On the Death of Siegfried Lenz ? ?You have to justify your life?

Siegfried Lenz, one of the great writers of German post-war literature is dead. He died on 7 October 2014, surrounded by his family. He was 88 years old.... more more

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Turkey's poisoned pens

Thursday 9 October, 2008

Does participation at the Frankfurt Book Fair mean making propaganda for the AKP? In Turkey, this year's guest country at the Book Fair, writers have been feuding over this issue for months. Some of them have even called for a boycott. This time, however, it's more than just a Kemalist-Islamist divide. By Constanze Letsch
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From abattoir to disco

Monday 28 April, 2008

Travels through the dreams and nightmares of Europe, in a small land of great poets, torn between Balkan catastrophe and Brussels. A reportage on Croatia, this year's partner country at the Leipzig Book Fair. By Gregor Dotzauer

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Treasure in the mountains

Monday 3 December, 2007

The novel is blooming in the Urals, where the children of the former technology elite are letting their imaginations run riot. By Sonja Margolina

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Bucharest in a trance

Monday 12 November, 2007

Romanian literature is still a tiny niche in the German book market. Mircea Cartarescu's latest novel to be published here, "Die Wissenden," shows readers what they are missing. A visit to Bucharest to meet the man who is probably Romania's most famous author. By Jörg Plath
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The impertinent muse

Wednesday 5 September, 2007

Ann Cotten is the poster girl for Germany's poetry jet set. She publishes manifestos at 6 in the morning, pours through dictionaries of foreign words and takes very fruitful lunch breaks. By Ina Hartwig
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A masterpiece of character

Monday 27 August, 2007

A new edition of the Dutch classic "Character" has just come out. For Dutch author Cees Nooteboom, the novel is a timeless masterpiece of cold fire. Ferdinand Bordewijk wrote it with an etching needle and today's readers are still at his mercy.
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"Richness, beauty, horror"

Wednesday 15 August, 2007

"Keep on keeping on" is Walter Kempowski's motto and he applies this unique pertinacity to collecting German life stories. Critically ill, the great writer remains true to himself to the end. Instead of getting sentimental, he looks back matter-of-factly. By Peer Teuwsen (Editor's note: Walter Kempowski passed away on October 5th 2007 in Rostock. We put this interview, published earlier this year, back onto our homepage in his remembrance.) Image © Helmut Fricke
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When crime fiction is a crime

Wednesday 8 August, 2007

Crime writer Amir Valle is one Cuba's most promising young authors. In 2006 he won the Vargas-Llosa literature prize. But even then he had already fallen into disfavour with the Cuban Culture Ministry. Since 2005 he has been living in involuntary exile in Germany. By Knut Henkel
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The Sheikha's Book Club

Monday 9 July, 2007

A land of hidden longings: Ulla Lenze is the first German writer to be invited into the inner sanctum of Sheikha Shamma's literary salon, in the United Arab Emirates' desert palace of Al Ain. Lenze takes us along for the ride.
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Steppenwolf's archivist

Monday 7 May, 2007

Like a hunter-gatherer, Volker Michels has been foraging for traces of the life and work of author Hermann Hesse for thirty years now. For his private Hesse archive in Offenbach, he collects and cross-references all of Hesse's letters, pictures and manuscripts he can find. Roman Bucheli portrays an archivist on the brink of obsession. (Image © Gret Widmann)
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A writer in the Cold War

Monday 30 April, 2007

The case of anti-Communist Romanian novelist Vintila Horia (1915-1992) - condemned by some as pro-fascist - illustrates the difficulty of establishing a literary canon after the end of totalitarianism in Eastern Europe. Now, some Romanian intellectuals want to rehabilitate his image. Can the man be viewed separately from his art? By Richard Wagner
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The source we drink from

Wednesday 28 March, 2007

It was only with the end of the Soviet Union that Russians got the chance to get discover their own 20th century literature. Forbidden authors like Nabokov, Mandelstam, Brodsky and Kharms became hugely popular. But until today the most enduring are the Oberiuts, a group of avant-garde poets from the 20s and 30s. By Olga Martynova
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The dictator's orphans

Wednesday 31 January, 2007

Iraqi-German writer Najem Wali feels that the Arab Writers Union has a problem or two. It's overtly anti-Semitic, anti-democratic and opposed to freedom of speech. The Union doesn't realise that literature is not the product of conferences and pamphlets, but rather of freedom.
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Roller coaster in the dark

Thursday 25 January, 2007

Thomas Pynchon's latest novel "Against the Day" got panned by critics in the USA. Denis Scheck sees this as evidence of rampant anti-intellectualism. He maintains that the book is a masterpiece: a swan song to anarchism, an incisive look at post 9/11 America, and a hilarious romp through literary genres.
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Germany: a mindset

Monday 15 January, 2006

Germany as a culture does not correspond to the German nation. Which means that the much-quoted truth that the Germans were united by their literature or their language has always also been a lie. For German-Iranian writer Navid Kermani the most German of German writers is none other than Franz Kafka.
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