06 June 2014

Uwe Tellkamp, Rosa Luxemburg and Peter Rühmkorf: would you go to that party?

I finally got round to collating the translations I've been doing over the last three years, the work already published and what is forthcoming. Looking back on them, the writers I've translated appear to me like guests invited to a rather odd party, where people often don't know what to say to each other, but where the guests are still determined to linger. Long after courtesy has called to say that it is time that they were fetching their coats.

Here's the list:
* A sample translation, commissioned by Suhrkamp, from Uwe Tellkamp's award winning novel The Tower. My translation can be read at the Suhrkamp website, here. This is the scene where the young doctors from different wards of an early 1980s East German hospital are fiercely competing for the Socialist Challenge Cup: Who's got the best Christmas tree? Dressed in Father Christmas outfits, they break into The Party's private plantation, at dead of night, where each tree is hung with the name of a leading city functionary, and nick one of the finest evergreens.

 Interestingly, it is only since Suhrkamp published this sample translation at the start of 2012 that they've gone on to sell English world rights digital for this book to Frisch & Co., and to sell English world rights print to Penguin Press, both sales happening a full five years after the novel was published, and after the rights had already been sold for all other major world languages.

* A translation of Michael Buselmeier, German novelist and poet. My translation of an excerpt of his novel The Fall of Heidelberg was published in the magazine No Man's Land, edited by Isabel Fargo Cole, Katy Derbyshire and Cathrine Hales, in 2013. Full text plus me reading an audio version of the translation are available in the online edition of the magazine, here.

* A translation of Peter Rühmkorf, Hamburg's best 20th and 21st poet. My translations of Rühmkorf's poems were published in the 2011 issue of No Man's Land, and can be read online here. To this date, there is still no book length translation of Rühmkorf's poems into English. As it happens, the poems of Christine Marendon — another Hamburg poet, who I know, whose poems appear in the same issue of the same magazine —will be read, with the support of the Goethe Institute, in London at an international poetry festival this summer.
*  An eye-witness account of the Rostock pogrom of 1992, written by Jochen Schmidt, and originally a chapter in Kaltland, a book about the rise of neo-nazism in eastern Germany. My translation was published in 2013 in the Special Translation Issue of Madhat Review, edited by Lucy Jones, and can be read in the online edition of the magazine, here.
* Poetry translations of: Peter Rühmkorf, this time into Scots, with the title Song of unification for instant singing; this comes with a useful Scots glossary, for those not fluent in the language. And a poetry translation from the work of Franz Josef Czernin. Both poems published in the same Special Translation Issue of Madhat Review, edited by Lucy Jones.
* Forthcoming: Book length translation for Volume 3: The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg. The Political Writings. This is due for publication at the end of 2015. My work on this translation tracks all of Luxemburg's political writings in German from 1906 on. More details of this first ever complete Rosa Luxemburg edition, forty percent of which has never been published previously in any language, are available on Verso Book's webpages about the edition.

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