Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Stanisic* - Wise Beyond his Publications

This month's Words Without Borders features a magnificent piece from Sasa Stanisic on myths of immigrant writing. Not unlike myself in my less erudite rant on the Chamisso Prize recently (which Stanisic received last time around), he criticises the expectation that writers from elsewhere should enrich their adopted language, more so than native-language authors. He also rails against the myths that there is a category by the name of "immigrant writing" at all, and that immigrant literature deals (or should deal) solely with the migrant experience.

Great reading matter, nicely packaged, and - in an ironic twist - rather well translated from the German by the author himself. I do find it slightly amusing, though, that an author who has written one (excellent) book can be so worldly-wise. But I suppose I haven't written any books at all and I still spout my opinions here on a near-daily basis. Still, it's a great feeling when you realise you're not the only person to hold a certain view.

If we must have a word for one category of "immigrant writing" at least, why not post-migrant literature? I'm rather inspired by the upcoming Dogland festival at and around Berlin's Ballhaus Naunynstraße, which features post-migrant theatre and the latest developments in dance, film, music and literature - including a new play by the ubiquitous Feridun Zaimoglu and Günter Senkel on sans-papiers. I know, I was trying not to mention him, but it's hard sometimes. Or an "evening of scenic songs" directed by Neco Celik (the very interesting interview behind this link goes some way to explaining what post-migrant might be in the German context). I can't spot any actual literature in the strictest sense on the programme as yet, but I live in hope.

*I do apologise for the lack of accents, etc. throughout this piece. It's been a long day, so you'll have to imagine them all for yourselves.

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