on attending the leipzig book fair

day-by-day (not) – 2

Book Fair poster (photo: donal)

Here, finally, it is: part 2 of my report. With grateful thanks to Ana Jasmina Oseban and Jamie Searle for additional photo material – in both parts.


With my new group – organisers, Elisabeth Pyroth & Penny Black from Goethe-London & Esther Ottens (Amsterdam) Rachel McNicholl (Dublin), Ilona Nykiri (Helsinki), Anne Maarit Mäkelä (Helsinki / Berlin), Lyn Marven (London/ Liverpool), Jamie Lee Searle (London), Ute Neumann (Oslo) & Linda Östergaard (Stockholm) – it’s off to the Hauptbahnhof with all our luggage first – to be ready for the train to Leipzig late afternoon. That done, we can relax and take a train to Wannsee.

We arrive early. Soon, these nine – Goethe Nordwest Europa – are meeting the sixty Böse Schafe. As the first session commences, Jürgen Becker again displays his phenomenal memory for names, faces & backgrounds as he introduces the newcomers to the group that’s been here since Sunday.

Word has it that Lutz Seiler was AMAZING yesterday. As was Arno Geiger.

That first session: on Foreign Rights. Or ‘Rights’, full stop. You’d have been forgiven for expecting something dry, technical. In fact, the session is electric. Petra Hardt (Suhrkamp) kicks off. She’s wanted to do this from the age of three, she tells us. Since a brilliant teacher first mentioned how books are made to her. Friederike Barakat (Hanser) has her own tale to tell. How she came to arrive at this role. She’s asked to tell us about the day Herta got the Nobel. The second call was from Petra Hardt, she tells us: ‘Schätzchen, ruf deine Familie an und melde dich für drei Wochen ab!’ Seventy of us could have listened to these two all day! Rights & contracts, maybe. What was evident above all, however, was a passion for literature, a commitment to authors and books. As the session ended, the Nordwest Europa Ten (me included) at least had the consolation of having our own meeting with Petra, at Suhrkamp, four hours later.

Before lunch: Dirk Kurbojuweit on being both a journalist and a successful novelist. On writing about politics for Der Spiegel – and creating a world of politics in his novel Nicht die ganze Wahrheit – something he’d not intended to do. On always writing, regardless of where he might be. Around Merkel, politicking, one minute. In his fictional world, the next.

Lunch. – In less than ten minutes, in my case.

Then it’s back into town to visit Suhrkamp.

The price: missing a talk by fellow translator Christian Hansen, shortlisted for the Leipzig Translation Prize for his version of 2666.

Suhrkamp: an invaluable visit. A big name in publishing, maybe. Big hearts at the table. Petra Hardt again. And her younger colleagues, Nora Mercurio and Christoph Hassenzahl – the oh-so-important Nachwuchs. The authors, the books, clearly count. The relationship between author and publisher. The relationship between author and translator. The goal of keeping titles in print – in all the different markets. The successes that – sometimes – don’t get translated. Ralf Rothmann, a prime example – though Young Light is on its way (Seagull). The hopes that were set on Lewitscharoff’s Apostoloff last year. The fingers that were twiddled as Herta & her Nobel monopolised Frankfurt.

Hats off to Suhrkamp – they’d done their homework. Herr McLaughlin who translated Anna Katharina Hahn for HALMA last autumn was part of our group, Nora’d informed Petra in advance. Attention to detail, or what?

The current catalogue attracts further admiration. Christa Wolf’s new book, Stadt der Engel oder The Overcoat of Dr Freud not novel, not autobiography, not any traditional genre – the book focuses on Wolf in Los Angeles. Max Frisch, Tagebuch 3. Ingeborg Bachmann’s Kriegstagebuch. Additions to the complete works of Koeppen, Bernhard and Sachs. Not to mention the back-list of Joyce, Brecht, Johnson, Beckett – to name but a few.

The train to Leipzig. Memories of it taking three hours in April 1990, my arrival just after midnight. The just-over-an-hour flies past – in conversation with Penny from Goethe-London.

Strangely choked as I disembark and recognise almost nothing. The stone structure must surely be the same, still. Shop signs, though, – and a shopping mall – ambush my return.

The ten-minute walk to the hotel, weighed down by new books. Again, recognising nothing. What was maybe a university building on the square in front of the hotel. The tower with mdr now at the top. In the past, I recall, I’d have reached this square from that angle.

