Encounters: Writers and Translators in Conversation

Encounters: Writers and Translators in Conversation brings together writers and their translators in front of an audience, providing a unique opportunity to experience author and translator reading from the text and in conversation, and allowing a fascinating insight into the working relationship between the two as well as the practical and theoretical aspects of translation. Translation competitions and workshops are organised from time to time to complement the conversations. The events provide an opportunity to engage with texts in German and in English and can be enjoyed by an audience with little or no knowledge of German as well as those competent in both languages.  

Encounters are held in London or Nottingham, are open to all wishing to attend and are usually free of charge. The events are run by the Institute of Modern Languages Research (University of London School of Advanced Study) in conjunction with the University of Nottingham.

Organisers: Dr Heike Bartel (Department of German Studies, University of Nottingham); Dr Godela Weiss-Sussex (IMLR, London)

The Encounters series is sponsored by the Keith Spalding Trust (University of London, IMLR)


Next Encounters


Dörte Hansen and Anne Stokes
Dörte Hansen (left) and Anne Stokes (right). Photos courtesy of the author and translator. 

Dörte Hansen and Anne Stokes
Tuesday, 11 May 2021, 18:00-19:00 BST (Online)

This Encounter features author Dörte Hansen, whose novel Altes Land (2015) was voted 'Favourite Book of the Year' by German independent booksellers in the year of its publication, and Anne Stokes, whose translation of the novel was published by St Martin’s Press under the title This House is Mine (2016) and was long-listed for the 2018 International DUBLIN Literary Award. The novel tackles issues of refuge, home-making and belonging across the past century, focusing on women of several generations, who find refuge in an old farm building in Northern Germany and against the odds make it their home. The event offers an opportunity to listen to author and translator discussing text, context, and translation process ― and to join in their conversation. 

Dörte Hansen was born in 1964 in Husum and studied linguistics at the Universities of Kiel and Galway. She wrote her dissertation on multilingualism and language contacts at the University of Hamburg and then worked as a writer and editor for radio and the press. Her first novel, Altes Land, published in 2015, has been translated into more than ten languages. Her second book, Mittagsstunde, was published in 2018, to similar acclaim. 

Anne Stokes holds a PhD degree in German literature from Ohio State University and a PhD in English literature (creative writing and literary translation) from the University of Glasgow. She co-directs the Translation Studies programmes at the University of Stirling, and translates literary and academic texts from the German, including work by Sarah Kirsch (Ice Roses: Selected Poems [Carcanet, 2014]) and Christian Adam (Lesen Unter Hitler, which will appear later this year as Bestsellers of the Third Reich: Readers, Writers and the Politics of Literature [Berghahn, 2021]).

Participation free, but advance registration required at https://modernlanguages.sas.ac.uk/events/event/23911

The event is sponsored by the Keith Spalding Trust (University of London).



(Left) Annett Gröschner © Susanne Schleyer, and (right) Katy Derbyshire © Anja Pietsch

Annett Gröschner and Katy Derbyshire
Monday, 14 June 2021, 17:00-18:30 BST (Online)

The prolific and wide-ranging output of writer, journalist, academic and performer Annett Gröschner includes two novels, Moskauer Eis [Moscow Ice] (2000) and Walpurgistag [St Walpurga's Day] (2011), as well as volumes of poetry, plays, radio features and documentary literature. Her most recent books are Berolinas zornige Töchter [Berolina's Angry Daughters] (2018), tracing the Berlin women's movement, and Berliner Bürger*stuben (2020), a collection of snapshots and observations of life in Berlin. She has been awarded several prizes, among them - very soon! - the prestigious Fontanepreis (March 2020); she has been part of the performance collective SheShe Pop since 2012, and has held a visiting professorship at the Berlin Universität der Künste since 2015. Annett will be reading from and discussing her most recent work in the context of the changed social landscape under the restrictions imposed by Covid-19. 

She will be joined by translator Katy Derbyshire. Katy translates contemporary German writers, including Annett Gröschner, Olga Grjasnowa, Heike Geissler and Clemens Meyer. She lives in Berlin, where she co-hosts a monthly translation lab and the bimonthly ‘Dead Ladies Show’, presenting women who were wonderful while they were alive. Katy is now also publisher at the V&Q Books imprint, which exports ‘remarkable writing from Germany’ to the UK and Ireland. 

Participation free, but advance registration required at https://modernlanguages.sas.ac.uk/events/event/23819

The event is sponsored by the Keith Spalding Trust (University of London).


Mascha Dabic and Leigh Bailey
Mascha Dabić (left) and Leigh Bailey (right). Photos courtesy of the author and translator.

Mascha Dabić and Leigh Bailey
Friday, 2 July 2021, 16:00-17:00 BST

This Encounter between author Mascha Dabić and translator Leigh Bailey focuses on the novel Reibungsverluste (2017), which deals the experiences of a translator and interpreter for refugees and asylum seekers. Mascha Dabic will read from her debut novel, and discuss the text with Leigh Bailey, who has translated selected passages from the work. The theme of translation is thus central to the discussion of the novel and to the work of the translator who has transposed the text from German to English.  

Born in Sarajevo, Mascha Dabić studied Translation (English/Russian) and works as an interpreter and journalist in the field of asylum and migration, whilst lecturing at the Universities of Innsbruck and Vienna. Dabić also translates literature by Balkan authors such as Barbi Marković’s Ausgehen (Suhrkamp). Her novel Reibungsverluste was nominated for the Franz-Tumler-Literaturpreis and shortlisted for the Österreichischen Buchpreises Debut Novel award in 2017. She lives in Vienna.

Leigh Bailey has had a career as university lecturer in English, Translation Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Vienna, producer and presenter for Radio Austria International, and exhibition curator (co-curating exhibitions on Beethoven, Mozart and Johann Strauss II among others). As a translator, he has provided the English texts for organisations such as the Vienna Johann Strauss Orchestra and the Literaturhaus Vienna. In 2017 he published the first full-length biography of the youngest of the three brothers of the famous waltz dynasty: Eduard Strauss: The Third Man of the Strauss Family (Hollitzer).

Participation free, but advance registration required at https://modernlanguages.sas.ac.uk/events/event/24177

The event is sponsored by the Ingeborg Bachmann Centre for Austrian Literature & Culture at the IMLR