“You stare at the photograph. You wonder if you recognise the girl in the picture. Yes and no.”
“A gripping, complex debut” Zoë Strachan
“Will resonate loud and clear with anyone conscious of the dangers of CCTV culture in modern Britain” Rodge Glass
“Kept me hooked right to the end” Linda Leatherbarrow
“A story of betrayal only partly redeemed by love, by an author who hauntingly evokes the milieu” Jonathan Falla
The year is 1985. East Germany is in the grip of communism. Magda, a brilliant but disillusioned young linguist, is desperate to flee to the West. When a black market deal brings her into contact with Robert, a young Scot studying at Leipzig University, she sees a way to realise her escape plans. But as Robert falls in love with her, he stumbles into a complex world of shifting half-truths – one that will undo them both.
Enriching, democratic and mobbed: the Leipziger Buchmesse, which takes place in March in Leipzig’s spectacular glass and steel Messehalle, is not to be missed. I travelled there with a group that included translators from England, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Scotland and Sweden. Our first appointment was at LesArt, a seemingly unique facility that uses innovative tools to interest children in reading. As LesArt’s director, Sabine Mähne, told us about overnight reading parties, trips to Berlin landmarks that feature in novels and reading groups that were so much fun they endured beyond childhood, I think we all wished we’d lived in LesArt’s catchment area when we were children.
The discussion quickly turned to the translation of books for children and young people. If the amount of literature translated into English is low overall – estimates suggest that only 3% of new titles released annually in Britain are translated works – it’s even lower in the children’s market, and the share going to German books is pitiful.
Publishers put up all kinds of obstacles apparently, citing cultural differences even when it comes to the drawings that appeal to young children. It seems a great shame to miss the opportunity to introduce children … Read More »
The Stasi Are Among Us was a 2011 collaboration between the Glasgow Film Festival and the University of Edinburgh organised by Susan Kemp in conjunction with Laura Bradley and Fiona Rintoul. It explored the very different experiences of four filmmakers who worked under the watchful gaze of the Stasi, the unpredictable East German censor.
During the two-day event, five films made by the East German film studio DEFA but later banned were screened at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow alongside a 2009 documentary about alternative East German culture entitled Claiming space: staging independent exhibitions in the GDR (Behauptung des Raumes: Wege unabhängiger Ausstellungskultur in der DDR). The film directors took part in panel discussions, and two East German writers, Gabriele Stötzer and Johannes Jansen, whose work had been translated and published in Glasgow-based Gutter magazine to coincide with the event read at a closing party.