This summer took me to Germany for resolutely non-digital encounters. At the end of June, I joined fourteen UK and US editors on a tour of the publishing scenes of Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin, organised by the Frankfurter Buchmesse. The trip reinforced the value of face-to-face encounters, providing opportunities to see how German-language books are published and sold, and for relaxed discussions with our German counterparts. Real-life encounters like these are becoming increasingly important as more of our communication is digitised, and here at NBG we have spent the summer reflecting on those digital interactions. What is the status of the literary blog today, and how does it impact on the work that we do promoting literature in translation?
Our opening interview is with the first blogger to join the German Book Prize jury, Uwe Kalkowski. And a fine array of books he has been reading this year, with six of the long-listed titles reviewed in these pages. Long-awaited new novels by literary heavyweights María Cecilia Barbetta and Nino Haratischwili provide evidence once again of the broad intercultural capacity of German-language literature. Taking us from 1970s Argentina to 1990s Chechnya, these majestic tales of political and religious faith, of hope and revenge, are amongst our warmest recommendations of the season. They join novels that take us back to nineteenth-century London, to 1930s Vienna, to Prague in the 1960s, and right up to contemporary Germany, Austria and Switzerland, all showcasing the impressive range of voices in German-language literature today. Whether digital or in print, these encounters with the written word enrich, challenge, provoke and enthuse. We look forward to the discussions – both on- and offline – that they inspire.
Charlotte Ryland, Editor