translated by W. Donald Wilson. Bitter Lemon Press 2017
Sharon Dodua Otoo
Born in London in 1972, Sharon Dodua Otoo grew up in a neighborhood in which hers was the only Black family among Whites. For a long time, she could find no way to express this experience of alienation. Her parents were unable to help because they were adults when they left the Ghanian city of Accra for England.
She lived and studied in London until she moved to Berlin at the age of 34 and has now published a work in German for the first time and it was awarded the 2016 Ingeborg Bachmann Prize—a sensation. The prize-winning text, HERR GRÖTTRUP SETZT SICH HIN (Mr. Gröttrup Sits Down) is not only a masterful description of German punctuality using a breakfast egg timed to the second as an example, but also a psychologically shrewd, finely tuned parody of an long-established marriage, in this case that of the engineer and rocket scientist Helmut Göttrup. Sharon Dodua Otoo’s observations are refined, ambiguous, and witty. The mother of four sons, Sharon Dodua Otoo is a politically engaged woman who speaks out against racism in Germany and in England and has been active with the Initiative for Black People in Germany.
In her 2012 novella, THE THINGS I AM THINKING WHILE SMILING POLITELY..., Sharon Dodua Otoo recounts the very normal collapse of a marriage between an African woman and a German man and her problems with their growing children. Most of all, however, the book describes the sense of being foreign, the experience of coming from another culture with another language and different habits and rituals.
SYNCHRONICITY. Novel. Translated from English Mirjam Nuenning. edition assemblage 2014
DIE DINGE, DIE ICH DENKE, WÄHREND ICH HÖFLICH LÄCHLE... Novella. Translated from English by Mirjam Nuenning. edition assemblage 2013
Tim Parks was born in Manchester. He grew up in London and studied at the University of Cambridge and at Harvard University. He has lived in Italy since 1981. His novels and essays have won high praise and numerous prizes. Tim Parks teaches literary translation at the University of Milan and writes for The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. His translations include works by Alberto Moravia, Italo Calvino, Roberto Calasso, Antonio Tabbuchi, and Niccolo Machiavelli.
His most recent book, THOMAS AND MARY, is a love story in reverse. Thomas and Mary have been married thirty years. They have two children, a dog, and a house in the suburbs. But after years of drifting apart, they finally come to a decision. Tim Parks recounts what happens when devotion has given way to dog walking, separate bed times, and tensions over who left the refrigerator door open or did not clear the table. Lurching from comedy to tragedy, via dependence, cold re-examination, tenderness and betrayal, this wonderfully light-footed novel is a fiercely intimate chronicle of marriage as many readers have no doubt experienced it. Tim Parks movingly portrays how the reverberations of pain and loss spread through the entire family when a couple decides that their relationship is over.
THOMAS AND MARY. Novel. Harvill Secker 2016
WHERE I’M READING FROM: The Changing World of Books. Essays. Harvill Secker 2014
PAINTING DEATH: Duckworth and the Italian Girls. Novel. Arcade Publishing 2015
Marie-Jeanne Urech was born in Lausanne in 1976. She studied sociology and anthropology in Lausanne and received a degree from the London Film School in 2001. After producing three documentary films, Marie-Jeann Urech turned to writing fiction. She currently works as a freelance writer in Lausanne. Marie-Jeanne Urech is notable above all for her relaxed, humorous, and profound treatment of serious themes in all her works.
Her most recent book to appear in German translation, SCHNITZ (Night Valets), a comic, poetic novel is the fantastic, even surreal story of a family that just barely keeps their heads above water. Each member of the household tries in his or her own, often abstruse way to serve a trump card to an increasingly expensive and threatening world. The story is based on Marie-Jeanne Urech’s primarily visual experience of the American subprime crisis in the city of Cleveland: factory closings, empty streets and houses, looting. Each member of the Woe family has a different, often adventurous strategy to evade notification by the all-powerful commission agent. This novel is populated with fanciful, fairy-tale-like characters—like the aria singer who serves slices of pastry or schnitz—all of whom conjure up new colors and aspects to the desolate worries of daily life.
SCHNITZ. Novel. Aus dem Französischen von Liz Künzli. bilgerverlag 2017
MALAX. Novel. Hélice Hélas Editeur 2016
REQUISITEN FÜR DAS PARADIES. Novel. Aus dem Französischen von Claudia Steinitz. bilgerverlag 2013
David van Reybrouck
Dieser Test ist noch in Bearbeitung.
Danke für Ihr Verständnis.
Born in 1984, Anna Weidenholzer studied comparative literature in Vienna and Wrocław (Poland). She lives and works as a writer and journalist in Vienna. She has garnered much attention from her very first book, the collection of short stories DER PLATZ DES HUNDES (The Dog’s Place). Anna Weidenholzer puts her readers under a very distinctive spell. Written in beautiful and precisely worded language, her descriptions are dense and heavy with atmosphere. Her third book, WESHALB DIE HERREN SEESTERNE TRAGEN (Why the Men are Wearing Starfishes), is a subtle parable about the creeping unhappiness that intrudes into so many people’s lives without really being tangible or leaving them able to pinpoint when it first began.
