Join us for a double celebration at the Goethe-Institut San Francisco! We will toast Berlin-based translator Isabel Fargo Cole, winner of this year’s Helen & Kurt Wolff Prize for her translation of Wolfgang Hilbig’s Old Rendering Plant
, and the recent publication of The Tidings of the Trees
. Cole will discuss the translator as discoverer, the challenges of recreating the experience of language, and the artistic intimacy one cultivates by translating multiple works by the same writer with editor and critic Joseph Schreiber.
The Tidings of the Trees
© Liliana Lambriev – Peter Gerdehag
One of Wolfgang Hilbig’s most accessible and resonant works, The Tidings of the Trees
is about the politics that rip us apart, the stories we tell for survival, and the absolute importance of words to nations and people. Where once was a beautiful wood now stands a desolate field smothered in ash and garbage, and here a young man named Waller has terrorizing encounters with grotesque figures named “the garbagemen.” As Waller becomes fascinated with these desperate men who eke out a survival by rooting through their nation’s waste, he imagines they are also digging through its past as their government erases its history and walls itself off from the outside world. Featuring some of Hilbig’s most striking, poetic, and powerful images, this flawless novella perfectly balances politics and literature.
Isabel Fargo Cole
Isabel Fargo Cole is a U.S.-born, Berlin-based writer and translator. Her translations include The Sleep of the Righteous
by Wolfgang Hilbig, Boys and Murderers
by Hermann Unga, All the Roads Are Open
by Annemarie Schwarzenbach, and The Jew Car
by Franz Fühmann. The recipient of a prestigious PEN/Heim Translation Grant in 2013, she is the initiator and co-editor of No-mans-land.org
, an online magazine for new German literature in English.
© Joseph Schreiber
Joseph Schreiber is a writer based in Calgary, Canada. He maintains the literary blog, roughghosts
, and is Criticism/Nonfiction Editor at 3:AM Magazine. His reviews and essays have been published on a variety of literary sites and publications including Numéro Cinq, Quarterly Conversation, Minor Literature[s], 3:AM and RIC Journal.