2019 was an eventful year: We have published 21 books, one calendar and there were 62 events with our authors and translators.
It started with poetry
The first publication of the year was the volume of poetry Leuchtspuren Restlicht by Amir Shaheen. Divided in three groups, the volume includes around sixty poems. Among them, the poem Sediment can be found in a book for the first time for which, in November 2018, Shaheen was awarded the postpoetry.nrw price. Shaheen gave readings not only in Bremen but also in his home town Altena, in Cologne and in Hürth-Hermülheim.
Our second publication was also poetry. Die Vögel kehren zurück by Jürg Beelers is influenced by the experiences of alienation, forsakenness and exile. The book launch took place at the bookstore Leuwer on the 13th of June.
Also published in spring was the fifth volume of the book series Stolpersteine.
The series of publications deals with the biographies of 652 NS victims of Bremen, who are commemorated by the project STOLPERSTEINE BREMEN since 2004. After the four volumes about the regions of the North, the center as well as Ostertor/ Eastern suburbs and Schwachhausen, Horn-Lehe the biographies of those living in Findroff, Walle and Gröpelingen were published in 2019. The book launch took place at the city library West on the 28th March 2019.
Additionally published in spring at Sujet Verlag was the volume of poetry Kurz vor dreißig, … küss mich! by Widad Nabi. The author, who was born in Syria, deals in her texts with insatiable longing, loss, desire, pain and the search for human closeness.
This year, she has not only given readings at the book fair in Leipzig, in Hamburg and Cologne, but there were also a lot of reports about her. Besides a feature at the 3sat Kulturzeit, numerous newspapers and magazines wrote about her as for instance Vogue.
Spring of poetry
Moreover, the new book Nachtwind by Inge Buck, with illustrations by Lothar Bührmann, and the volume of poetry Gedächtnishunde by Ramy Al-Asheq, which already had a second print run in October, were published in spring.
Furthermore, readings and presentations were organized in numerous cities in Germany with Mahmood Falaki, Pedro Kadivar, Eberhard Pfleider, Gunter Gerlach, Nahid Keshavarz, Berzan Kejo, Inge Buck, Ramy Al-Asheq, Fariba Vafi and Widad Nabi.
Learning Languages with Sujet Verlag
In 2019, not only the third volume of the Persian textbooks by Mahmood Falaki was published, but also the book Eulen-Hannes by Friederike Schmidt-Landwehr and Mahmood Falaki, which is aimed to help aphasics and people who want to learn German.
Summer of Prose
Tengour is considered as “one of the most powerful and imaginative poetic voices of the post-colonial francophone Maghreb” (Pierre Joris). Der Alte vom Berg, which was written from 1977–1981, Tengour traces back the religious totalitarianism, demands for responsibility of intellectuals concerning war, corruption and ideological hardening. Furthermore, he questions the adequacy of religion, science and politics as practicable way to find “truth”.
In his novel, Khalfani deals with his home country Iran in a philosophical way. The protagonist reports in retrospective how he found his first love in his teacher Leili as a student in fourth grade. He cannot forget his first love. He repeatedly sends (love) letters to the address of her home in Tehran without receiving an answer.
There was also something for the young readers in summer 2019: The second part of the young-adult series Ella und Max by Monika Dietrich-Lüders was published at Sujet Verlag. The book launch took place at the bookstore Leuwer.
Moreover, Dietrich-Lüders visited numerous schools and bibliographies to read for children and adolescents.
In the summer, several readings took place in numerous cities by Habib Tengour, Amir Shaheen, Inge Buck, Nahid Keshavarz, Widad Nabi and Ramy Al-Asheq.
The artist Lothar Bührmann passed away in August 2019. We worked with him for two years and considered him as a dear friend. To honor his remembrance, we published a special edition with poems illustrated by him.
“Lothar was a poetry enthusiast. Someone, who had texts as the center of his creativity and artistic work, and someone who had language, especially poetic language, as a basis for his cartoons. He was an artist who didn’t spent much time talking but drawing with excitement and with a big heart for language and written pictures. The pictures in his cartoons were signatures and companions of the pages, they were approval for what happened in the book. And they continuously appear throughout the book in a minimalistic form, just like the poem itself. The poems and the pictures cannot be separated from another, they are unitary in unique compilation. They are dual pictures: in text and in cartoon.”
- Madjid Mohit
In December, we organised a reading with Inge Buck, Rudolph Bauer, Cornelius Kopffinke and Madjid Mohit to bid him farewell.
A reading with Bernd Jaeger took place on the 10th October at the bookstore Leuwer in Bremen.
Our Highlight: Madonnas letzter Traum
Our biggest project in 2019 was probably the novel Madonnas letzter Traum by Doğan Akhanlı and translated by Recai Hallaç.
