That's a fact. Last night's Translation Idol was a roaring success, if I do say so myself. Everyone seemed very patient and forgiving of my amateurish presentation skills, our poet Ron Winkler was an absolute star - very erudite and charming - and there were 14 versions of his poem. Plus our little library was comfortably full, banning my fears that only 14 people would turn up and they'd all vote for different translations. Berlin's translatorati were out in full force.
The translations we received were all of outstanding quality, and I was very pleased that some people had ventured quite far away from the original - but that others had strived for fidelity. As Ron pointed out, the nature of the contest meant that people felt they had to distinguish their version from the others - of course without knowing the other outcomes. They should all be online at no man's land soon. I kept getting blinded by camera flashes, so I hope there'll be a couple of photos up there too.
Ron Winkler chose his personal best for the Poet's Prize - Steph Morris was the delighted winner. And the audience also voted on their favourite. The tension was incredible, and in the end it was a draw! The talented two are both Scottish exiles - Tom Morrison and Joseph Danaghie. Tom and Steph were both in attendance, but we called Joseph via live Hollywood link - OK, live mobile phone call to Munich. And the audience was just as thrilled as he was to hear him laughing down the line.
I hope everyone who came had as great a time as I did. I want to do it all over again next year.
Luckily, I only found out that the New Zealand writer Lloyd Jones had been in the audience after he left. Had I known, I'd have been even more nervous to start with. I expect he found it all slightly small-scale, what with being translated into 5 zillion languages himself. I will duly move Mr Pip up to second place in my "to read" pile - and the man himself is reading in Berlin next week: Wednesday, 14 May at 7pm at the Ingeborg Drewitz Bibliothek, Grunewaldstraße 3, 12165 Berlin - in partnership with the New Zealand Embassy Berlin. Apparently, it'll be the only one in Berlin, so it's well worth going out to Steglitz.