The Frankfurt Book Fair is one of the literary world’s largest gatherings. The next edition will take place October 20 to 24, 2021, and will feature Canada, its literature, and its writers as guests of honour, an invitation originally planned for 2020 but postponed because of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival launched, in spring 2020, a spotlight on German literature—a different way to make voices, words, images and worlds travel. From Germany and Austria, German-language authors presented favourites of Canadian reads. Given the renown of Canadian novelist Michael Ondaatje, it comes as no surprise that several of these writers mentioned works of the celebrated author of The English Patient. Others also spoke of the German literary scene and of their own work available in translation from Canadian publishers. Lovely moments to return to, to reread, and to come.
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.