12.03.2024 #literature #publishing

New literary publications in German language

On the occasion of Luxembourg’s presence at the upcoming Leipzig Book Fair, we present the latest publications of Luxembourgish literature in German as well as the novels of the authors who will be holding a reading at the Leipzig Book Fair (*).

*Ulrike Bail, im halblichten geäst deines atems
Conte Verlag, 2023, Poetry, German

In im halblichten geäst deines atems, Ulrike Bail discovers cultural networks in the moss, symbolic processes between orchids and mushrooms and finds surprising words on her daily walks with her dog. Her poems explore the diverse relationships between culture and nature – delicately and sonorously.

CNL, 2024, German

Ulrike Bail’s poetry often contains references to the semantic fields of flora and fauna, for example in the collections wundklee streut aus (2011), die empfindlichkeit der libelle (2017) or im halblichten geäst deines atems (2023). In this speech, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, reference is made to a species of mussel native to the Normandy coast and this is set against the rupture of civilisation as a metaphor of life as well as poetry. The result is an intellectually and emotionally engaging, linguistically highly sophisticated text in which nature and culture are not conceived as opposites, but relate to each other.


*Raoul Biltgen, Meine Insel. Eine Robinsonade
Hydre Editions, October 2023, novel, German

On a desert island, a man stands on the beach and tells a joke about a man on the beach on a desert island. But he has nothing to laugh about. The shipwrecked man, who was once called Jean-Marie and now calls himself Robinson, has made a new life for himself: Stockpiled supplies, built a hut – and erected fences. After all, nobody is supposed to take away his painstakingly amassed possessions. Pirates, for example. Or even man-eaters, like Robinson Crusoe. Who knows how long you can stay alone on a desert island?

Das Bau (Eva Herunter, Katharina Hummer, Julia Obleitner) Hrsg., Wild Site
Point Nemo Publishing, Spring 2024, German/ English

Wild Site is the discovery of the fleeting by-products of a constantly changing city: gaps between buildings, fallow land, intermediate and residual spaces, “wild places”. Five conversations with researchers from the fields of biology, geology, climatology, botany, landscape architecture, urbanism and architecture are accompanied by a photographic work by Zara Pfeifer. Edited by das BAU: Eva Herunter, Katharina Hummer and Julia Obleitner.

Fabienne Faust, Die Häuser von drüben
Éditions Phi, 2023, Short stories, German

They are stranded in the fast breath of the metropolises of refuge. What remains of their homes crumbles in memory. They are storm watchers who have travelled far away to see Scampia, to reconcile with the past or to land a newspaper scoop. They mourn what remains. They want to be remembered like Egypt remembers Alaa al-Aswany, like Janina Rachmaninov remembers her dream of spring.

CNL, 2023, German

Under the deliberately ambiguous title Verhaltensweisen, Hamen explores real and artistically enriched landscapes, the all too frequent precariousness of (research) work in the humanities, the people and what it means to be a writer among them. The result is a moving poetological reflection on the power and powerlessness of literature, the status of the writer in a society defined by material values and – despite all the adversities and impasses – the empowering and exhilarating effect of writing.

Samuel Hamen, Jeff Schinker, Elise Schmit, Larisa Faber, Theater théâtre theatre Theater 1
Hydre Editions, November 2023, Theatre, German, English, French, Luxembourgish

In the Théâtr/e series, important literary voices from Luxembourg present new theatre plays. The play So dunkel hier by Elise Schmit is about ex-Gauleiter Simon on his way to Luxembourg, where he is to be put on trial. In PatrIdiot by Jeff Schinker, two actors rehearse a play about migration and racism in Luxembourg. De Geescht oder D’Mumm Séis by Samuel Hamen is an adaptation of the play of the same name by Dicks (Edmond de la Fontaine), the founder of Luxembourg theatre. 340x by Larisa Faber is about the life of a man divided into three time periods and reveals questionable transactions and childhood traumas.

*Guy Helminger, Das Geräusch der Stillleben. Stories
capybarabooks, October 2023, Short stories, German

Das Geräusch der Stillleben is an artfully interwoven puzzle. Secondary characters in one story become the main character in another, objects change hands from story to story. At some point, the still life has a 56.75 degree inclination and can no longer be stopped.

Wilhelm Holzbauer, Holzbauer – Schriften zur Architektur
Point Nemo Publishing, Spring 2024, German

The publication Holzbauer – Schriften zur Architektur honours the literary legacy of one of the greats of Austrian post-war architecture, whose architectural legacy has already filled several books. Holzbauer, who was also a well-educated and well-read man, spent a lifetime writing; he approached it with depth, verve and humour. The editors have made their selection from a large collection: Autobiographical material, essays on his own buildings, essays and texts on architecture in general, accompanied by photographs and sketches.

Raymond Schaack, Im Banne des Unendlichen
Éditions Phi, 2023, Poetry, German

This book is the author’s twentieth published work, the second volume of Japanese haiku and the third volume of poetry published by Phi after Masques magnétiques (2016) and Mahlstrom Zeit (2019).

Faby Schintgen, Blaustufen
Op der Lay, 2023, novel, German

Provocative and humorous, Faby Schintgen (*1982, Luxembourg) paints a vivid picture of love, family and self-realisation in her debut novel. Her defiant protagonist fights for new freedom and encourages change. She hoped for the fulfilment of her life’s desires, but the idealised image of maternal self-sacrifice cannot do justice to Mel’s need for self-realisation. Suddenly everything turns upside down and she has to throw off her supermom cape for good, along with her black and white world view.

Margret Steckel, Mutterrache. Novelle
capybarabooks, 3rd edition November 2023, novella, German

In the novella “Mutterrache”, Margret Steckel succeeds in using the skilfully interwoven plot threads to address issues of guilt and neglect within a family without taking sides. Although there is probably no one in this story who can ultimately absolve themselves of guilt, the author allows the reader to reconstruct the course of the tragedy using the flashbacks and to form their own judgement – without condemning, because Margret Steckel loves her characters too much for that. Even when they are difficult.

Anna Valentiny, Hortus Alienum – Scenographies of Nobody’s Voyage
Point Nemo Publishing, Spring 2024, German/English

Author Anna Valentiny’s first book Hortus Alienum – Scenographies of Nobody’s Voyage is a narrative about being human. The protagonist of the story, Nobody, cannot escape her narrative in any act and has to wander through the artificial park landscape of Hortus Alienum, scene by scene. She is accompanied by the chorus.

CNL, 2023, German

The title suggests inconsistency, aimlessness, non-committal blubbering… A perfectly successful deceptive manoeuvre, because with this slim volume Nora Wagener presents a substantial poetological reflection on the constitution of the writer, on the possibilities (and limits) of literature and the ability of literary writing to create self-determined realities.