Berlin Between: Parataxe Symposium
From Gesa Stedman’s beautiful Berlin keynote to Donna Stonecipher, Lucy Jones, Ben Ferguson, Crista Siglin, Ann Cotten and many more, the entire Parataxe Symposium at the Literarisches Colloquium is now online in digital form.
I read from my novel Like Lips, Like Skins (German edition: Kreisläufe) in German and English, and before that had a talk with our brilliant moderator Shane Anderson about Berlin, about going from being a visual artist to becoming a writer, about the difficulties of translation, about what Berlin was like in the ’80s and what it’s like for young people facing the housing market in Berlin today.
Check out the Stadtsprachen website for videos of all the panels.
Thanks, Paul. Someone at the reading also said I should do an audio book. We’ll see! The funny thing is, a woman who’d contacted me some time ago about doing an Italian translation of this last book—which I am thrilled about—wrote to me, worried that I wouldn’t be satisfied with her translation. Not only can I not judge the outcome—my Italian is meagre—but am certain she’ll do a wonderful job. So from now on I’m going to stop talking about the tribulations of translation. It only serves to jar the translators!
Thank you so much for sharing with me the reading(s) and exchange with the moderator. Like a fan as well as a dear friend, I am always enthralled by hearing you in these panels or evenings of readings. It’s the humanness of you, particularly your honesty and your prioritization of it but also your sensitivities, observations, and aesthetics.
It’s also these qualities, the rhythm, timbre, and tone of your voice which you spoke of in relation to the agony of working with a series of translators, a misery for all involved. I laughed with you as one may when reflecting on trauma, one I empathically witnessed. That’s but one expression of the honesty I am talking about, letting the audience know how beat up you all were and that you did your share of the pummeling. The refusal to simplistically be the good or bad person.
Listening to the work in a language I scarcely understand gave me the opportunity to more carefully hear those qualities. So when the opportunity arises, I hope you will make your novels available as audiobooks, in your mellifluous voice.