Riveting Germans: After the Wall

A photo of a woman in a yellow scarf standing in front of the Berlin Wall

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With Charlotte Collins, Durs Grünbein, Julia Franck, Nino Haratischvili, Karen Leeder and Ruth Martin

An evening of riveting German literature with the Georg-Büchner prize-winning author, poet and essayist Durs Grünbein, German Book Prize winner Julia Franck, author of The Blind Side of The Heart, and Nino Haratischvili, author of The Eighth Life, hailed as ‘the book of the year’ in Germany.

They are joined by translators Charlotte Collins, Karen Leeder and Ruth Martin to discuss the state of German prose, poetry and translation 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and celebrate the launch of The German Riveter magazine.

Expect a lively discussion about what’s worked for UK readers, what hasn’t? And what was the impact of the East-West divide on its authors? 

The German Riveter explores all these issues and features literary luminaries, from Jenny Erpenbeck to Julia Franck, Durs Grünbein to Jan Wagner – and of course Nino Haratischvili herself, who tells her own remarkable story, from Georgia to Germany. 

The evening is hosted by Rosie Goldsmith, director of the European Literature Network, creator of The Riveter, the magazine with the ambition to make European literature popular and accessible across the UK. Rosie also has her own tale to tell: a German linguist who began her career at the BBC at the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago.

Charlotte Collins was an actor and radio journalist in both Germany and the UK before becoming a literary translator. She was awarded the 2017 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize for her translation of A Whole Life by the Austrian author Robert Seethaler.

Julia Franck was born in Berlin in 1970. She studied German literature, Philosophy and Anthropology of Native Americans at the FU Berlin. Julia Franck has published numerous novels, among which Die Mittagsfrau (2007), for which she received the German Book Award 2007 and which has been translated into 34 languages. 

Rosie Goldsmith is an award-winning journalist specializing in arts and foreign affairs. She combines journalism with chairing and curating literary events and festivals for leading cultural organisations. 

Durs Grünbein has published 15 collections of poetry, one diary, a book of memoirs and four books of essays. His work has been awarded many major German and International literary prizes and has been widely acclaimed and translated into several languages. 

Nino Haratischvili is an award-winning novelist, playwright, and theatre director. In 2010, her debut novel Juja was nominated for the German Book Prize, as was her most recent Die Katze und der General in 2018. Her new novel is The Eighth Life, hailed as ‘the book of the year’ in Germany and winner of numerous literary prizes.

Karen Leeder is a writer, translator and academic, and teaches German at New College, Oxford. Her most recent academic book is Rereading East Germany: The Literature and Film of the GDR (CUP, 2016). She also translates contemporary German literature into English: her most recent translations include Michael Krüger’s The God Behind the Window, Raoul Schrott’s The Sex of the Angel (both 2019), and Evelyn Schlag’s All Under One Roof.

Ruth Martin’s recent translations include Volker Weidermann’s Dreamers, Michael Köhlmeier’s novels Two Gentlemen on the Beach and Yiza, short fiction by Joseph Roth and essays by Hannah Arendt. 

In collaboration with the European Literature Network, the British Council, Goethe-Institut London, Frankfurt Book Fair and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany London.

Image: Rosie Goldsmith, November 1989, Berlin Wall


Name: Riveting Germans: After the Wall
Where: Entrance Hall
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546

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