Karl, a retired teacher, takes off one day on a mission to find out what happiness is. With a questionnaire meant to help him measure the ‘Gross National Happiness’ in his suitcase, this self-proclaimed researcher stops at a snowless ski resort and in order to ask the residents about their levels of satisfaction with their lives. Karl begins his research, punctuated by conflict-laden telephone calls with his wife. Soon his journey begins to look like an escape and he becomes a subject for others to study.
WHY THE MEN ARE WEARING STARFISH is a quiet novel, a gentle nod to friendship and loneliness. Weidenholzer does not indulge in scorn. She plays with chronology like a gifted director. She anticipates: first she presents the solution then only much later does she present the question.
WESHALB DIE HERREN SEESTERNE TRAGEN. Novel. Matthes und Seitz 2016
DER WINTER TUT DEN FISCHEN GUT. Novel. dtv 2015
DER PLATZ DES HUNDES. Short stories. Mitter Verlag 2010
Born in 1980 in Meerbush, Germany, Levin Westermann studied at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main and at the Swiss Literary Institute in Biel, where he now lives.
Previously unnoticed on the literary scene, he emerged suddenly onto the resonant and still much too neglected stage of contemporary poetry.
Levin Westermann’s first collection of poetry, UNBEKANNT VORZOGEN (Preferred Unknown), was published in Berlin in 2012. His second volume of poetry, 3511 ZWETAJEWA (3511 Tsvetaeva), appeared this year.
In 3511 TSVETAEVA, Achilles races through the night at 130 kmh without brake lights or care. The Trojan War is still raging. As the Greek hero—still covered in blood since he had no time to shower—gives a press conference twenty minutes before the end of the battle and quotes Simone Weil, Westermann composes a cantata with a smoking pen out of infinitesimally fine intervals of reflection. At one moment we’re traveling with Chekhov, and the next we’re accompanying the poet under the emblem of the asteroid that is becoming planet 3511 Tsvetaeva on a journey through Tsvetaeva’s life. Westermann brings letters, pictures, relationships to the verse: “She believes in the good in man, in / the fact that he who does good also receives it.” In the end, an entire cosmos will go under.
He writes poems “in which an ‘I’ seems to be preparing for its own demise.” (Michael Braun)
3511 ZWETAJEWA. Poems. Matthes und Seitz 2017
UNBEKANNT VERZOGEN. Poems. luxbooks 2012
The son of an American father and an Austrian mother, John Wray was born in Washington, D.C. in 1971. He studied in the United States and in Vienna and now lives in Brooklyn as a freelance writer.
His fourth novel, THE LOST TIME ACCIDENTS, tells the story of an amateur physicist who wanted to compete with Albert Einstein. This complex, allusive, and poignant work is filled with surprising ideas and written in an extraordinarily fine style.
John Wray maintains an ironic distance to his characters, loves excess, and takes his readers to surreal worlds. Even his earliest books seemed to come from the pen of a European author—and not just because of his topics or settings. While many American authors strive for concision, Wray prefers excessive, temperamental language. He tells the story of an unusual family that has been researching time over generations and has brought another, ‘surreal’ world into being.
John Wray is a master of the ‘pop-cultural time travel novel.’ THE LOST TIME ACCIDENTS contains not only seven years of work, but also countless allusions to Augustine, Plotinus, Proust, Mann’s Buddenbrooks, relativity theory, scientology, Wittgentstein, Heisenberg, Klimt and Joan Didion, among others. It is amazing how this author brings wit and pacing to his account of grotesque moments, unusual characters and astounding ideas, without losing sight of the whole.
THE LOST TIME ACCIDENTS. Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2016
LOWBOY. Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2009
THE RIGHT HAND OF SLEEP. Novel. Alfred A. Knopf 2001
Born in California in 1974, Jeffrey Yang is a poet, translator from Chinese, and an editor for two publishing houses. He was awarded a PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for his first volume of poetry. Yang lives in Beacon, New York.
Jeffrey Yang’s poetry is dedicated on the one hand to the visible, to facts, and to objects, and yet can also be called highly contemplative. In AN AQUARIUM, Yang looks at the world from the sea. This volume consists of alphabetically organized maritime poems, that are riddled with encyclopedic knowledge of dolphins and flounders, of lobsters and clams, of seaweed and squid, but also engaged with aspects of religion and philosophy, culture and science.
In ‘Yennocott’—the American Indian language spoken on Long Island—Jeffrey Yang plumbs the depths of the centuries and years, but this time in the form of a long poem that fits into a long-established American tradition. This arose from Yang’s fundamental interest as the poet of the intersection of history and geography. He wrests a lyrical note from the eternal return of historical conquests by asking in his poem: how and where does knowledge spread? How does the way we read history change under the aspect of cultural exchange? There is reason to have great expectations for all the works to come from the pen of the learned poet Jeffrey Yang.