Opening concert? Or the reception an hour later? That is the question. Those fit enough hit the Gewandhaus. I, for one, prefer to relax; have a wash, and change my clothes.

opening concert (photo: jamie)

The reception: all that ‘selling’, I guess, happening behind me. Our group – at a quiet table – bonding. Late evening, I’m asked to talk about my own short stories. Ilona – who asked at breakfast – insists.

Late night: first proper access to email.

An article about the LCB in the Boersenblatt already. Jürgen has sent the link. An attentive Goethe-Glasgow rep in three of the five photos.

The proofs of New Swiss Writing not yet in my mailbox. Die lange Korrekturnacht is postponed.


messegelaende (photo: donal)

A first go at the Book Fair. The tram trip taking longer than I remember from 1990. (A new Messe-gelände, it seems.)


The landmarks that have been mentioned so often in passing: the Glass Hall; the Congress Center; the Blue Sofa; the other halls, off the glass one.

The welcoming committee of four colourful lions, either side of the entrance. The pond outside that people appear to walk through.

The poster I know from the programme cover: a guy carrying a stack of maybe two dozen books, the titles, their spines, close to his chest. A blue sky, some white clouds behind him. Leipzig below.

book fair at a glance (photo: ana)

Elisabeth Pyroth takes us in and up some stairs, points out the different sections. Flags up the first day’s highlights. The media section where readings and interviews happen. The prize-giving ceremony at four being the climax: the prizes for Belletristik, Sachbuch/Essayistik, and Translation.

First stop for me: interviews with the five short-listed novelists. The Leipzig liest Forum. Hall 4, Stand D113 – we’ll get used to such coordinates (maybe). Jan Faktor, Helene Hegemann, Georg Klein, Lutz Seiler, Anne Weber. Rumour has it – es wird gemunkelt – it will be Klein. Lutz Seiler was amazing at the LCB, though.

Sixteen- or is it now seventeen-year-old Hegemann gets all the initial attention. The plagiarism scandal. Her long hair, in side view, conceals all but the point of her nose. Faktor doesn’t interview well. Hegemann turns on the interviewer. Seiler speaks brilliantly, The poetic touch to Klein’s discourse is putting me off his book. Weber – bilingual; more ‘temperamentvoll’ in French than in German, she is told – knows what she is doing.

I’m rooting for Seiler.

Next stop – a Clemens Meyer interview. Hall 3, C501, the ARD TV-Forum. Meyer’s pneumatic-drill-style delivery – the opposite of what I expected. Gewalten is the book he’s promoting. A diary of 2009.

The word Literaturprolet keeps recurring. I’m taken back to the early 1980s in Scotland. Battles long since fought by Leonard & Kelman. I have to remind myself that the battle’s been fought in Germany, too. Though you wouldn’t know from this. Why is Literatur-Prolet every fifth word? Meyer, in any case, has his audience. They applaud, laugh, queue to get books signed.

glashalle (photo: jamie)

A quick lunch. An initial stroll round. The stands in the various halls. Diogenes. Lichtungen – the Austrian magazine – with its very own corner. One vanity publisher (I guess) – screenplays, tellingly, now part of the remit – on another prime corner. Its wannabes reading at the crowd spilling past towards the toilets.

Kids on school trips to all this, too.

Many’s a one in costume.

Some students dodgily military.

Others plain silly.

The shortlisted translators are on at one – but I get the hall wrong. Arno Geiger at the 3sat-Forum more than makes up for it. The snippet he reads from the 368 pages of Alles über Sally leaves you longing to read the book.

A slight panic when my jacket can’t be found in the cloakroom. My passport, my mobile, I took with me. The camera, I was hoping to use now. Compliments for my German when all I actually want is my jacket! A do-I-look-bovvered reaction when, for twenty long minutes, they cannot find it.

terezia mora reads (photo: donal)

On the ARTE stand, Terézia Mora reads at three. Der einzige Mann auf dem Kontinent. She reminds me of Janice Galloway. I’m hooked, I realise, and manage to listen – despite cacophonous noise round about me.

These thirty-minute blasts are great. Long enough to be meaningful. Short enough for interest not to fade. Does the London Book Fair have readings and broadcasts like this? I ask my London colleagues. There is one stage for readings, it seems. I try to imagine the Edinburgh International Book Festival, or Aye Write in Glasgow, with sideshows like these – for the public to dip in and out of. I try to imagine media interest in literature like this.

