Books© Goethe-Institut

Where we come from

The search for identity, village tales, German lives: despite the corona virus 2020 is a strong year for books.
By Christoph Schröder
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Wie Fliegenpilz Henri das Laufen lernte, um einen Baum zu retten© Fischerverlage

Ecology & Sustainability in Recently Published Children's Books

Children's book tips about “Climate, Environment and Nature” by Antje Ehmann.
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Jürgen Becker and Alexandros Kypriotis© Goethe-Institut Athens

Literary Translation
Interview with Jürgen Becker and Alexandros Kypriotis

Jürgen Becker is acting Director of the Literary Colloquium Berlin (LCB).
Alexandros Kypriotis is editor of the Litrix programme 2019-20.
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Monika Rinck Alle Türen© pixabay/free-photos, © S. Fischer Verlag, © Kookbooks Verlag

The Serving Suggestions of a Poem: Translating Poetry as an Extreme Sport

Everyone who translates poetry has probably experienced some variation of the following scene at least once in their lives: you’re sitting or standing at a gathering with a glass in your hands that is half full or half empty,...
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Tom Schulz Carl-Christian Elze Monika Rinck© Hanser Berlin / Verlagshaus Berlin / S. Fischer

The Flip Flopping of Thought

The 2019 Poetry of the Year is adventurous and lively.

While the young may prefer to wander far and wide in search of happiness, older people look for it in front of their door:[more …]

Manolis PiblisManolis Piblis / © Griechische Kulturstiftung

Book Market
Is the Greek book crisis now history?

A look at Greek literature and the book market offers real grounds for hope

The Greek book market is small, but interesting. Historically speaking, the end of Greece’s military dictatorship - which lasted from 1967 to 1974 – marked a major turning point in the story of modern Greek publishing. In 1974, everything changed.[more …]

 © Suhrkamp / Rowohlt

New novels with new features
Is “Broken German” better than German Introspection?

When the shortlist for the 2018 German Book Prize was disclosed in September 2018, it was said that the state of the world seemed to be preying on the minds of German-language writers. A perfect example of this was Inger Maria Mahlke’s novel, “Archipel” (Rowohlt), which won the book prize in October 2018.[more …]

Non-Fiction Trends
Searching for Our Identity

When the 2018 year in books began, the big non-fiction theme already seemed to be settled: 1968. After all, the student revolt of that year was just experiencing its fiftieth anniversary. [more …]

Story-telling for today
New trends in German-language literature for children and young adults

Whether it’s bite-resistant board-books for littlies or teenage novels focusing largely on the challenges of identity, whether it’s graphic novels for children or deeply researched non-fiction books aimed at readers ‘of all ages’[more …]

Cultural Bridge Builder

The Greek-German literature symposium “SYN_ENERGY BERLIN_ATHENS,” which took place at the Lettrétage in Berlin from October 17-21, 2018, featured over 20 poets, prose writers, playwrights, translators, word performance artists, essayists and publishers from Greece, Cyprus, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. [more …]

Vice Versa Übersetzerwerkstatt im Literaturhaus München© Goethe-Institut

ViceVersa: German-Arabic Translation Workshop
The dialogue continues: "We translators are all in the same boat."

After the positive feedback we received from the July 2017 German-Arabic ViceVersa translator workshop, all of the participants have joined forces again for yet another workshop in May 2018.
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Vice Versa Übersetzerwerkstatt im Literaturhaus München© Goethe-Institut

ViceVersa: German-Arabic Translation Workshop
The dialogue continues: "We translators are all in the same boat."

After the positive feedback we received from the July 2017 German-Arabic ViceVersa translator workshop, all of the participants have joined forces again for yet another workshop in May 2018.
 [more …]

Booktuber Nada and Shady© Goethe-Institut

Successful in Egypt as well: Booktubing

Booktubing, which refers to self-produced videos that present literature online, has turned into a major trend that resonates powerfully with audiences across the Internet. Nada Elshabrawy was the first Egyptian to create her own professional Booktubing channel in 2017. In her videos, which she produces on a regular basis, she talks about books that are near to her heart. Shady also produces shows online that offer tips on literature. In an interview, the two discuss this new trend, their passion for literature and the response of the public in the Arabic world.
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Lüscher in Kairo© Goethe-Institut

Literary Translation
Jonas Lüscher in Cairo: When author and translator join forces

The Swiss author Jonas Lüscher and his Arabic translator Moataz al-Maghawari spent five days end of September to clear up last questions about the philosophical, political and cultural context of Lüscher's recent novel "Kraft" and to fine-tune the style of the Arabic translation.[more …]

Reinhard Kleist Traum von OlympiaReinhard Kleist © / Traum von Olympia © Calrsen Verlag

Reinhard Kleist: Protest, Love, Everyday Life: Traveling through the Arabic Comic Book Scene

Reinhard Kleist is one of Germany’s finest graphic-novel illustrators and has traveled the Arab world extensively, discovering a fascinating local comics scene. In 2017, his volume "The Dream of Olympia" appeared in Arabic translation with Sefsafa Publishing House in Cairo.[more …]

Nabil Al Haffar© Nabil Al Haffar

Literary Translation
“Each language has its own structures and idiosyncrasies. But they're not sacred.”

