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Parataxe – International Literature

Parataxe – Berlin’s international literature community:

What languages does Berlin write in? For the PARATAXE series, Berlin authors, who write in languages other than German, will be introduced in discussions, readings and translations. This time with Kinga Tóth (Hungary) and Elnathan John (Nigeria).

Kinga Tóth was born in Sárvár, Hungary in 1983. She is a linguist, teaches German language and literature, works as a communications specialist and is an editor at the art magazine Palócföld. Tóth describes herself as a (sound)poet and illustrator. In addition she is the songwriter and lead singer of the Tóth Kína Hegyfalu project as well as a board member of the József Attila Circle for young writers and an active member of several projects and associations. Her articles have been published in magazines and websites like Palócföld,, Pluralica, Árgus, Irodalmi Jelen and Irodalmi Szemle. Tóth is a participant in the exchange program for authors between the Akademie Schloss Solitude and young Hungarian writers in Budapest. Her publications include Zsúr (Party) (2013) and All Machine (2014). Currently she is working on her newest book The Moonlight Faces.

Elnathan John is a writer and lawyer living in spaces between in Nigeria and Germany. Mostly. His works have appeared in Hazlitt, Per Contra, Le Monde Diplomatique, FT and the Caine Prize for African Writing Anthology 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. He writes weekly political satire for the Nigerian newspaper Daily Trust on Sunday (and any other publication that PAYS him). Unless you are The New Yorker, he considers it violence of unimaginable proportions to ask him to write for free. He has never won anything.
This record was almost disrupted by the Caine Prize when they accidentally allowed his story on the shortlist in 2013 and again in 2015. Of course, both times, he did not win. He has been shortlisted and longlisted for a few other prizes, but he is content with his position as a serial finalist. It is kind of like being a best man at a wedding – you get to attend the ceremony but you can get drunk, sneak off and hook up without anyone noticing because, after all, you are not the groom. In 2008, after being lied to by friends and admirers about the quality of his work, he hastily self-published an embarrassing collection of short stories which has thankfully gone out of print. He hopes to never repeat that foolish mistake. His novel Born On A Tuesday was published in Nigeria (in 2015), the UK and the US (in 2016) and in Germany (in 2017).


Candice Fox

Reads from her novel Crimson Lake.

Six minutes in the wrong place at the wrong time—that’s all it took to ruin Sydney Detective Ted Conkaffey’s life. Accused but not convicted of the brutal abduction of a 13-year-old girl, Ted is now a free man—and public enemy number one. He flees north to keep a low profile amidst the steamy, croc-infested wetlands of Crimson Lake.

There, Ted’s lawyer introduces him to private investigator Amanda Pharrell, herself a convicted murderer. Perhaps it’s the self-isolation and murderous past that makes her so adept at tracking lost souls in the wilderness, but her latest target, missing author Jake Scully, has a life more shrouded in secrets than her own.

Not entirely convinced Amanda is a cold-blooded killer, Ted agrees to help with her investigation, a case full of deception and obsession, while secretly digging into her troubled past.

Candice Fox received Australia’s most prestigious prize for crime fiction, the NED KELLY AWARD, both in 2014 and 2015!

Sechs Minuten – mehr braucht es nicht, um das Leben von Detective Ted Conkaffey vollständig zu ruinieren. Die Anklage gegen ihn wird zwar aus Mangel an Beweisen fallengelassen, doch alle Welt glaubt zu wissen, dass einzig und allein er es gewesen ist, der Claire entführt hat. Um der gesellschaftlichen Ächtung zu entgehen, zieht sich der Ex-Cop nach Crimson Lake, eine Kleinstadt im Norden Australiens, zurück.
Dort trifft er Amanda Pharrell, die ganz genau weiß, was es heißt, Staatsfeind Nr. 1 zu sein. Vor Jahren musste sie wegen angeblichen Mordes ins Gefängnis. Nun tun sich die beiden Außenseiter zusammen und arbeiten als Privatdetektive. Ihr Fall: Ein berühmter Schriftsteller mit Doppelleben und kaputter Familie ist verschwunden, die örtliche Polizei behindert die Arbeit der beiden mit harschen Methoden. Dann platzt das Inkognito von Conkaffey, die Medien erzeugen Hysterie. Lynchstimmung macht sich breit. Während er den Fall seiner neuen Partnerin wieder aufrollt und sie versucht, ihn zu entlasten, nimmt der Fall des Schriftstellers überraschende Wendungen …

Candice Fox is the middle child of a large, eccentric family from Sydney’s western suburbs composed of half-, adopted and pseudo siblings. The daughter of a parole officer and an enthusiastic foster-carer, Candice spent her childhood listening around corners to tales of violence, madness and evil as her father relayed his work stories to her mother and older brothers.