AN AQUARIUM. Poems. Graywolf Press 2008
VANISHING-LINE. Poems. Graywolf Press 2011
Liao Yiwu was born in 1958 in the Sichuan Province. In the 1980s, he became one of China’s most important avant-garde poets. He published a large number of his works in unofficial underground anthologies. As his reputation grew, Liao Yiwu was able to publish more frequently in official literary journals as well. He became the target of a political campaign after the publication in 1987 of his wide-ranging epic SI CHENG (City of Death), in which he criticized the Cultural Revolution. After Liao Yiwu finally composed poems in which he portrayed the crackdown on the democratic movement following the Tiananmen Square Massacre, he was imprisoned for several years and severely mistreated. In 2011, he managed to flee to Germany via Vietnam. He has lived in exile in Berlin since then. Liao Yiwu is a founding member of the Academy of the Arts of the World in Cologne since 2012.
Liao Yiwu has been awarded a number of literature and human rights awards including the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2012.
In his first novel, DIE WIEDERGEBURT DER AMEISEN (Reincarnation of the Ants), which took Karin Belz three years to translate into German, Liao Yiwu poetically and enigmatically interweaves the story of his family with that of China, his homeland that rejected him. Liao Yiwu sat in prison, trapped by totalitarian madness, suffering torture and humiliation because of his poetry. The only thing that helped him survive the hell of incarceration was his favorite book, the I Ching. DIE WIEDERGEBURT DER AMEISEN is a powerful, devastating novel in which a great Chinese writer has found an overwhelming new voice.
Available in English:
THE CORPSE WALKER: REAL LIFE STORIES, CHINA FROM THE BOTTOM UP. Translated by Wenguang Huang with foreword by Philip Gourevitch. Pantheon 2008
FOR A SONG AND ONE HUNDRED SONGS: A POET’S JOURNEY THROUGH A CHINESE PRISON. Translated by Wenguang Huang with foreword by Herta Müller. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
Kathy Zarnegin was born in Teheran and moved to Switzerland when she was 15 years old. She is a poet, essayist, translator from Persian, philosopher, and has a degree in literary studies. In addition, she is a psychoanalyst, co-founder of the Lacan Seminar Zürich, and one of the organizers of the Basel International Poetry Festival.
In her first novel, CHAYA, Kathy Zernagin tell the story of a woman from Iran who was powerfully drawn to the West, to Europe, even as a girl. At fourteen, her dream comes true, she leaves her family and travels alone to Switzerland, to Basel, where she can stay with distant relatives. But before she leaves her parents’ care, we learn a bit from the clear-eyed narrator about the world she grew up in.
We learn in particular about her neighbor, the self-confident ‘Aunt’ Farah who has chosen to live independently as a single woman, which in Teheran in the 1970s brings only difficulties. Farah is erudite and eloquent and has a friend, which no one seems to notice, an Armenian named Georges. “Never say no to love!” Farah whispers to the young narrator. The young woman can’t yet appreciate what that sentence means, but she does notice the love of freedom that underlies it. Kathy Zernegin’s warm-hearted and witty prose debut paints the portrait of a strong, unconventional woman whose urge for freedom cannot be stopped.
CHAYA. Novel. weissbooks 2017
Born in Eastern Ukraine in 1974, Serhiy Zhadan studied German language and literature, received his doctorate in Ukrainian Futurism and has been one of the most prominent younger figures on the Ukrainian literary scene since 1991. He published his first book when he was 17 years old and went on to write twelve collections of poetry and seven works in prose. He was awarded the Jan Michalski Prize and the Brücke Berlin Prize in 2014 for VOROSHILOVGRAD.
“It’s awful to see history being made.” Since the summer of 2014, Serhiy Zhadan has been recording his experiences in the Eastern Ukrainian war zone. He writes lyrical snapshots that reveal the essential, very short stories about people who suddenly find themselves on two enemy sides or who no longer know where they belong or what will become of them. In just a few lines he can convey a sense of millions of individual tragedies. These laconic verses reveal the influence of Brecht’s poetry, which Zhadan has been translating since the Ukrainian Revolution. It’s not the statistics of fallen soldiers that count, but one’s willingness to listen to the other and to ask about his memories. Zhadan had dedicated himself to this task with passion and expressive literary means.
Suhrkamp Verlag has published his poems, song lyrics, and diary entries, in which Zhadan struggles to come to terms with the war and does so in a way that helps each individual with his own struggle. Every person has their own history and their own truth, their own particular development and biography.
Available in English:
VOROSHILOVGRAD. Novel. Translated by Reilly Costigan-Humes and Isaac Wheeler. Deep Vellum Press 2016
DEPECHE MODE. Novel. Translated by Myroslav Shkandrij. Glagoslav Publications 2013