Nabil Alhaffar is considered one of the most renowned and experienced translators in the business and has received numerous awards for his work. In 1974, he began translating theater texts and thereafter novels, stories and fairy tales from German into Arabic. In an interview with, he discusses his work as a translator and the challenges it presents. His advice to young translators: always distance yourself from the original text.[more …]

Arabische Übersetzerwerkstatt im Literaturhaus München 2017© Goethe-Institut

ViceVersa: German-Arabic Translation Workshop
The Inside Story

When translators gather to discuss their projects, there is never enough time, regardless how much is available. Every aspect of the work is considered, reworked, deliberated, debated, doubted, questioned, turned around, discarded, restructured, reformulated.[more …]

Arabic Comics© Shennawy

Arabic Comics
Often Political, always Art

An exciting look at a creative scene: The Egyptian comic artist Shennawy and others discussed “new Arabic comics” at the Frankfurt Book Fair.[more …]

Internationale Jugendbibliothek München© IJB

International Youth Library
Children’s Literature, A Cultural Heritage

In the picturesque Blutenburg Castle in Munich resides the world’s largest library for international children’s and youth literature. But it is anything but a dreamy castle of books.[more …]

Comic translator Ulrich PröfrockIllustration (detail): © Reinhard-Kleist

Translating Comics
“Encroaching on the drawings is taboo”

Text and pictures are more closely interwoven in comics than in any other literary genre. In our interview, comic translator Ulrich Pröfrock reveals why this makes life particularly challenging for translators, and which freedoms they have.[more …]

Internationale Buchmesse Sharjah 2016© Goethe Institut Gulf Region

International Book Fair Sharjah
Binding Incentives to Encourage People to Read

During the course of the International Book Fair in the Sharjah Emirate, which took place from November 2 - 12, the United Arab Emirates issued a law which regulates how the government creates incentives to read.[more …]

Kafka in the Arabic World
Conversation About Literature at the Leipzig Book Fair

Franz Kafka is one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. What exactly fascinates Arabic readers about Kafka’s life and works? What role do his texts play in shaping aesthetic and intellectual perspectives in the Arabic-speaking world?[more …]

Ulla Lenze's Reading Tour in Egypt© Sherif Bakr

Ulla Lenze's Reading Tour in Egypt

From March 26-30, Berlin-based author Ulla Lenze was invited by to present her novel, “Die Endlose Stadt” [The Endless City] in Cairo and Alexandria.[more …]

The Arab World – (not) an unlimited bookmarket?© Photo: Mirko Lux

Frankfurt Book Fair 2015
The Arab World – (not) an unlimited bookmarket?

With the increasing efforts to revive the book market in the Arab world by publishers and cultural institutions, intermittently hindered by economic, political and social factors, the limitations of this market are yet to be explored and redefined.[more …]

Jens Rassmus in Ramallah© Matthieu Jeuland

Children's Books and Illustration
“Can I play too?” In Ramallah

A child, a football and a search for friends to play with: "Kann ich mitspielen?" [Can I play too?] is the title of Jens Rassmus' children's book, which was translated into Arabic and published in Ramallah. In March 2016, the book was presented along with a workshop for illustrators from Gaza and the West Bank.[more …]

Shoshana Liessmann, Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, Donata Kinzelbach and Yassin Adnan at the Leipzig Book Fair Photo: Andreas WünschirsPhoto: Andreas Wünschirs

Literature in the Maghreb
“First poetry, then journalism”

At the Leipzig Book Fair, the Moroccan author Yassin Adnan spoke with Klaus-Dieter Lehman and Donata Kinzelbach about the impact of the Arabellion on writers in the Maghreb. This is an interview with Kersten Knipp.[more …]

Aktuelle LiteraturFoto: (c) Goethe-Institut

Current themes
History, Homeland, Work Worlds

Contemporary literature written in German has grown remarkably heterogeneous, diverse and broad in its range of topics. Nonetheless, it is possible to identify a few areas authors are choosing to focus on.[more …]