Going Dutch with German Writers (1) : The Beginning

How it all began: Katy Derbyshire enjoys an innocent drink with two writers, Inka Parei and Dorothee Elmiger, and tries to remember some time later what on earth they talked about. Seems like an idea with potential.

The beginning bottle.
The beginning bottle.Foto: Privat

Who? Inka Parei and Dorothee Elmiger

Inka Parei has written three novels: Die Schattenboxerin, Was Dunkelheit war and Die Kältezentrale. They are all fantastic. I have translated the first two and am currently working on the third. Dorothee Elmiger has written one – astounding – novel, Einladung an die Waghalsigen. Which I also translated. To be perfectly honest, the evening wasn’t planned as part of this project, but both my drinking partners gave me permission to describe it here. The photo is totally cheating because we obviously didn’t take any at the time. Inka, Dorothee and I went on a reading tour of four Indian cities together in January. Dorothee lives in Switzerland but was visiting Berlin, so we got together to refresh our memories.

Where? Inka’s kitchen, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

What? Smoked trout mousse, vegetable quiche and salad, sort of tiramisu made with gin and lemon curd; Sekt, red wine, grappa

What did we talk about? How amazing India was, how much we liked the people there, how strange the whole sexism debate seemed in Germany in contrast to women’s issues in India, how we really ought to set up some kind of ladies’ alternative to the national writers’ football team – but what would we do: shopping, knitting? How, when you’re on a jury for a literary prize or whatever, some of the winners you choose are kind of a compromise. Christa Wolf – how marvellous we all find her writing. How it’s nothing like Anna Seghers’ writing, except I think it is but that could just be me. Which writers we always run into on the street or out jogging. Where to go walking and jogging in Berlin. How none of us grew up listening to classical music (a class issue) and how we first came to it and what we first thought of it: it’s just like film music, and classical music nerds are just like pop nerds. How you can never escape the awful pop songs you grew up with. The lyrics to Skandal im Sperrbezirk in relation to the phrase treten sich die Füße platt. Or was it stehen sich die Füße platt? How Neue Deutsche Welle is not really suitable for under-tens. How grappa really helps you to digest a heavy meal. How grappa is made of grapes, and you can tell by the name. And the taste. How one last glass of wine would probably be enough. Just a small one.

Hangover: Yes, compounded by general self-pity caused by horrible weather. I chose to work from home the next day. But I decide I will go out drinking with various German writers, attempt to take a photo, and then write about it later. We each pay for our own drinks. Hence the title.

The Blogger: Katy Derbyshire

Katy Derbyshire is a London-born translator who moved to Berlin in 1996. She has translated many contemporary German writers, including Felicitas Hoppe, Francis Nenik, Clemens Meyer, Inka Parei, Dorothee Elmiger, Simon Urban, Sibylle Lewitscharoff and Christa Wolf. She likes talking about books.

0 Kommentare

Neuester Kommentar