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13-July-2018   |   Edition: 001
BOOKLOG: GERMAN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

And why it’s worthwhile to have a closer look
 
Children's books by German authors

For Indianpublishers, German publishers can be attractive partners and vice versa! India,with its ethnic and cultural diversity and the plethora of books that deal withthis heritage, could open up and broaden the minds of German readers, youngones included. The German book market with its widespread topics will well beenriched by books from India!

Germanyhas a long tradition of children’s literature. One of the most popular Germanbooks for children, Der Struwwelpeter, written by Heinrich Hoffmann, wasfirst published in 1845. And who hasn’t heard of The Brothers Grimm! Theycollected folk tales in the first half of the nineteenth century and publishedthem for educational purposes.

Untilthe end of the nineteenth century children’s books focused merely onpedagogical topics. Modern German children’s literature, as we now see it,started with Erich Kästner’s Emil und die Detektive in 1929. Kästner bythen was already a very well-known and esteemed author of poems and essays foradult readers in Berlin. One day, publisher Edith Jacobsohn asked him to writea detective story for young readers. She ignored his unwillingness and made himwrite his first – and immediately successful – children’s book. Thanks to thepublisher, Erich Kästner’s great talent as a writer for both adult and youngreaders was discovered.

AfterWorld War Two, Germany saw a significant rise in children’s literature.English, American and Scandinavian originals did enjoy a remarkable marketshare and influence on the German children’s book market, the countrynevertheless produced some outstanding ‘home’ authors. Otfried Preußlerinfluenced little readers with his great novel Krabat. Michael Endewrote the famous fantasy books Momo and Die unendliche Geschichte(The Neverending Story) which has been adapted into films multiple times. Forhis younger readers, he wrote the very popular Jim Knopf und Lukasder Lokomotivführer (Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver). Writers likeJames Krüss and Paul Maar were ‘language acrobats’, whose poems encouragechildren to discover the joy of playing with words and rhymes.

Children’swriting in Germany has changed with times, moving away from a purely pedagogicapproach. German children’s literature now either focusses on social, politicalor private problems of children and their families, or has a fairytale-likemanner of storytelling. Mythical creatures like fairies, mermaids and unicornsinhabit books for the very young readers.

Contemporaryauthors are taking children’s problems seriously. Their novels always deal withthe actual situation of children in rapidly changing world. Kirsten Boie’scurrent series Thabo, centered on an African boy, introduces the readersto life in a difficult environment. Andreas Steinhöfel’s series Rico andOscar, a story about two boys living in Berlin, illustrates with empathythe problems children face in our fast-changing society.

Readershipof popular German children’s literature has gone global in the past few years.Many readers across the globe would remember devouring the fascinating InkheartTrilogy by Cornelia Funke, known as the German J K Rowling. Funke, aworld-renowned author, made German children’s literature known to many readersacross the globe. Her Tintenherz trilogy is published in nearly all majorlanguages and has made publishers worldwide interested in her oeuvre. Theauthors above are only the ones popular in publishing. There are many more thatthe world doesn’t know just as well.

Germanchildren’s book publishing is moving upwards in the market. They are proud topublish without limitation of topics, even for infants as young as 3 monthsold! Books for children and youth presently have a book market share of 16%.Each year they conquer the market with about 9, 000 novelties, most of which areGerman originals aside from 24% translated titles.

ForIndian publishers, German publishers can be attractive partners and vice versa!India, with its ethnic and


What’s Up, Frankfurt?!

GUEST OF HONOUR: FRANCE

From 11 to 15October 2017, France will be the Guest of Honour at the 69th FrankfurterBuchmesse, the most important event in the publishing sector, aimed at booktrade and publishing professionals throughout the world. On 22 September 2014,France’s former Prime Minister Manuel Valls offcially accepted this prestigiousproposal in Berlin, nearly 30 years after the last time France was Guest ofHonour, at the Frankfurter Buchmesse in 1989.

 

Since January2017, the Institut français is holding a programme of multi-disciplinary eventsthroughout the country, with the aim of exploring the diversity and renewal ofFrench and French-speaking cultures. During the course of the cultural year2017, numerous projects and events will echo the major themes of France’s appearanceas Guest of Honour (innovation, the French language, and youth). The Guest ofHonour at the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2017 will be particularly involved in themain festivals, fairs and trade shows in Germany and will be contributing toreading-tours, exhibitions, literary competitions in schools and colloquia atuniversities. In addition to the events supported by the Institut françaisGermany, French-language or Franco-German institutions can take part in theofficial programme entitled “Francfort en français / Frankfurt in French” bysubmitting their project or event for labeling through the website www.francfort2017.com.