Bankstown born and bred, she failed to conform to military life in a brief stint as an officer in the Royal Australian Navy at age eighteen. At twenty, she turned her hand to academia, and taught high school through two undergraduate and two postgraduate degrees.

Hades, Candice Fox’s first novel, won the Ned Kelly Award for best debut in 2014. The sequel, Eden, won the Ned Kelly Award for best crime novel in 2015, making Candice only the second author to win these accolades back-to-back. Her third novel, Fall, was shortlisted for the 2016 Ned Kelly and Davitt awards.

In 2015 Candice began collaborating with U.S.-American crime writer, James Patterson. Their first novel together, Never Never, set in the vast Australian outback, was a huge bestseller in Australia and went straight to number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list in the U.S. and also to the top of the charts in the UK. The sequel, Fifty Fifty, will be released in August 2017. They have also co-written a prequel novella, Black & Blue, as part of the James Patterson BookShots series.

Candice Fox lives in Sydney.

Candice Fox stammt aus einer eher exzentrischen Familie, die sie zu manchen ihrer literarischen Figuren inspirierte. Nach einer nicht so braven Jugend und einem kurzen Zwischenspiel bei der Royal Australian Navy widmet sie sich jetzt der Literatur, mit akademischen Weihen und sehr unakademischen Romanen. Für den ersten und zweiten Teil ihrer Trilogie, Hades und Eden, wurde sie 2014 und 2015 mit dem Ned Kelly Award ausgezeichnet.
Pic: © Penguin Random House Australia / Suhrkamp Verlag.

Nickolas Butler

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series

Nickolas Butler reads from his novel The Hearts of Men (Die Herzen der Männer, Klett-Cotta, 2018)

Camp Chippewa, 1962. Nelson Doughty, age thirteen, social outcast and overachiever, is the Bugler, sounding the reveille proudly each morning. Yet this particular summer marks the beginning of an uncertain and tenuous friendship with a popular boy named Jonathan.

Over the years, Nelson, irrevocably scarred from the Vietnam War, becomes Scoutmaster of Camp Chippewa, while Jonathan marries, divorces, and turns his father’s business into a highly profitable company. And when something unthinkable happens at a camp get-together with Nelson as Scoutmaster and Jonathan’s teenage grandson and daughter-in-law as campers, the aftermath demonstrates the depths—and the limits—of Nelson’s selflessness and bravery.

Nickolas Butler is the author of the novel Shotgun Lovesongs and a collection of short stories entitled Beneath the Bonfire.
Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, he was educated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, The Christian Science Monitor, The Kenyon Review Online, Narrative, The Progressive, and many other publications. Along the way he has worked as: a meatpacker, a Burger King maintenance man, a liquor store clerk, a coffee roaster, an office manager, an author escort, an inn-keeper (twice), and several other odd vocations. He received numerous prizes and awards for his work.



Holly-Jane Rahlens

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series:

Holly-Jane Rahlens reads from her novel Infinitissimo

“The I of my heart says hello to the you of yours.”

The year is 2264. Despite incredible technical advances, scientists of the twenty-third century are at a loss on how to solve the problem of a decimated human population. The young historian Finn Nordstrom, a specialist for turn-of-the-millennium popular culture, is asked to translate newly discovered diaries written in extinct German. Do the vintage diaries of a young girl from the early twenty-first century hold a secret that can revitalize humankind?

Finn Nordstrom lives in a passionless but otherwise worry-free and peaceful world shaped by community spirit, leaps in science, and the promise of immortality. All is well until he begins decoding Eliana’s diaries. Following the progression of her life from page to page, he becomes fascinated by the young girl blooming into womanhood right before his eyes. Asked to test the authenticity of a virtual-reality game set in the twenty-first century, Finn is stunned to find himself face-to-face with the girl. Caught up in a whirlwind of intrigue orchestrated by powerful physicists, Finn is sent unwittingly on a dangerous mission through time.

“Enthralling, knowledgeable and inventive. … A page turner!” dpa/APA
“Rahlens creates an absorbing social utopia, examines the principles of collective harmony, and clothes it in an utterly intriguing and touching love story.”  NDR
“Infinitissimo is touching, witty, spiked with a wealth of original details, and absolutely delightful. It’s a book for readers of all ages!” ekz
“Rahlens’ imagination is as far-reaching as the universe, her word creations are absolutely brilliant and the story is not just fun and games, but profound, philosophical and universal. Infinitissimo forces us to confront what’s important in our lives today.”  Aviva
Holly-Jane Rahlens, a born New Yorker, grew up in Brooklyn and Queens and graduated from Queens College (City University of New York). She moved to Berlin, Germany, soon after, where she has lived virtually all her adult life. While remaining an American citizen, she has flourished in the German media world, working in radio, television, and film as an actress, producer and commentator as well as creating a series of highly praised one-woman shows. She writes fiction for readers of all ages. In 2003 her first novel for teens, Prince William, Maximilian Minsky and Me, earned the prestigious Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis as the best young adult novel published in Germany. In 2006 the Association of Jewish Libraries named it a Sydney Taylor Honor Book. It has since been published in eight languages and was adapted in 2007 into the motion picture Max Minsky and Me, which has garnered praise and awards around the world.

