I am delighted to introduce issue 33 of New Books in German
: spring is finally springing here in London and our bright yellow plumage captures the vernal mood. After the focus on Berlin and Zurich in our previous issues, we now head to Vienna, Austria’s capital, to savour the diverse literary life of the city on the Danube. Mary Penman’s article on Vienna’s Book Fair and ‘Festival of Reading’, Lesefestwoche
, captures the variety of literary offerings throughout the city during one of Austria’s newest and most imaginative literary festivals. Samuel Willcocks’ piece on Vienna’s independent publishing scene
showcases some of the forward-thinking and innovative publishers who are a vital force behind Austria’s new literary talent. And we hear about last summer’s inspirational gathering at the European Literature Days
, set amid the breathtaking scenery of Spitz an der Donau.
This issue is chock-full of reviews of new work by gifted Austrian writers. The first four novels profiled in these pages, by Eva Menasse
, Barbara Frischmuth
, Robert Schindel
and Michael Köhlmeier
, demonstrate the breadth of high quality writing in contemporary Austria. We also feature an interview with Ross Benjamin, the US translator of Austrian literary superstar Clemens J. Setz
, revealing fascinating insights into the unique style and composition of his latest novel, Indigo
. As a testament to the vibrancy of Austrian literary life, the authors of two of our four debut novels – Anita Augustin
and Isabella Straub
– were born in Austria, while the remaining two – Hannes Stein
and Pyotr Magnus Nedov
– were raised there.
In addition, we feature a review of the extraordinary oeuvre of established Austrian author Gerhard Roth
, while our ‘Forgotten Gem’ highlights a neglected novel by Rudolf Brunngraber
New Books in German is always a collaborative effort by people who are passionate about German-language literature, and this issue has particularly benefitted from the involvement of our steering and editorial committees, the hard work by Grace Moss at the German Book Office in New York, and the dedication of our editorial assistants: Jen Calleja, Carly McLaughlin and Helen Rutley. Special thanks are due to our editorial consultant Sheridan Marshall, whose boundless enthusiasm and creativity have given this issue its spark. We hope that, in time-honoured Viennese fashion, you will sit back with some ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’ and enjoy reading this issue as much as we have enjoyed putting it together.
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