Blog Archives

Memoirs of a polar bear

A decade ago, on a visit to Berlin, I bought a small Steiff bear to remind me of the city I used to live in, and of Knut. Knut, if you don’t know already, was a baby polar bear in Berlin Zoo.

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Posted in books, gender, translation

all Russians love birch trees

In Berlin last week, I walked with friends out of the city, along where the wall used to be – where the birch trees have been growing freely for a quarter of a century. “That should make you feel right at home,

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Posted in translation

the carol that travelled

This is one of the most beloved carols in the Nordic countries, but the tune is from Central Europe and it has travelled across the Atlantic in English translations. So why haven’t you heard of it yet? Maybe it’s because

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Posted in Christmas, history, international, music, translation

Where do you really come from?

November 9 is a good date to mark German Literature Month; the day the monarchy ended, the day Hitler’s putsch failed, the night of the pogroms he instigated, the day the Berlin Wall came down… It wasn’t as easy as

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Posted in history, international, language, translation

stories from Abulafia Street

The Short Story Project brings you a new story every week from around the globe, online, for free. The stories are in Hebrew, English and the language of origin, and best of all, you can listen or read, so the app

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Posted in international, literature, short stories, translation

reflected in the rainwater butt: Regentonnenvariationen

Thistle stars, quince suns, and a buzzing alphabet of midges: Jan Wagner sees nature upside down and inside out. He will make you see the world in a whole new way. I found the young Hamburg poet on a trip

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Posted in books, poetry, translation

Lady Midday

It started with an eight-year-old boy left at the train station by his mother, as the Germans flee the Red Army approaching Szczecin/Stettin in 1945. We need to go back more than twenty years to find out how it came

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Posted in books, history, translation

Hunted by the fox

Herta Müller is a Nobelist writing in German. Philip Boehm was awarded the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize for translating her The Hunger Angel and has also translated Brecht and Hanna Krall. I’d been meaning to read both their work for a while, and

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Posted in books, Nobel Prize in Literature, translation

Women’s day: translations to last all year

It’s women’s day, and time to look for the women in translation once again, at the Free Word Centre and elsewhere. The statistics are shocking as ever. But there is plenty to read if you look. Rather than lamenting, just go out

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Posted in books, gender, translation

A voice from Nowhereland

Mascha Kaléko died 40 years ago this week. Her poems are full of longing, memory and regret, even for things that haven’t happened yet, by someone who always had to move on. She has a gloriously Central European knot of

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Posted in books, poetry, translation
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