The great thing is: it’s affordable. A day ticket – bought in advance – costs ten euros. A four-day pass, twenty-four. Family tickets, group tickets, afternoon tickets – are also there for the taking.  Events from morning till night. Do the Maths: Leipzig certainly makes literature accessible for passionate readers. At the weekend, anyway. Thursday & Friday are reserved for the ‘trade’.

Four p.m.: the award ceremony. The long speech at the beginning with considerable focus on Hegemann. The jury refusing to be bullied. Conversations had with her publisher. Assurances that, in future editions, the sources will all be acknowledged. The sense that this might be leading to a sensational announcement. My neighbour – audibly – willing it on. Me – frankly – dreading it.

First, though, the translation prize goes to Ulrich Blumenbach for Unendlicher Spass, his version of Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace) that took six years to complete.

blumenbach on blue sofa (photo: donal)

The non-fiction prize goes to Ulrich Raulff for Kreis ohne Meister, his book on the poet Stefan George.

raulff on blue sofa (photo: donal)

‘And ze vinner is’ (as some wit says behind me): not Hegemann, but Klein. Roman unserer Kindheit.

klein on blue sofa (photo: donal)

Interviews on the Blue Sofa on my way out. Blumenbach. Then Raulff (over-long as Klein is awaited). Then Klein.

He’s at it again – that ‘poetic’ touch.

glashalle (photo: donal)

Back to the hotel – and New Swiss Writing 2010 awaits me. The proofs: the 27 I translated & eleven others.

Die lange Leipziger Lesenacht, no longer an option. Not for me the jeunes fauves, the Moritzbastei. My colleagues head off without me.

I need to eat. Reach the bottom of the pedestrian zone, Auerbachs Keller on the left, rear of the Rathaus on the right, before I begin to recognise anything of streets I walked daily in April 1990.

What’s now pedestrian wasn’t then, I reckon.

The street I think I remember was good for cinemas. Great DEFA films.

To the left of the town hall, a Milchbar – and a cafe – have survived from 1990.

David Soul, Don’t Give Up On Us, Baby: history, I thought, but playing where I choose to grab a bite.

The waitress offers me a paper. I catch up on Hungarian historian György Dalos – born in Budapest in 1943 – winning the Leipziger Buchpreis zur Europäischen Verständigung last night. His book, Der Vorhang geht auf: Das Ende der Diktaturen in Osteuropa, shows the human side of the political changes, it seems.

The same paper stresses how the Bachstadt – Leipzig – will become a Buchstadt for the duration of the Book Fair. Over 2,000 events, it appears.

I’m sleepwalking, basically, and about to return to my desk, when some Böse Schafe spot me. They’re not wearing their badges. My memory for names deserts me.

Late-evening proof-reading. Wee small hours when I reach the final page.

I’ll type up the corrections before breakfast. Steal an hour before getting the tram, if needed.

book fair rose (photo: donal)


I postpone my trip out to the Book Fair until I’ve typed and sent off all the corrections.

Arrive (almost) in time for the discussion about translation at the Congress Center. The room is full: 60 Böse Schafe – and maybe as many again – as seven of our number form the panel. Jürgen Becker sounds out Tariq Bary (Cairo), Marina Koreneva (St Petersburg), Cai Hongjun (literary agent for China and Taiwan), Cristina Vezzaro (Turin), Tess Lewis (Bronxville, USA) and Vahidin Preljevic (Sarajevo) on German literature in translation in their various homelands – and the issues facing translators there. Again and again, the message: nothing would be translated, were it not for German support.

The discussion is opened to the floor and – as throughout the week – colleagues such as Mahmoud Hosseini Zad (Teheran) and Helen Moster (Espoo, Finland) offer great insights. A librarian present pleads for books that are less depressing. One colleague argues that university Germanists can pave the way: recommending titles and authors to local publishers. I throw in my tuppence worth: universities are fine if that’s what works – but there’s also a case for getting out of the universities. For working together with local writers and readers. Using all kinds of venues. And making sure that whoever reads reads well. And knows that they will be asked to. A poor reading means fewer books sold – and no repeat invitation.

banners (photo: jamie)

Another quick lunch and visits to various stands. Lichtungen, to thank the first editor to publish me in German. Nautilus to receive a copy of Der falsche Inder. The chance discovery of a new German book on RLS – more speculation, after Capus, re Treasure Island. The Blue Sofa to hear Wulf Kirsten – an interview that focuses on Beständig ist das leicht Verletzliche (Ammann), an anthology that reflects Wulf’s own discovery of poetry. 1120 pages of poetry from 1880-1945. Poems written in German, that is – from Nietsche to Celan. Wulf – born in 1934 – describes the German Library in Leipzig as ‘a little bit of the West’ in the GDR.

young book fair visitors (photo: donal)

Some outdoor photos for this blog, then coffee with Elisabeth Pyroth – and Lucy and Karen of Transfiction.

