Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Grass Is Rife

In Chicago this very minute? Then you may well be attending the Helen and Kurt Wolff Symposium for literary translators from German to English. I'm just copying out the list of illustrious speakers to make your jaw drop like mine did:

Peter Constantine, Breon Mitchell, Rainer Schulte, Krishna Winston, Michael Anania, Chad Post, John Hargraves, Renate Latimer, Nick Hoff, Ross Benjamin, David Dollenmeyer, Annemarie S. Kidder, Mary C. Crichton, Pierre Joris, Michael Henry Heim and Helmut Frielinghaus.

I had the great pleasure of meeting the latter in good old Wolfenbüttel on Saturday, where he gently herded us through the trials of creative writing like an extremely well-read Gus Dermody. Frielinghaus is a translator, writer and editor, including of the book Der Butt spricht viele Sprachen, a collection of pieces by Günter Grass' various translators. Oh, and I believe he also happens to be Grass' editor. I know he'll be a great asset to this symposium, especially with its focus on - you guessed it - translating Grass.

Chad Post whet my appetite for the event he's moderating on the subject, but if you're not going to be there you could always try and make it to Berlin's LCB on 2 July. It doesn't seem to be online yet, but you can catch Günter Grass, Breon Mitchell, Oili Suominen, Per Oehrgaard and Helmut Frielinghaus with the equally wonderful Denis Scheck, all talking about the new translations of The Tin Drum marking the book's 50th anniversary. I know I'll be moving heaven and earth to be there.

Update: you can read Pad Chost's impressions of the symposium at Three Percent.

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