Monday, 12 October 2009

Frankfurt Here I Come

My fairy godmother has waved her magic wand and told me, You shall go to the book fair. If anyone's interested in a beautiful love german books badge, tap me on the shoulder at the official opening of the Translators' Centre at five on Wednesday afternoon.

And if you spot anyone wearing one beforehand, that probably means they're one of the lovely Frankfurt Fellows with whom I spent Saturday night drinking Jägermeister. They're on a whistle-stop tour of German publishers, who are lavishing them with roast venison and book recommendations. By the end they'll no doubt be suffering from exhaustion - but they'll be so much wiser and richer in experiences.

Oh, and Jürgen Jakob Becker has one of my badges too. Jürgen runs the Deutscher Übersetzerfonds, which organises events and seminars and provides financial support for translators' work. He's also in charge of events at the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin - just about my favourite place. And he runs the translation workshops there, which invite translators of German literature to meet writers, critics and publishers in Berlin, a genuine boon for anyone who has the honour of taking part. For all this and, I suspect, for his general all-round niceness and enthusiasm for all things translation, he's being awarded the German translators' association's Übersetzerbarke prize at the opening ceremony. Unfortunately, it's not quite as financially rewarding as a Nobel Prize, but it is a great honour, which Jürgen richly deserves. I shall expect him to be sporting his love german books badge provocatively as Queen Elizabeth lowers her sword onto his shoulders for his services to translation. Or whatever happens at the opening ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.

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