BOOKFEST 10 to 15 October 2017

October is allabout literature and networking at Frankfurt. Building on last year, this yearthe Frankfurter Buchmesse (11-15 October 2017) is expanding its activitiesbeyond the exhibition grounds. BOOKFEST is an open platform in the city ofFrankfurt for events around literature and other content from the creativeindustries. Culture and literature lovers, digital pioneers and creative minds,the entire publishing world, fair guests as well as Frankfurt locals are allwarmly welcome at all of the events. 
Know more at http://www.buchmesse.de/en/fbf/after_fair_events/index.html




YOUNGTALENT RECEPTION

11October 2017

FrankfurterBuchmesse is delighted to announce its continued support of the publishingindustry’s movers and shakers by partnering with seven media partners andassociations and sponsoring several initiatives for Young Talent worldwide. Wewill be raising a toast to all those who have been nominated for the FrankfurtBook Fair 'Young Talent' initiatives around the world this year, and to all ourmedia partners who have so kindly supported us. Find out the details here.

 

 

CONTENTshift
12 October 2017

CONTENTshift is a three-monthfunding programme geared towards startups active in the content industry. Ourgoal is to make use of the synergies between startups and established companiesby bringing them together and firmly anchoring innovations in the industry.Meet this year’s five most promising startups, who are about to enter the greatnew publishing world, at the CONTENTshift Finale at THE ARTS+. All of them willhave the chance to pitch their particular business concept live on stage, butonly one will be CONTENT Startup of the Year and receive 10.000 Euro funding.

Be there to keep fingerscrossed for your favorite – or just be inspired by the most promising ideas inthe current publishing scene.

 

 

ORBANISMAWARD
13 October 2017
The ORBANISM AWARD,organised by Leander Wattig (ORBANISM) and the Frankfurt Book Fair, is theprize for live marketing in the social media and offline as well as for eventformats of all kinds in the area of ??cultureand media. The award ceremony in October is also intended as a party whichcelebrates the culmination of the year’s work.

This year thegreat Yarah Bravo is coming from Berlin to Frankfurt to play a complete concertfor us. Our DJ Stupid Deep, the young publishing men and the digital mediawomen are waiting for you. And the drinks are on ORBANISM! Everyone is invited,come by. We look forward to seeing you!


SONOPHILIA SPARK
14 October 2017


SONOPHILIA SPARK

Many new questions arise with the application of AI oncreative fields such as visual arts, literature or music. Now, the time hasarrived to discuss the impact of technology and to redefine arts & creativityin the age of AI. The SonophiliaSpark is a salon dedicated to opening in-depth discussions with worldwideexperts from the fields of creative AI, deep learning, business and arts.



FRANKFURT FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMME

The participants of the FrankfurtFellowship Programme have been selected. In 2017, 97 candidates from 42countries applied to participate in the Frankfurter Buchmesse internationalprogramme for young publishing professionals. Beginning on 1 October 2017, 16publishing professionals from 16 countries – including, for the first time,Iceland – will visit publishing companies and attend networking events inFrankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin. The highlight of the two-week programme is theFrankfurter Buchmesse (11-15 October 2017).



Philip Roth

The Art of Fiction No. 84
 
Renate Reichstein
 
I met Philip Roth after I had published a short book about his work for the Methuen Contemporary Writers Series. He read the book and wrote me a generous letter. After our first meeting, he sent me the fourth draft of The Anatomy Lesson, which we later talked about, because, in the final stages of writing a novel, Roth likes to get as much criticism and response as he can from a few interested readers. Just after he finished The Anatomy Lesson we began the Paris Review interview. We met in the early summer of 1983 at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, where Roth occasionally takes a room to work in when he’s visiting England. The room had been turned into a small, meticulously organized office—IBM golf-ball typewriter,

alphabetical file holders, Anglepoise lamps, dictionaries, aspirin, copyholder, felt-tip pens for correcting, a radio—with a few books on the mantelpiece, among them the recently published autobiography by Irving Howe, A Margin of Hope, Erik Erikson’s Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History, Leonard Woolf’s autobiography, David Magarshaek’s Chekhov, John Cheever’s Oh What a Paradise It Seems, Fordyce’s Behavioral Methods for Chronic Pain and Illness (useful for Zuckerman), Claire Bloom’s autobiography, Limelight and After, and some Paris Review interviews. We talked in this businesslike cell for a day and a half, pausing only for meals. I was looked after with great thoughtfulness. Roth’s manner, which matches his appearance—subdued, conventional clothes, gold-rimmed spectacles, the look of a quiet professional American visitor to London, perhaps an academic or a lawyer—is courteous, mild, and responsive. He listens carefully to everything, makes lots of quick jokes, and likes to be amused. Just underneath this benign appearance there is a ferocious concentration and mental rapacity; everything is grist for his mill, no vagueness is tolerated, differences of opinion are pounced on greedily, and nothing that might be useful is let slip. Thinking on his feet, he develops his ideas through a playful use of figurative language—as much as a way of avoiding confessional answers (though he can be very direct) as of interesting himself. The transcripts from this taped conversation were long, absorbing, funny, disorganized, and repetitive. I edited them down to a manageable size and sent my version on to him. Then there was a long pause while he went back to America and The Anatomy Lesson was published. Early in 1984, on his next visit to England, we resumed; he revised my version and we talked about the revision until it acquired its final form. I found this process extremely interesting. The mood of the interview had changed in the six months between his finishing a novel and starting new work; it became more combative and buoyant. And the several drafts in themselves displayed Roth’s methods of work: raw chunks of talk were processed into stylish, energetic, concentrated prose, and the return to past thoughts generated new ideas. The result provides an example, as well as an account, of Philip Roth’s presentation of himself.