And finally: Martin Walser. 5pm on the Blue Sofa. My only ever chance to hear him, maybe. Discussion of his diary, just published, from the early 1970s. His fury at a bad review from Reich-Ranicki (yes, he would have hit him – but with an open hand. ‘Seinetwegen mach ich keine Faust’). The existential threat that that review posed at the time. Discussion, too, of Walser’s latest Novelle.

book fair pond (photo: donal)

The tram back to the hotel. A train ticket back to Berlin. And already,  it’s come round: our final feedback session in the hotel lobby.

A last meal together for the North-West Europe Ten & the people who selected us – at Auerbachs Keller.

The group photo that wasn’t to be: some crack-of-dawn departures.

A text message tells me not to expect corrected proofs. I can relax until Monday.

NSW 2010 – due this Spring



Did someone say this was over?

At the station in Leipzig, I’m recognised by Arno Camenisch – whom I’ve twice translated for New Swiss Writing. We’re joined by Katrin Eckert of the Literaturhaus in Basel – someone I’ve been meaning to send an initial email. Again, the journey whizzes past.

Berlin: a relaxing afternoon upon arrival.

It turns out I’m able to attend the Abschieds-essen: for those who have not yet departed . I’m expecting 20-30 ‘angry sheep’. Instead, it seems that all 60 are present, eating North-West Chinese, – and, seven days in, still communicating in German rather than their usual Romanian (1), Bulgarian (2), Slovene (1), Croatian (1), Bosnian (1), Serbian (2), Macedonian (1) Latvian (1), Ukrainian (1) Russian (6), Czech (1), Slovak (1), Polish (3), Georgian (1), Hungarian (1), French (1), Italian (4), Dutch (2), Swedish (1), Finnish (2), Spanish (6), Catalan (1), Portuguese (1), Turkish (1), English (5), Brazilian Portuguese (2),  Armenian (1), Persian (2), Arabic (3), Hindu & Punjabi (1), Thai (1), & Chinese (2).

The great conversations continue. With Roberta, an Italian translator, who has also translated Camenisch. With Ana, from Graz – but Slovenia, originally. With Claudia from Argentina, originally, who is doing the Spanish version of Apostoloff. With a couple of the ‘Übersetzer packen aus’ gang – now known as the Weltlesebühne. With Abbas Khider again – who must think I’m stalking him. With Juli Zeh – whom I met in Slovenia in ’03. With Emine Özdamar – who once read for ‘my’ students in Edinburgh. With Ricardo, from Italy, now based in Berlin. And Amrit from New Delhi.

How to say thank you for all of this? Thankfully, we have Hans-Christian Oeser among us, the one German Böses Schaf. His thank-you speech is perfekt. The boy nails it.

Jürgen, Claudia, Katharina – for all at the LCB – thank you.

All sixty  ‘angry sheep’, thank you.

Elisabeth, Penny, Gisela – for that amazing Studienreise – thank you.

The Nordwest Europa Nine – thank you.


Now it IS over.

But not before a coffee with Katy Derbyshire. A final exchange of impressions.

And a reunion with Rachel McNicholl – and Eoin & Eva Bourke.

On what is World Poetry Day, in a part of Berlin I didn’t find easily, we all sign a birthday card for Stella at 95.

Stella Rotenberg, if you don’t know her work.

From there, reluctantly, to the airport.

Hard to believe it’s been a week already.

Just a week, as I tried to console a four-year-old in advance.

Not that he was having it:

A whole week, he complained each time, in response.


four lions’ farewell (photo: donal)


day-by-day (not) – 1

Apologies, everyone – I did say ‘WiFi & eeePc permitting’ & as it turns out, they didn’t. The first instalment of my impressions of Berlin and Leipzig can be found below. The second will follow asap, now that I’m back at a PC – as will, courtesy of fellow participants – some photographs.

LCB (photo: ana)


Due to land 17.45. Maybe I did.

I landed in SNOW.

Hints of Spring all week in Glasgow. Snow in Berlin.

Train to Lichtenberg, S-Bahn to Friedrichstrasse, another to Wannsee. Arrive in time for dinner. 57, maybe, of the 60 translators invited – after being welcomed by Katja Lange-Müller (Böse Schafe) – have just spent a couple of hours introducing themselves: die grosse Vorstellungsrunde.

