This winter I was invited for the first time to curate a literature festival – a smallish one, with a co-curator, Paul North of Yale University. We were asked to select six younger German-speaking writers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland – two from each country – to come to New York and present their work in English-language translations to an American audience. In three weeks, the Festival Neue Literatur – German for “festival of new literature” – will present the authors we chose: Andrea Grill and Andrea Winkler of Austria, Dorothee Elmiger and Peter Weber of Switzerland, and Julia Schoch and Antje Ravic Strubel of Germany. They will be joined on panels and readings by two wonderful American writers, Francine Prose and Rivka Galchen. Organizing the festival proved complicated beyond my wildest imaginings, but now that all the details have been worked out, I am thrilled to be able to present the work of these writers to a new audience. They will be reading from and speaking about their novels on two early-evening panels the weekend of Feb. 12/13. In addition, at noon on Sunday, Feb. 13, NYU’s Deutsches Haus will host a Frühschoppen featuring micro-readings by all eight authors along with a traditional German brunch of sausages and beer; the word Frühschoppen used to mean a glass of beer consumed in the morning, especially on a Sunday, but now it is used more broadly to indicate a brunch or late-morning gathering, particularly one involving a discussion of some sort. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP to the Frühschoppen.
And here’s the scoop on the two evening panels:
Saturday Feb. 12: “The Future of the Novel,” featuring Peter Weber, Andrea Winkler, Andrea Grill and Rivka Galchen, with moderator Paul North, to be held at Powerhouse Arena at 37 Main Street in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood (first Brooklyn stop on the A, C or F trains), 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday Feb. 13: “Writing and Memory,” with Antje Ravic Strubel, Julia Schoch, Dorothee Elmiger and Francine Prose, moderated by me, at Idlewild Books, 12 W. 19th St. @ 5th Ave., 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
There’ll be receptions as part of both events, with time to mingle with the authors and fellow book-lovers.
For more detailed descriptions of the events along with information about the authors and excerpts from their books, see the festival website. The festival is a co-production of the Goethe Institut, the Austrian Cultural Forum, Deutsches Haus, the German Book Office, the Consulate General of Switzerland and ProHelvetia, the Swiss Arts Council.
I hope you’ll come out for some great storytelling! It’s a guaranteed cure for the winter blues.