5 questions to Nora & Lily from IDEOGRAMMA

In our online series “5 Fragen an…” (“5 questions to…”) we usually pose five questions to Berlin literary activists. As the CROWD-Conference in Berlin is taking place at the beginning of February, we decided to go a bit further and take the cahnce to introduce Lettrétage’s international CROWD-partners. Lisa Lettrétage first spoke to Nora Hadjisotiriou and Lily Michaelides from IDEOGRAMMA, the Cypriot CROWD-partner.

IDEOGRAMMA emphasises and supports cultural exchange between Cypriot and International culture. How does literature enable or facilitate such cultural exchange?

Ideogramma believes that one’s language is an inherent part of one’s history, culture and past and the preservation of all languages is one of Ideogramma’s objectives. For this reason all writers and poets at Ideogramma’s events are encouraged to read in the original language and / or dialect that the text / poem is written in. The same is true of all the publications which are trilingual; the text in the original language and in translation in Greek and English. Continue reading “5 questions to Nora & Lily from IDEOGRAMMA”

Moshabak-Nights: Interview with Mudar Alhaggi, founder of NAWRAS

Moshabak-Nights return this Friday (19.01.) to the Lettrétage and will so again in February (16.02.). We were lucky enough to get a short interview with Mudar Alhaggi, the founder of NAWRAS, about all things Moshabak and the meaning of NAWRAS.

The internet-research for the meaning of Moshabak and NAWRAS brings up only a few results. How should these names be understood? Is there a history and meaning to this that eludes non-syrians?

The idea of the name “Nawras” came through the Arabic meaning of the word “seagull”, which is a seabird that can be seen upon the shores of the whole world. It became a metaphor for the group as many Syrians have had to cross over the seas to arrive to the shores of the new land. Seagulls are one of the first and most familiar things one sees when arriving on new terrain that gives the sense of being home. Moshabak is a traditional sweet in Syrian culture while at the same time it derives from the word “network” meaning to connect, which is what these nights are all about.

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Sharmilla from Speaking Volumes talks about her ventures in literature

Speaking Volumes are producers of literary events that focus on international authors of color who perform their literature rather on stage – in very different fashion. Sharmilla and her partners have curated a great program with four authors from different directions of the world which they will be presenting in Berlin, 16 November at Lettrétage.

Published originally on the CROWD Blog.

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David Keplinger: Another City

Interview conducted by Thomas Maier

TM: David, first of all thank you for taking the time. I did some research and came across a wonderful sentence in a review of “The Most Natural Thing”. The critic wrote “Keplinger creates unusual conversations among the poems: when the book is closed, Flash Gordon lives beside the French Symbolists, a sexual encounter at a teenager’s first job beside Vasco da Gama.” I was under the very same expression, there are a lot of seemingly disparant elements, but those are at the same time exquisitly connected by your voice. What interests you about these variances, this juxtapposition that then again turns out to not really be one at all? Continue reading “David Keplinger: Another City”

Sivuvalo – literary activism at its best

 Sivuvalo is literary activism at its best. The network/publishing company that works across national borders to promote non-Finnish literature from Finland is a fresh way for literature in a globalized world.

In a globalized world literature and the literary market are yet jetlagged. Slowly publishers and foremost independent networkers, writers and organizers are catching up on a development nobody can call recent anymore. Even big publishing companies that are specializing in the book market recognize the need to transform their portfolio to a broader and more international approach.

But this is still new and untestified ground for the literary world. For literature it can very well be said that it’s inhabited by coteries of increasingly problematic posts – post-colonialism, race, nation, gender, modernism, amongst others – when it goes international. And the hybrid spaces that are created by that carry the weight of weariness from the reader and writer as well. Continue reading “Sivuvalo – literary activism at its best”

Daniela Seel in conversation with Cia Rinne and Gernot Wieland

Translated from German by Hester Underhill

7 days, 2 artists, 1 location – Two new artists are coming together every week to create a new event at Lettrétage as part of the CON_TEXT project.

Poet and publisher Daniela Seel met with CON_TEXT artists, Cia Rinne and Gernot Wieland, at Lettrétage. This is what they had to say.

Daniela Seel: Let’s start at the beginning – what made you decide to work together? Why were you interested by each other?

Cia Rinne: I think I was very irrational. I liked Gernot a lot from the off and could imagine myself working well with him. The only thing was that, unlike with the other possible partners I could have had, I did not have a clear idea what the two of us could do together. That sort of open-endedness poses a kind of challenge that I really like. The way we work is rather different to how I am used to working – I’m really glad that we met. Selecting our partners was a mixed experience. Meeting the other artists was great but it was also tainted by the fact that we would imminently have to pick out partners to work with, which is always an awkward thing to have to do.

Gernot Wieland: I also think that the conditions set out for us were peculiar. What would have happened if all ten of the artists wanted to work with Cia and no one wanted to work with another author? The chemistry was right between us, that’s all. But I equally don’t know how else you could organise it.

DS: The teams were finalised by the end of 2016; you had to be ready to present by late January. You must have had to move insanely fast?

GW: In the world of fine arts, there are different types of people. You’ve got certain people who like to go to their workshops, throw on their overalls and get cracking that way. I’m more of a “deadline artist” – I get invited to do a project that has a theme and a deadline and I create a piece of work for it. That’s what helps me.

Continue reading “Daniela Seel in conversation with Cia Rinne and Gernot Wieland”