LCB sign (photo: ana)

A Wiedersehen with Jürgen Becker, whom I know from the Sommerakademie last August. Memories of the smaller group of translators back then – a great bunch.

First person I spot this time: Hans-Christian Oeser who read at an academic conference in Limerick the weekend of Princess Diana’s funeral all those years ago.

I eat with George from Georgia – and Igor Mokin, an editor at Inostrannaja Literatura – a Russian magazine that survived the political changes of twenty years ago and that focuses, still, on foreign literature. George, not Igor, tells me how good it is.

That great unexpected bonus of speaking German: using it to speak to people from all over the world. Not relying lazily on the rest of the world’s English.

Reunion with Katy Derbyshire – who blogs at – for whom I read at Translators reveal all / Übersetzer packen aus at the Literaturwerkstatt a couple of years ago.

60 translators from 36 countries in 5 hotels in Charlottenburg. It all kicks off properly tomorrow.

frozen Wannsee (photo: jamie)


The knowledge that some fellow translators must also be in the Breakfast Room – but no familiar faces from last night.

Out to Wannsee. The goody-bag that awaits us: Katja’s Böse Schafe – plus the latest books by Sibylle Lewitscharoff (Apostoloff), Wilhelm Genazino (Das Glück in glücksfernen Zeiten), Maria Cecilia Barbetta (Änderungsschneiderei Los Milagros), Abbas Khider (Der falsche Inder), David Wagner (Vier Äpfel), Lutz Seiler (Die Zeitwaage), Arno Geiger (Alles über Sally), Dirk Kurbjuweit (Nicht die ganze Wahrheit) – and the anthology Laute Verse, ed. by Thomas Geiger: 24 young poets, 20 years after the Wende, a book I so much wanted. Oh – and Leipzig liest, the progamme of the Book Fair, a paperback book in its own right at 432pp.

I’m thrilled to bits. It’s not just the books – they’re all going to be reading to us. That said: guess who’s here with hand-luggage only?

The first talk sets a high standard. Burkhard Müller: 3 x Nobel oder Wo steht die deutsche Literatur heute? The guy’s good: structured, concise, well-informed, I’m thinking – and that’s before I realise he’s NOT got a script in front of him. His take on Grass getting the Nobel in 1990 – for work, really, that was published decades earlier), Jelinek in 2004 (her attacks on Austria as a form of patriotism) and Herta in 2009 (der Rand als neue Mitte).

His take on the Grossschriftsteller(Innen) – Grass, Wolf, Enzensberger: their best books appeared years ago; their most recent work not as good. And what of the Grosskritiker? – someone asks from the floor. MRR is also written off.

The regret that some younger writers are not as challenging as they might be. That the novel’s still where it was in the 19th century. That what’s being written now isn’t innovative in terms of language or aesthetic approach. The anticipation that authors ‘mit Migrationshintergrund’ will be even more important in the future.

Loads of questions follow: on different aspects of what Burkhard had to say. As was also the case last summer: great commitment / passion / knowledge displayed by fellow translators. Again: a privilege to be here. Again, the question in my head: is Scotland doing this for translators of our writing? Is Britain doing this for British writing? Or is the focus just on agents?

Before lunch, Sibylle Lewitscharoff, introduced by her Bulgarian translator, reads from Apostoloff. A critical take on her Bulgarian background which caused quite a stir in Bulgaria. Winner of the Leipzig Book Fair Prize in ’09. The author has recorded her own audio book – and you can hear why.

After lunch, Katy Derbyshire argues that German publishers aren’t making the best possible use of the Internet. That German-language blogs are tame, compared to their British and American counterparts. She takes us through examples. The trick, clearly, is to include audio and video files; to offer users the chance to respond.

Late afternoon, short presentations from those responsible means we hear about how the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Goethe Institute, and the Internationales Theater Institut can all support translators.

In the evening, Wilhelm Genazino reads from Das Glück in glücksfernen Zeiten. The reading itself has us laughing. The discussion that follows (with the chair) presents a Frauenbild, a Männerbild, and even a Vaterbild, that  — Let’s just say: discussion was certainly lively on the train back.

