NYU Center for the Humanities, Stanford University’s Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages, and Deutsches Haus at NYU present the inaugural event of "Irregular Readings," a conversation with novelist and poet Anja Kampmann who will read from her highly acclaimed debut novel, High as the Waters Rise (Catapult, 2020), and from her poetry. She will then discuss her writing with literary translator Anne Posten who translated High as the Waters Rise from German. Their conversation will be moderated by Professor Ulrich Baer (NYU) and Professor Amir Eshel (Stanford University).
About “Irregular Readings”:
“Irregular Readings” is a new literary initiative, created by NYU Center for the Humanities, Stanford University’s Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages, and Deutsches Haus at NYU, and will showcase moderated conversations and readings to introduce English-speaking audiences to contemporary German-language literature and the authors who are creating this diverse and vibrant body of work. The series will take place (as you might expect from the title) on an irregular basis and, for the time being, via live Zoom sessions.
About High as the Waters Rise:
One night aboard an oil drilling platform in the Atlantic, Waclaw returns to his cabin to find that his bunkmate and companion, Mátyás, has gone missing. A search of the rig confirms his fear that Mátyás has fallen into the sea. Grief-stricken, he embarks on an epic emotional and physical journey that takes him to Morocco, to Budapest and Mátyás’s hometown in Hungary, to Malta, to Italy, and finally to the mining town of his childhood in Germany. Waclaw’s encounters along the way with other lost and yearning souls – Mátyás’s angry, grieving half-sister; lonely rig workers on shore leave; a truck driver who watches the world change from his driver’s seat – bring us closer to his origins while also revealing the problems of a globalized economy dependent on waning natural resources.
About the speakers:
German poet Anja Kampmann was born in Hamburg and resides in Leipzig. High as the Waters Rise is her first novel, for which she received the Mara Cassens Prize for best German debut novel and the Lessing Promotion Prize. She was also awarded the Bergen-Enkheim Prize and was nominated for the Leipzig Book Fair Prize and the German Book Prize. (Poetry by Anja Kampman can be found on No Man’s Land and Lyrikline. Anja Kampmann Instagram: @anjakampman_ and Facebook: @anjakampmann)
Anne Posten translates prose, poetry, and drama from German. The recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, her translations of authors such as Peter Bichsel, Carl Seelig, Thomas Brasch, Tankred Dorst, Anna Katharina Hahn, and Anja Kampmann have appeared with Catapult, New Directions, Christine Burgin/The University of Chicago, Music and Literature, n+1, and VICE, among others. Her translation of Anja Kampmann’s High as the Waters Rise was shortlisted for the National Book Award. She is based in Berlin. (Anne Posten’s journal about translating High as the Waters Rise can be found on Toledo, “On Love and Labor, or a Journal of Work.”)
Ulrich Baer (moderator) is University Professor at New York University where he teaches literature and photography. His books include Remnants of Song: The Experience of Modernity in Charles Baudelaire and Paul Celan; Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma; The Rilke Alphabet; What Snowflakes Get Right: Free Speech, Equality and Truth in the University, and, as editor and translator, The Dark Interval: Rilke’s Letters on Loss, Grief and Transformation; the German edition of Rainer Maria Rilke's Prose, and, with Amir Eshel, Hannah Arendt zwischen den Disziplinen. He hosts the ideas podcast, Think About It, and has published editions of numerous classic books with Warbler Press.
Amir Eshel (moderator) is Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies and Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature at Stanford University. His research focuses on contemporary literature and the arts as they touch on memory, history, politics, and ethics. He is the author of Zeit der Zäsur: Jüdische Lyriker im Angesicht der Shoah (1999); Das Ungesagte Schreiben: Israelische Prosa und das Problem der Palästinensischen Flucht und Vertreibung (2006); Futurity: Contemporary Literature and the Quest for the Past (2013); and Poetic Thinking Today (Stanford University Press, 2019; Suhrkamp Verlag (in German), 2020.) Amir Eshel is a recipient of fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt and the Friedrich Ebert foundations and received the Award for Distinguished Teaching from the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University.
"Irregular Readings" is jointly organized by Ulrich Baer (University Professor, Director, Center for the Humanities, NYU); Juliane Camfield (Director, Deutsches Haus at NYU); and Amir Eshel (Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies, German Studies and Comparative Literature, Stanford University). Thanks for her invaluable support goes to Sarah Girner (Deutsches Haus at NYU).
Registration is (as always) free and open to the general public. Only registered attendees will receive Zoom webinar information via email prior to the event.