How do you get started on a new book?
Beginning a book is unpleasant. I’m entirely uncertain about the character and the predicament, and a character in his predicament is what I have to begin with. Worse than not knowing your subject is not knowing how to treat it, because that’s finally everything. I type out beginnings and they’re awful, more of an unconscious parody of my previous book than the breakaway from it that I want. I need something driving down the center of a book, a magnet to draw everything to it—that’s what I look for during the first months of writing something new. I often have to write a hundred pages or more before there’s a paragraph that’s alive. Okay, I say to myself, that’s your beginning, start there; that’s the first paragraph of the book. I’ll go over the first six months of work and underline in red a paragraph, a sentence, sometimes no more than a phrase, that has some life in it, and then I’ll type all these out on one page. Usually it doesn’t come to more than one page, but if I’m lucky, that’s the start of page one. I look for the liveliness to set the tone. After the awful beginning come the months of freewheeling play, and after the play come the crises, turning against your material and hating the book.

How much of a book is in your mind before you start?
What matters most isn’t there at all. I don’t mean the solutions to problems, I mean the problems themselves. You’re looking, as you begin, for what’s going to resist you. You’re looking for trouble. Sometimes in the beginning uncertainty arises not because the writing is difficult, but because it isn’t difficult enough. Fluency can be a sign that nothing is happening; fluency can actually be my signal to stop, while being in the dark from sentence to sentence is what convinces me to go on.

Must you have a beginning? Would you ever begin with an ending?
For all I know I am beginning with the ending. My page one can wind up a year later as page two hundred, if it’s still even around.

What happens to those hundred or so pages that you have left over? Do you save them up?
I generally prefer never to see them again.

The force of the attack would be, in part, that the female characters are unsympathetically treated, for instance that Lucy Nelson in When She Was Good is hostilely presented.
Don’t elevate that by calling it a “feminist” attack. That’s just stupid reading. Lucy Nelson is a furious adolescent who wants a decent life. She is presented as better than her world and conscious of being better. She is confronted and opposed by men who typify deeply irritating types to many women. She is the protector of a passive, defenseless mother whose vulnerability drives her crazy. She happens to be raging against aspects of middle-class American life that the new militant feminism was to identify as the enemy only a few years after Lucy’s appearance in print—hers might even be thought of as a case of premature feminist rage. When She Was Gooddeals with Lucy’s struggle to free herself from the terrible disappointment engendered in a daughter by an irresponsible father. It deals with her hatred of the father he was and her yearning for the father he couldn’t be. It would be sheer idiocy, particularly if this were a feminist attack, to contend that such powerful feelings of loss and contempt and shame do not exist in the daughters of drunks, cowards, and criminals. There is also the helpless mama’s boy Lucy marries, and her hatred of his incompetence and professional innocence. Is there no such thing in the world as marital hatred? That will come as news to all the rich divorce lawyers, not to mention to Thomas Hardy and Gustave Flaubert. By the way, is Lucy’s father treated “hostilely” because he’s a drunk and a petty thief who ends up in jail? Is Lucy’s husband treated “hostilely” because he happens to be a big baby? Is the uncle who tries to destroy Lucy “hostilely” treated because he’s a brute? This is a novel about a wounded daughter who has more than sufficient cause to be enraged with the men in her life. She is only “hostilely” presented if it’s an act of hostility to recognize that young women can be wounded and young women can be enraged. I’d bet there are even some enraged and wounded women who are feminists. You know, the dirty little secret is no longer sex; the dirty little secret is hatred and rage. It’s the tirade that’s taboo. Odd that this should be so a hundred years after Dostoyevsky (and fifty after Freud), but nobody nice likes to be identified with the stuff. It’s the way folks used to feel about fellatio in the good old days. “Me? Never heard of it. Disgusting.” But is it “hostile,” really, to take a look at the ferocity of the emotion they call “hostility”? When She Was Good is not serving the cause—that’s true. The anger of this young woman isn’t presented to be endorsed with a hearty “Right on!” that will move the populace to action. The nature of the anger is examined, as is the depth of the wound. So are the consequences of the anger, for Lucy as for everyone. I hate to have to be the one to say it, but the portrait isn’t without its poignancy. I don’t mean by poignancy what the compassionate book reviewers call “compassion.” I mean you see the suffering that real rage is.

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