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photo: Birgit Kinder, "Test the Best," Berlin Wall public mural, originally painted 1989, restored 1999
Twenty Years After: Germany Then and Now ge
The November Issue
On the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, this month's contributors address the events and aftermath of that transformative time in Germany. Whether witnessing the collapse of Communism firsthand or growing up in its shadow, natives and more recent arrivals explore life before and after reunification. See how Kathrin Aehnlich, Stefan Heym, Yadé Kara, Uwe Kolbe, Günter Kunert, Robert Menasse, Uwe Mengel, Thomas Pletzinger, and Feridun Zaimoglu produce a nuanced portrait of a country coming to terms with its history. We also salute Herta Müller's Nobel with an extract from her new novel Atemschaukel. And we hope you'll join us in celebrating the publication of our new print anthology, The Wall in My Head: Words and Images from the Fall of the Iron Curtain. We thank Amazon.com for its generous support for this issue.
On Packing In 1945, Herta Müller's teen is deported to Ukraine Translated by Donal McLaughlin Shocked that, in the depths of winter, I was to be taken who-knows-where by the Russians, everyone wanted to give me something that would be useful, maybe, even if it didn't help. Because nothing on earth could help. It was irrevocable. more>>
Three Times Germany Writer/director Uwe Mengel's monologues of East and West Translated by Uwe Mengel The "German Problem." Well, you have to put that problem in a historical context. more>>>
Capoeira with Heckler & Koch Thomas Pletzinger's writer hits the ground running in Brazil Translated by Ross Benjamin My bag in the back of the truck, the Antarctica bottles open, and we're off. David at the wheel of the red pickup, Felix in an open shirt and panama hat, me with the twenty-four-hour flight in my bones. more>>> Eternal Youth Robert Menasse's 89er spends his wedding night watching the Wall come down Translated by Ross Benjamin Then I really learned what history is. Then I experienced, with the liberation of people from Stalinism, my own liberation. The overturning of thought, of knowledge, of reality in my conscious lifetime. What else is a historic event if not that? more>>>.
From Everyone Dies, Even the Paddlefish Kathrin Aehnlich on memories of a socialist kindergarten Translated by Edna McCown The new boy with the big ears stood in the cold neon light of the cloakroom, right in the middle of the room, and his school slippers seemed to be stuck to the green linoleum. Take off your pants, Aunt Edeltraut said. more>>>The Knowledge Holder Doesn't Choke on Cleverness Feridun Zaimoglu reads at a high school, then listens to the Turkish cleaning woman Translated by Kristin Dickinson, Priscilla Layne, and Robin Ellis Just listen to them talk about me: She's a simple woman, she's a very diligent worker, she understands a little German, you just have to speak slowly to her. All their not nice claims about me. more>>> Selam Berlin Yadé Kara's Turkish boy longs to become a Berliner Translated by Tim Mohr My name is Hasan Kazan. In Berlin some people call me Hansi though my parents gave me the name Hasan Selim Khan. They left Istanbul years ago and moved to West Berlin, the Kreuzberg district. That's where I was born. more>>>To Awaken with Her Uwe Kolbegreets the day Translated by Anne Posten To begin days, days full and ripe . . . more>>>
Elsewhere this month, Stefan Heym's Stasi drone writes his own secret file, and Günter Kunertrecalls everyday life in East Germany.
Bookshelf New Reviews
The Summer of the Ubume by Natsuhiki Kyogoku Translated from the Japanese by Alexander O. Smith and Elye J. Alexander Vertical, Inc., 2009
Reviewed by Chris Carroll The Summer of the Ubume unfolds in a country trying desperately to put its past behind it. more>>>
Running Away by Jean Philippe Toussaint Translated from the French by Matthew B. Smith Dalkey Archive Press, 2009
Reviewed by Derik Badman Toussaint retains only the feelings of the genre: paranoia, the sense of the world working against you, the chance that death could happen at any moment.more>>>
Upcoming Events The Wall in Our Heads: The 2009 Words without Borders Fundraiser Monday, November 9, 2009 at the Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street, New York, NY 10021
To support Words without Borders in bringing literary voices from around the world into English, we will be hosting a fundraiser in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and in celebration of the release of our newest anthology, The Wall in My Head. Paul Holdengräber, Director of Public Programs at the NYPL, will host a program of readings by Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, and Peter Schneider. After a Central and Eastern European dinner,Dean Wareham (musician, and former frontman of the bands Galaxie 500 and Luna) will DJ. For details and tickets click here.
The Wall in my Head Reading and Q&A Idlewild Books, 12 W. 19th Street, New York, NY November 10, 2009 7 p.m.
Words without Borders will host a short reading followed by a discussion and Q&A, featuring a group of writers from its new anthology The Wall in My Head and from its November issue on German writing from the years after 1989. The readers will include Dorota Maslowska(Poland), the author of Snow White and Russian Red, and winner of the Nike prize; Dan Sociu (Romania), the author of Urbancholia; Masha Gessen (Russia), author of Ester and Ruzya: How my Grandmothers Survived Hitler's War and Stalin's Peace; and Kathrin Aehnlich(Germany), author of Alle Sterben, auch Die Löffelstöre. The event will be moderated by Eliot Borenstein, Chair of the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University, and the author of Overkill: Sex and Violence in Contemporary Russian Popular Culture. The panelists will discuss their contributions to the WWB anthology and issue, the relevance of the events of 1989 to today's world, the role of literature and culture in bringing down the Iron Curtain, and what the fall of the Wall has meant for writers in the former Eastern Bloc.
This event is cosponsored by Open Letter Books, the Polish Cultural Institute in New York, the Romanian Cultural Institute New York, the German Book Office, and the Goethe-Institut New York.
The Evolution of Sci-Fi and Fantasy: a panel with Musharraf Ali Farooqi, Michael Kandel, and N.K. Jemisin Presented in collaboration with The Center for Fiction Tuesday, December 1st at 7pm 17 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017 Followed by a wine reception
Musharraf Ali Farooqi is an author and the translator of the seminal Indo-Islamic epic The Adventures Of Amir Hamza. His most recent work is his critically acclaimed translation of the first book of the 24-volume Hoshruba, the world's first magical fantasy epic.
Michael Kandel has translated Polish writer Stanislaw Lem for Harcourt. He has written science fiction, short stories, and a few novels and is presently an editor at the Modern Language Association. He is putting together an anthology of short stories and novellas entitled A Polish Book of Monsters.
N.K. Jemisin is a speculative fiction writer currently living in New York City. Her first novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, is forthcoming in February 2010 from Orbit Books.
Hemispheres magazine, the inflight publication of United Airlines, has partnered with Words without Borders to offer our readers a taste of world literature. We are currently looking for translated short stories of approximately 500 words in length for our monthly fiction page. Due to our readership, we cannot print stories with sexual themes, violence, disturbing scenes or obscenities. Nor can we appear to promote a particular religious or political point of view. Stories will be published in English. Submit translations email@example.com.
Call for Syllabi
Words without Borders would like to hear from high school teachers and university professors who are using the WWB Web site and/or anthologies in the classroom. As part of the expansion of our education initiatives we'd like to build a syllabi library for other educators to use as a reference and are looking for contributions. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteers Needed Words without Borders needs a skilled videographer in New York City to help us record and edit video of events and interviews with authors and translators. We would normally be recording once or twice a month, and videos are posted on wordswithoutborders.org, YouTube, and Facebook. This is an unpaid, volunteer position. Interested applicants should email@example.com.
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