Friday, 11 May 2012

Three Things To Do

Here are three interesting things to do, wherever you are:

1. If you're in Berlin, you should obviously go to the Lange Buchnacht in der Oranienstraße tomorrow. Berlin's second-coolest street plays host to zillions of readings and literary events. There are 48 different venues, for goodness' sake! It starts with stuff for kids and teens in the afternoon (including love german books favourites Zoran Drvenkar and Tamara Bach). Then you can catch a myriad of other top writers, from Nicol Ljubic to Alistair Noon to Tanja Dückers to Edgar Rai to Jan Peter Bremer to Olga Grjasnowa to Bernd Cailloux to Jakob Hein to Jan Brandt to Thomas Melle. Then there's music and dancing and performance and multimedia and discussion and all sorts of shenanigans. Or you could visit my buddies at the Videodrom-Shop for a totally rock'n'roll fanzine geezer called Gary Flanell. Don't forget to spend lots of money on DVDs, books and vinyl while you're there.
The Lange Buchnacht is *always good*. You should go if you can, and you should get yourself a beer and wander from one event to the next, or maybe pick a focus area like postmigrant culture or music writing or crime or food and go hopping to the relevant events. It's very well curated if you ask me, or perhaps that's a by-product of the fact that Oranienstraße is Berlin's second-coolest street, chock-a-block full of passionate people who care about (sub)culture.

2. If you're in London, you should sign up for this intriguing night class on free speech and translation, run by English PEN. In six Monday-night sessions, they say
...we’ll consider the politics, economics and aesthetics of literary publishing and translation. Dour detectives will meet the Arab Spring, as images, slang, poetry, and shared identity are not lost in translation. All this will be explored, with translators, editors, critics, publishers, and booksellers as special guests. 
No previous knowledge required!

3. If you're not in either of these places (or indeed if you are in London or Berlin), you should watch this long video of an event at New York's PEN World Voices festival on the subject of reviewing translations. It's always a tricky subject because translators and critics don't seem to see eye to eye (and although I've met a few critics I do see eye to eye with, I have to admit I have the same general problem). Translators want to be at least mentioned and actually valued, treated like the star of the show or at least granted an adjective on the quality of our work. Whereas reviewers often face the problems of a lack of space and a lack of confidence in judging translation quality. Or that's the upshot of the debates that took place in Germany a year or so ago. I haven't actually watched the whole of the video yet but I shall do so now and possibly post some more information a little bit later.

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