In Madonnas Letzter Traum, Doğan Akhanlı takes up the novel of Madonna im Pelzmantel from the Turkish poet Sabahattin Ali and rewrites it. Akhanlı turns Ali himself into a character. On his way to exile, he is killed by members of the Turkish secret service in 1948. Immediately before his death he admits that Maria Puder died differently in reality than in the novel. Madonnas Letzter Traum tries to discover the true story of the life and death of Maria Puder during the Nazi era.
The novel belongs to some of the most important publications of Turkey and also the German translation published at Sujet Verlag received several commendations. Doğan Akhanlı did not only win the Goethe-Medaille but his novel also scored the sixth place of the Litprom leaderboard 2019.
Doğan Akhanlı did not only read in Bremen, Göttingen, Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Nürnberg and Munich but also at the book fair in Frankfurt. There were also many reports about him, amongst others at the WDR, the Süddeutschen and Radio Bremen.
Poetry from Iran is one of our programme foci and in 2019, we had the opportunity to further expand on it. In October, the anthology Halt aus in der Nacht bis zum Wein by Kurt Scharf was published.
In this new publication with the subtitle Eine Auswahl der schönsten persischen Gedichte des 20. Jahrhunderts by Kurt Scharf, poetry from 1941 to 1979 is compilated. He describes this epoch as the golden age of Persian poetry.
This year, we had a small version of the event series which was brought to life in 2018. We organised two readings of Iranian literature. One with Salem Khalfani and his novel Die Ersten Tage der Welt and one with Nahid Keshavarz and her anthology Flüchtilingscafé.
A matter which concerns us all
Also published in autumn was the non-fiction book Menschenrechte. Universal und vor Ort by the editors Eva Senghaas-Knobloch, Witha Winter von Gregory and Shazia Wülbers.
In the form of essays, the book deals with nine articles of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” which were passed at the general assembly of the United Nations in 1948. Authors from science and practice examine respectively one article in nine chapters. In this way, they deal publicly with the history and currency of the human rights.
The book launch of the work took place on the 28th October at the bookstore Kamloth + Schweizer. Inter alia, there was a speech by Karoline Linnert about whether human rights are our concern.
With Poetry through 2020
We are especially proud about our poetry calendar for the year 2020, which was published in October. In the two-weekly calendar, a beautifully illustrated poem can be opened every two weeks.
The launch of the calendar took place at the bookstore Leuwer on the 10th December. The authors Inge Buck, Gunther Gerlach, Elke Marion Weiß and Matthias Groll were reciting texts with a musically accompaniment by Madjid Mohit.
In October and November, four new volumes of poetry were published at once: the anthology So nimmt man das Leben mit by Angelika Sinn, Das Leben der Mützen by Eberhard Pfleiderer, Gläserne Fehde by Shirin Nowrousian and Fremde Welt by Suleman Taufiq.
The eight authors from the anthology by Angelika Sinn are originally from Syria, Chile, Venezuela, Iran, Turkey or Bangladesh but are now all living in Germany. For two years, they took part in a writing workshop of the Bremer Literaturkontor. In the poems and stories created this way, childhood, family, friendship and love are addressed, as well as small incidents and big events, the ordinary and special in everyone’s life. The book launch took place in the course of the globale on the 26th October.
Eberhard Pfleiderer dedicates his new book to hats. He studies the question in how far hats are influencing us and what they tell others about us. In his 61 lyrical and prosaic texts he writes about all sorts of hats, from fur hats to top hats. The whole is accentuated by the photography of Hervé Maillets. The book launch took place in Bremerhaven on the 27th November.
The new volume of poetry by Shirin Nowrousian deals with the subject of fear and sadness at times in a very direct manner without further ado and in all of its fragility and impact. At the same time, it is a volume full of liveliness and musicality through language. Beside texts in German as well as English, Persian and Lithuanian interjections, lines in Portuguese and French can also be found which are always accompanied by their German versions.
In his poetry, Suleman Taufiq shows that the unknown is affected by diverse impressions, fractures of memories and fantasies. But his poems are also some sort of declaration of love for the unknown, which becomes more familiar as time goes by. For him, it is a place of encounter and development. His texts and the photos and illustrations by Johannes Traub are in juxtaposition and also exist independently from one another. They are in an inconspicuous an associative dialogue with one another.
Additionally, readings by Suleman Taufiq, Widad Nabi, Salem Khalfani, Mahmood Falaki and Nahid Keshavarz took place in autumn.
Habib Tengour in Bremen
One of our highlights this year was the bilingual reading and discussion with Habib Tengour and Radouane Belakhdar at the Institut français Bremen on the 5th December.
Tengour recited in French from his book Der Alte vom Berge and there was an exciting contribution by Belakhdar about the relationship of literature and politics as well as about the current political situation in Algeria
The moderation and the German reading was carried out by Shirin Nowrousian. Wolfgang Barthacted as interpreter.