LCB (photo: jamie)


Two workshops – and you have to choose: Laute Verse with Marion Poschmann and Monika Rinck (who’ll be reading at StAnza – Scotland’s Poetry Festival – later this week); or Poetik der Migration with Maria Cecilia Barbetta (born in Argentina) and Abbas Khider (born in Iraq). I end up in the latter (a long story)- but what luck! Cecilia does a great job presenting Änderungs-schneiderei Los Milagors. A beautifully designed book, I see from my neighbour’s copy. Abbas, for me, is better still. Der falsche Inder: I can’t wait to read it. Both authors were brilliant on the subject of how they learned German. Of how they write in a (for them) foreign language. Writing as an ‘Entdeckungsreise’. The German language as a ‘Schutz’ (Cecilia). Both long for translators who will write their own versions of the books; who will be just as inventive; Cecilia – whose book includes images that provide the inspiration for the individual chapters – even argued that any translator should replace some of the images. ‘Flügel’- as in (in this case: butterfly) ‘wing’, but also ‘grand piano’ – will clearly not always work in other languages. And nor will ‘Läufer’ as in ‘male runner’, ‘knight’ (the chess figure) and ‘(floor) rug’.

A talk before lunch next: Stephan Speicher of the SZ on ‘Aufarbeitung der Vergangenheit’. His take on the subject surprisingly negative – critical of how long it took German society to admit that ‘jeder’ was responsible; and not just the ‘elites’ that faced trial at the Nuremberg or Auschwitz trials; or the judiciary; or the historians. The suggestion that it took the Wehrmachts-ausstellung to bring home the fact that many ordinary families had members who were also involved or who also ‘profited’. Throughout, Speicher has not just me wondering where what German writers and German film-makers achieved comes into this analysis; also what was achieved in German schools, especially post ’68.

Lunch is delayed by 45 minutes as the floor responds. Helen Moster, from Finland, for example, highlights the complete absence of women from Speicher’s analysis – prompting Speicher to confess to the complete absence of the GDR, also. I could mention that Germany’s response to its past was held up as an example to the UK & Northern Ireland at an ‘Aye Write’ event I attended in Glasgow last week – at which Ruth Dudley Edwards also distinguished (as Stella Rotenberg does) between Germany and Austria. I don’t. I listen instead to the voices and Wortmeldungen that follow – from Macedonia, St Petersburg, Gran Canaria, Madrid, Cairo, Teheran & Dublin. What luxury!

Readings by David Wagner, Lutz Seiler & Arno Geiger were to follow in the afternoon & evening; as were presentations on Traduki, ‘Schritte’ & the S. Fischer Stiftung; on ‘Moving Words’ & ‘Pro Helvetia’; and on the Halma network. I, however, was about to join translator colleagues representing different Goethe institutes in the region of North West Europe, arriving for our study trip to the Leipzig Book Fair.

Lutz Seiler / Jurgen Becker (photo: ana)

Brief introductions at the hotel & we were soon off to the Literaturwerkstatt – where Boris Nitsche told us about the different ways poetry, in particular, is presented there. How it can be ‘translated’ into ‘performance’; into film, even.

His presentation of revealed that this project has no English-speaking partner in the UK – astonishing, given the excellent work done in the field of poetry by various organisations and individuals; and the same people’s interest in translation.

With this smaller group – 9 of us representing Amsterdam, Dublin, Glasgow, Helsinki, London, Oslo & Stockholm – it’s back out to the LCB tomorrow. After a visit to Suhrkamp Verlag Berlin, we’ll be on a train to Leipzig – (almost) in time for the opening event.

to be continued

Study Trip for Translators

Donal McLaughlin

Hi there!

This Blog has been created to allow me to report day-by-day on a study trip to Berlin and Leipzig next week: Berlin, to attend an international meeting of translators of German literature at the LCB in Wannsee; Leipzig, to attend the latest Book Fair.

I look forward to meeting sixty fellow translators at the LCB on Sunday, and – from Tuesday – to joining a smaller group of nine or ten participants on the ‘Studienreise’, organised by the Goethe-Institut in North West Europe, to the Leipzig Book Fair.  I shall be representing Goethe-Institut Glasgow – and look forward to meeting colleagues from other regional institutes in Amsterdam, Dublin, Helsinki, London, Oslo and Stockholm.

WiFi and my eeePC permitting, I shall add a new Post late each evening – with my impressions of that day. These, no doubt, shall relate mainly to ‘literary’ matters – but this will also be my first visit to Leipzig since 1990. It will be interesting to see the difference 20 years have made. Berlin, I visit often – and can’t visit enough!

Right now, though, it’s back to the (Swiss) translations that have to be finalised before I go.

More next week!

Hope you enjoy following this –


(Photo: Marc Gaber, Riga)