Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Hans Fallada Postage Stamp (Mark II)

I've posted about German writers on stamps before, so I was rather taken by a brief piece in the trade mag Börsenblatt about a new Hans Fallada stamp, which was in some mysterious way issued by his publishers, Aufbau Verlag. I'm not quite sure how publishers manage to issue postage stamps, but apparently it's worth 55c (enough to send a small letter inside Germany), it's being given away to selected booksellers and journalists – and you can actually use it. And they also wanted to encourage the finance minister to use the picture for an official stamp. But there's not much chance of that, I'm afraid, for despite having posthumously sold a whopping 150,000 copies of the new extended director's cut of Jeder stirbt für sich allein, Hans Fallada already had his own stamp back in 1993.

A shame, really, that the German post office won't be doing the publisher's advertising for them free of charge. Although it is about time they put another writer on a stamp - the last one was Borges back in October of last year, marking Argentina's spot as guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Ah, literature meets philately - possibly one of the nerdiest combinations ever. Mind you, I did see a guy the other day wearing a "Star Wars Sucks" T-shirt. I think only a T-shirt printed with a fictitious Arno Schmidt postage stamp could possibly top that. And one day I'll get round to posting about German trains named after writers.


glenn collins said...

Hey, love your blog. i run the fiction section of a bookshop in central London and have recently(belatedly) developed an interest in modern German fiction. I'm in awe of Erpenbeck & Hermann, and quite like Pletzinger & Meyer. Can you recommend any more?

MM said...

I think even you and I can have our own stamps nowadays.
I think I'll give it a miss.

kjd said...

Hi Glenn,

Take a look at Seagull Books' Swiss and German lists - I've translated one of my favourite ever books for them, Inka Parei's "The Shadow Boxing Woman", and Dorothee Elmiger's unusual debut "Invitation to the Bold of Heart". But they also have a fantastic selection of other outstanding contemporary writers such as Ralph Rothmann, Urs Widmer, Sherko Fatah, Esther Kinsky, Ulrich Peltzer, and so on.

Alina Bronsky is very popular light fiction, published by Europa Editions, who also do Katharina Hacker and Helmut Krausser.

Have you read Juli Zeh? Rather disturbing stuff - as is Alois Hotschnig's "Maybe Next Time" from Peirene Press, who do only extremely good, short books in translation with two other German-speaking writers, FC Delius and Matthias Politycki.

Happy reading! Katy

Anonymous said...

Hey Katy,

thanks for this. i think we have a few Seagull books in stock already, but not the ones you mention. the always brilliant Nicholas Lezard in his Guardian column chose the Hotschnig as his book of the week recently, and i know Zeh so will get onto those. the Parei looks fascinating, too. excellent...