The Frankfurt Book Fair is one of the literary world’s largest gatherings. The next edition, scheduled to take place October 14 to 18, 2020, will feature Canada as the guest of honour, highlighting our literature and our writers. Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival, which would have taken place May 1 to 6, 2020, and included a focus on German-language literature, was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. But fortunately for us, voices, words, and images can travel virtually… and land here, in this space. Authors from Germany and Austria sent us their thoughts about Canadian writers, and it’s no surprise that two of them, without consulting each other, chose books by Michael Ondaatje, the celebrated author of The English Patient. Others spoke about the literary scene in Germany, or about their own work, to appear soon in translation, published by a Canadian publishing house.
Coordination : Shelley Pomerance
Meet the authors
Esther Kinsky is a German writer whose titles include River, translated by Iain Galbraith (Transit Books, 2018) and the forthcoming Grove: A Field Novel, translated by Caroline Schmidt (Transit Books, August 2020). She spends part of each year in Northeastern Italy and sent this audio message from her home in Udine, in the province of Friuli. She chose to speak about In the Skin of a Lion, by Canadian author Michael Ondaatje. Listen here.
Born in Tel Aviv and now based in Vienna, Austria, Doron Rabinovici is an historian and the author of a number of novels, including Elsewhere (Haus, 2014), translated by Tess Lewis. In this video, he speaks about Canadian author Michael Ondaatje and his book Running in the Family, and also reminisces about a visit he once made to Montreal. Watch here.
Lucy Fricke is the author of the novel Töchter, to be released in English in September 2020, under the title Daughters (V&Q Books, 2020), in a translation by Sinead Crowe. The French-language version will be released by Le Quartanier, the Montreal publishing house. Writing from her home in Berlin, Lucy Fricke answered our questions regarding Töchter, the art of translation, and the current literary scene in Germany. Read more here.
READINGS TO GO FURTHER
Here is a selection of titles in German and Austrian contemporary literature which recently caught our attention.