I'm back! And thinking about what excitement 2012 has to offer for German book lovers. Here are a few books and things I'm looking forward to in the coming months.
Benjamin Stein follows up The Canvas (coming out in English in September, trans. Brian Zumhagen) with Replay in January. Very different, very exciting, very well written. You may be surprised. That may be part of the point.
Then in February we get to read Olga Grjasnowa's debut novel Der Russe ist einer, der Birken liebt. Or rather, you do - I already have and was extremely impressed.
Next out is Franziska Gerstenberg's third book, Spiel mit ihr. I'm hoping to finally find a female literary fiction writer who dares to write about (good) sex. We shall see.
More in February, a rather busy month: my friend Oliver Bottini has a new crime novel out, Der kalte Traum, which he researched in Croatia.
Another friend shares that release date (perhaps some horoscope thing?): Tamara Bach's fan-blooming-tastic YA novel Was vom Sommer übrig ist. You will weep. I did. I believe there will also be a launch party, at which I will get drunk in public and stroke people's faces but hopefully not weep.
Followed the next day by Thomas von Steinaecker's new novel Das Jahr, in dem ich aufhörte mir Sorgen zu machen und anfing zu träumen. It sounds intriguing, playing with the present and the future and using more than the written word.
Along similar lines, perhaps, is Matthias Senkel's Frühe Vögel, dealing with aviation and storytelling and again using unusual media, funnily enough recommended by Thomas von Steinaecker. Out in March.
And then a wee birthday gift in April from Suhrkamp (you shouldn't have!): a new collection of short stories by Ralf Rothmann - Shakespeares Hühner.
I'm also looking forward to the Leipzig Book Fair and attendant prizes in March and the London Book Fair in April (another birthday gift - really you are spoiling me...) but sadly and contrary to stubborn rumours, I won't be going to the no doubt excellent Festival Neue Literatur in New York in February. I will have at least two translations of my own out at some point in the year though: Helene Hegemann's Axolotl Roadkill (fingers crossed for June...) and Sibylle Lewitscharoff's Apostoloff. Plus possibly the book I'm working on now, Inka Parei's precise, intelligent and haunting novel Was Dunkelheit war. "My" authors Inka Parei and Clemens Meyer will be out and about in the English-speaking world, in the USA, the UK and New Zealand, and if all goes well Helene Hegemann should be in the UK to launch our book too. Oh, and New Zealanders can look forward to all sorts of amazing German-lit related delights as quid pro quo for being the guest of honour at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair.
Ah, who could fail to blush with anticipation in the face of all these treats?