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19 March 2019   |   Edition: 299
"German Stories" in Taipei

“German Stories” will be the theme of Germany’s presentation at the Taipei International Book Exhibition from 12 to 17 February 2019. “German Stories” represents the diversity of stories that Germany has to tell: the wide-ranging cultural programme on offer at the German collective stand explores literary highlights, as well as socio-political and book trade themes. 13 German writers will present their works together with Taiwanese authors at the fair: Dr Regina Bittner, Theresia Enzensberger, Sebastian Fitzek, Arne Jysch, Marc-Uwe Kling, Miriam Meckel, Axel Scheffler, Wilhelm Schmid, Ronen Steinke, Stephan Thome, Holger Volland, Ferdinand von Schirach and Alexander von Schönburg. Complementing these literary voices are explorations of topical social issues – including the impact of artificial intelligence and technology on society – and issues that have resonance in Taiwan, such as coming to terms with the past and defining justice. 

Dr Andreas Görgen, Head of the Directorate-General for Culture and Communication at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin, said: “I am delighted that Germany will be Guest of Honour at the Taipei International Book Exhibition for the second time, as fostering and promoting German-Taiwanese relations, particularly in the fields of culture and business, is especially important to us. That is why our presentation showcases not only Germany’s literary diversity, but also wider aspects of our culture, such as architecture and design ‘made in Germany’”. 

“The Frankfurter Buchmesse has had a close relationship with the Taipei International Book Exhibition for many years – whether as an exhibitor, consultant or curator of the professional programme. This year, Germany’s presentation as Guest of Honour offers an excellent opportunity to strengthen the deep ties between the German and Taiwanese publishing sectors”, said Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurter Buchmesse. “We are forging links between German and Taiwanese publishers, and thereby helping to boost the rights business in the long term”, Boos added. ”In particular, we hope to give the public an up-to-date picture of the very latest German fiction and non-fiction through our events programme, which features a number of authors visiting from Germany.” 

“The Goethe-Institut Taipei organises and supports a broad spectrum of cultural events in order to showcase German culture in Taiwan and to promote German-Taiwanese and intercultural exchange”, explained Jens Rösler, Director of the Goethe-Institut Taipei. “Taiwan has a strong reading culture, and Taiwanese readers have a tremendous intellectual curiosity and interest in German publications and debates. This provides an ideal basis for our partnership, and is why we have been working with the Taipei International Book Exhibition for a number of years. We are delighted that, thanks to Germany’s participation as Guest of Honour at the Taipei International Book Exhibition, in close cooperation with the Frankfurter Buchmesse, we are able to take our collaboration and cultural partnership with our Taiwanese partner institutions and friends to a new level.” 

The Guest of Honour programme is conceived, planned and organised by Frankfurter Buchmesse, Goethe-Institut Taipei and German Institute Taipei, working in close collaboration. These partners are also liaising closely with the Taipei Book Fair Foundation, which organises the fair, and with local publishers and agencies. Germany’s appearance as Guest of Honour is financially supported by the Federal Foreign Office. 

Bauhaus, Burnout, Blueprint – cultural programme at the stand 

Alongside current German literature, the German collective stand will showcase culture and design from Germany. To mark the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus in 2019, Germany’s Guest of Honour presentation will devote particular attention to this legendary movement. The design of the 414m2 German collective stand draws on elements of Bauhaus. Visitors will also have the chance to slip into costumes from Oskar Schlemmer’s “Triadisches Ballett” (Triadic Ballet) and to capture the moment with a photo. The costumes for this interactive experience are inspired by Schlemmer’s own drawings and designs, and were conceived and produced in collaboration with the award-winning Frankfurt-based refugee initiative “Stitch by Stitch”. 

/ Read the complete press release here.
/ To know more about the Taipei International Book Exhibition and/or the Frankfurter Buchmesse, click here.
/ For media queries, contact Angela Albert, Project Manager, German Book Office New Delhi | albert@newdelhi.gbo.org | +91 11 6617 2441

Applications open for the 2019 FBM fellowships and grants

International networking and knowledge sharing are the focus of the Frankfurter Buchmesse (16-20 October 2019) fellowship and grant programmes. Applications are now open for three international programmes: the Frankfurt Fellowship, the Frankfurt Invitation Programme and the new funding programme for translators of literature and non-fiction – Frankfurt International Translators. Publishers, editors, rights and licensing managers, literary agents and literary translators from around the world can submit applications for these programmes now; the application deadline is 30 April 2019.


Dates of the programme:
 14-17 October 2019

The Frankfurt International Translators Programme is aimed at international literary and non-fiction translators translating from the German language. Up to thirty translators from all around the world will be selected by Frankfurter Buchmesse to take part in an exclusive exchange and networking programme in Frankfurt. The programme will take place from 14 to 17 October 2019 in Frankfurt, and is organised by Frankfurter Buchmesse with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office.

The Frankfurt International Translators Programme offers you a unique opportunity to extend your international network at the most important content trade fair.

/ Participation in expert seminars/ Invitation to the official opening ceremony of Frankfurter Buchmesse and the Guest of Honour Pavilion
/ Visit to Frankfurter Buchmesse and selected BOOKFEST events on 16 and 17 October
/ Networking with publishers, authors and cultural institutions


Frankfurt Fellows 2018 © Frankfurter Buchmesse / Nurettin Ciçek

Supporting the next Generation of Publishers in building up their international Network.

Dates of the programme: 5 to 20 October 2019

First launched to mark the 50th anniversary of Frankfurter Buchmesse in 1998, the Frankfurter Buchmesse Fellowship Programme celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018. So far, over 350 publishing experts from more than 60 countries have benefitted from this  experience. The Frankfurt Fellowship Programme focuses on exchanging information, fostering professional dialogue and growing young international publishers' networks. The Fellowship participants visit publishing houses and booksellers in three German cities, attend market presentations, have matchmaking events and dinners, and benefit from many further networking opportunities.

In 2018, 105 candidates from 42 countries applied to participate in the Frankfurter Buchmesse's international programme for young publishing professionals. Find out more about the 16 Frankfurt Fellows of 2018 and the 2018 edition in the press release.

NEW: Thanks to the cooperation with the SBVV and the Pro Helvetia Cultural Foundation, the Frankfurt Fellows will also travel to Switzerland in 2019.


Frankfurt Invitation Programme 2018 © Frankfurter Buchmesse / Nurettin Ciçek


Dates of the programme: 10 - 21 October 2019.

The Invitation Programme offers small independent publishing companies from Africa, the Arab world, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean the chance to participate in the world's biggest book fair. 

For publishing companies from these regions, globalisation is a two-edged sword. Access to the world market seems easier thanks to all-pervasive communications. At the same time, the advance of new conglomerates makes it harder to break into the market. The main goal of the Frankfurter Buchmesse Invitation Programme is to guarantee the presence of a select group of around 20 publishing houses at the industry's biggest get-together.
The guest publishers attend a two-and-a-half-day seminar before the Book Fair, which provides wide-ranging information on the German book market and international publishing.


In case of queries, please contact
Angela Albert, Project Manager, German Book Office New Delhi
albert@newdelhi.gbo.org | +91 11 6617 2441

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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