Thursday, 20 December 2012

Best Stuff of 2012

Last year I came up with the fabulous idea of writing not a best books list but a best stuff list. The reason being that I find it hard to single out a random number of books as "the best". That still applies, so hey! Here comes a random number of phenomena that I appreciated in 2012. Fanfare, etc.

Best new publisher
Has to be Frisch & Co., who will be bringing out their first titles in 2013. E-books only, translations only, excellent books only, giving a chance to the ones that got away. OK, so one of those titles is Uwe Tellkamp's Der Turm, not my favourite ever, but I know a lot of other people are very excited about that indeed.

Best old publisher
Duh. Seagull Books, of course, going from strength to strength with Mo Yan on their list and publisher Naveen Kishore winning the Goethe Medal for all-round greatness in German eyes. Also they've arranged for Inka Parei, Dorothee Elmiger and myself to go on a mini tour of India in January. So obviously they can do no wrong.

Best German publishing person
I was totally inspired this year by Elisabeth Ruge, whom I saw speaking at the equally inspiring Litflow conference thing, and also on an interesting panel in Leipzig. This is a woman with two children who co-founded a publishing house (Berlin Verlag), then left when owner Bloomsbury started treating it shabbily and is now heading Hanser Berlin - which has a solid mix of established authors such as Ingo Schulze and Richard Ford, debuts, poetry and commercially successful titles. In person, I found her compassionate and capable, forward-looking and impassioned. If I ever actually meet her I shall blush and shrink and stutter in fawning awe.

Best publishing party
I didn't go to so many publishing parties this year, despite really wanting to be invited to many many parties. If you read this, publishers, don't forget to invite me next year. I guarantee to wear a spectacular dress and dance at least a little bit, and to get a little bit too drunk and reveal intimate things about myself that nobody wanted to know. So I'm the perfect guest for your publishing party. If you don't believe me, ask anyone who was at the Book Fair a go-go party at Frankfurt, which was my best publishing party of the year. Honourable mention goes to the New Books in German party in London, which was easily the swankiest event I've ever attended and yet still friendly, just without any dancing.

Best translation-related event
Five Dials! Not only a free magazine packed to the gills with German-language writers, but they also had a party and let me read, wear a spectacular dress, etc. Delightful people to work with, excellent magazine. People have now started telling me that translated literature is hip, and I suspect it's all their fault.

Best-dressed German writers
Daniela Dröscher, who totally rocks leopard print, closely followed by Rabea Edel. Seeing the two of them together nearly seared my retinas.

Best things I did this year
Moving house, And Other Stories reading group, BCLT summer school, translating Simon Urban's Plan D

Things I'm looking forward to next year
This may surprise you but I'm looking forward to Margot Bettauer Dembo's new translation of Anna Seghers' 1944 masterpiece Transit. And also I'm looking forward to translated literature being hip, because that would make me the co-godmother of hip. I intend to hang out with awesome, talented, passionate people and read fantastic books, I intend to think deep thoughts about how to be a better translator, and I intend to carry on blogging as my time allows.  

1 comment:

Anke B. said...

You are translating Plan D? That's excellent! Such an entertaining read - it was one of my favorites in 2012! Looking forward to seeing the English translation!