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Wolfgang Hilbig (1941–2007) was one of the major German writers to emerge in the postwar era. Though raised in East Germany, he proved so troublesome to the authorities that in 1985 he was granted permission to emigrate to the West. The author of more than twenty books, he received virtually all of Germany’s major literary prizes, capped by the 2002 Georg Büchner Prize, Germany’s highest literary honor.
Translator
Isabel Fargo Cole’s translations include The Sleep of the Righteous, by Wolfgang Hilbig (Two Lines Press); Boys and Murderers by Hermann Ungar (Twisted Spoon Press, 2006); All the Roads Are Open by Annemarie Schwarzenbach (Seagull Books, 2011); and The Jew Car by Franz Fühmann (Seagull Books, 2013).
Translator
Katy Derbyshire is a London-born translator who lives in Berlin. She translates contemporary German writers including Inka Parei, Clemens Meyer, Helene Hegemann, Simon Urban, and Christa Wolf. Derbyshire writes about German books and translation at her blog love german books, co-edits the no-mans-land.org online journal, co-hosts Berlin’s monthly translation lab, and leads translation workshops.
Author
Inka Parei is the recipient of the 2003 Ingeborg Bachmann Prize. Her novels The Shadow-Boxing Woman, What Darkness Was, and The Cold Centre were translated into English by Katy Derbyshire and published by Seagull Books.
Author
Ingo Schulze was born in Dresden and studied classical philology at the University of Jena. His first book, 33 Moments of Happiness, won two prestigious German literary awards: the Alfred Döblin Prize and the Ernst Willner Prize for Literature. In 2007 he was awarded both the Leipzig Book Fair Prize and the Thuringia Literature Prize. He is a member of the German Academy for Language and Literature.
October 9, 2015

A Celebration of German Author Wolfgang Hilbig

Brecht-Haus | Chausseestraße 125 | Berlin

This event has already taken place.

“Wolfgang Hilbig is an artist of immense stature.”
— László Krasznahorkai, winner of the 2015 International Man Booker Prize

To mark this long-overdue arrival into English, we planned a Hilbig celebration in Berlin with translator Isabel Fargo Cole—responsible for both of these English-language translations—plus two award-winning German authors who have been greatly influenced by Hilbig: Ingo Schulze and Inka Parei. Noted translator of German fiction and lover of German books, Katy Derbyshire, moderated the conversation.

This English/German bilingual conversation ranged widely over Hilbig’s life and circumstances, his influence, and his importance as a German writer. It also covered translation issues surrounding Isabel’s work with him, and Isabel’s own interactions with Hilbig before he died of cancer in 2007.


AUDIO TABLE OF CONTENTS

0:00 Introductions

8:56 Reading by Isabel Fargo Cole (English)

15:50 First encounters with Hilbig
—(Isabel in English at 23:26)

28:35 Isabel’s experiences with Wolfgang Hilbig in person (English)

30:00 Ingo Schulze reads his personal thoughts in Hilbig

40:25 Reading from “Bottles in the Cellar” (English)

50:50 Hilbig’s influence on the panel’s writing
—(Katy Derbyshire and Isabel in English at 57:00)

1:11:53 Isabel’s struggles getting Hilbig published in English (English)

1:16:40 Audience Q & A (English)

Wolfgang Hilbig (1941–2007) was one of the major German writers to emerge in the postwar era. Though raised in East Germany, he proved so troublesome to the authorities that in 1985 he was granted permission to emigrate to the West. The author of more than twenty books, he received virtually all of Germany’s major literary prizes, capped by the 2002 Georg Büchner Prize, Germany’s highest literary honor.
Translator
Isabel Fargo Cole’s translations include The Sleep of the Righteous, by Wolfgang Hilbig (Two Lines Press); Boys and Murderers by Hermann Ungar (Twisted Spoon Press, 2006); All the Roads Are Open by Annemarie Schwarzenbach (Seagull Books, 2011); and The Jew Car by Franz Fühmann (Seagull Books, 2013).
Translator
Katy Derbyshire is a London-born translator who lives in Berlin. She translates contemporary German writers including Inka Parei, Clemens Meyer, Helene Hegemann, Simon Urban, and Christa Wolf. Derbyshire writes about German books and translation at her blog love german books, co-edits the no-mans-land.org online journal, co-hosts Berlin’s monthly translation lab, and leads translation workshops.
Author
Inka Parei is the recipient of the 2003 Ingeborg Bachmann Prize. Her novels The Shadow-Boxing Woman, What Darkness Was, and The Cold Centre were translated into English by Katy Derbyshire and published by Seagull Books.
Author
Ingo Schulze was born in Dresden and studied classical philology at the University of Jena. His first book, 33 Moments of Happiness, won two prestigious German literary awards: the Alfred Döblin Prize and the Ernst Willner Prize for Literature. In 2007 he was awarded both the Leipzig Book Fair Prize and the Thuringia Literature Prize. He is a member of the German Academy for Language and Literature.