Thomas Chatterton Williams

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series

Race, Identity, and the Boundaries of Blackness: Thomas Chatterton Williams explores what it means to be a black man of mixed-race heritage with a white-looking daughter and a white wife.

A reading and conversation with Rose-Anne Clermont, journalist and author of Bush Girl.

Thomas Chatterton Williams holds a B.A. in philosophy from Georgetown University and a Master’s degree from the cultural reporting and criticism program at New York University. While a student at NYU, his op-ed piece, “Yes, Blame Hip-Hop,” struck a deep nerve when it ran in the Washington Post, generating a record-breaking number of comments.
Pic: Luke Abiol

Ariel Levy

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series

Ariel Levy reads from The Rules Do Not Apply (Gegen alle Regeln)

When Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true. Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules—about work, about love, and about womanhood.

In this “deeply human and deeply moving” (The New York Times Book Review) memoir, Levy chronicles the adventure and heartbreak of being, in her own words, “a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.” Her story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed—and of what is eternal.


Ariel Levy joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2008 and received the National Magazine Award for Essays and Criticism in 2014 for her piece “Thanksgiving in Mongolia.” She is the author of the book Female Chauvinist Pigs and was a contributing editor at the magazine New York for twelve years.
pic: David Klagsbrun

Tom Drury

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series

Tom Drury reads from his Grouse County trilogy.

Klett-Cotta published the German translation of Tom Drury’s Grouse County trilogy (The End of Vandalism, Hunts in Dreams and Pacific) together as Grouse County in August 2017.

Tom Drury is the author of Pacific, The End of Vandalism, Hunts in Dreams, The Driftless Area and The Black Brook. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s and the Mississippi Review. Drury has been a Guggenheim Fellow and was named one of Granta‘s “Best Young American Novelists.” He is an alumnus of the American Academy in Berlin and lives in New York.

Photo by Annette Hornischer, courtesy American Academy in Berlin

Zoë Beck

liest aus ihrem neuen Kriminalroman Die Lieferantin.

London, in einer nicht wirklich fernen Zukunft: Ein Drogenhändler treibt tot in der Themse, ein Schutzgelderpresser verschwindet spurlos. Ellie Johnson weiß, dass auch sie in Gefahr ist – sie leitet das heißeste Start-up Londons und zugleich das illegalste: Über ihre App bestellt man Drogen in höchster Qualität und sie werden von Drohnen geliefert. Anonym, sicher, perfekt organisiert.
Die Sache hat nur einen Haken – die gesamte Londoner Unterwelt fühlt sich von ihrem Geschäftsmodell bedroht und will ›Die Lieferantin‹ tot sehen. Ein Kopfgeld wird auf sie ausgesetzt. Ellie beschließt zu kämpfen – ihre Gegner sind mächtig, und sie lauern an jeder Straßenecke.

Zoë Beck

gehört zu den profiliertesten Krimiautor*Innen Deutschlands. Sie schreibt Romane und Erzählungen, übersetzt und leitet zusammen mit Jan Karsten den CulturBooks Verlag. Sie studierte englische und deutsche Literatur u.a. in Gießen, Bonn und Durham und war anschließend Creative Producerin für internationale Fernsehfilmproduktionen. Seit 2004 macht sie Redaktion, Dialogbuch und Regie für Synchronproduktionen. 2010 erhielt sie den Friedrich-Glauser-Preis in der Sparte „Bester Kurzkrimi“,  2014 den Krimipreis von Radio Bremen und 2016 den Deutschen Krimipreis, National Platz 3, für Schwarzblende. Das zerbrochene Fenster wurde von der Jury der KrimiZEITBestenliste unter die zehn besten Kriminalromane im September 2012 gewählt, Brixton Hill im Januar, Februar und März 2014, Schwarzblende im März, April, Mai und Juni 2015. Zoë Becks Romane und Erzählungen wurden bisher in neun Sprachen übersetzt.

Photo: Victoria Tomaschko / Suhrkamp Verlag

Parataxe – International Literature

Parataxe – Berlin’s international literature community:

What languages does Berlin write in? Notable Berlin writers who do not write in German are presented in conversation, reading and translation.

For the collaboration with English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center, the evening features Dario Deserri (Italy / Berlin) and his translator Anna Giannessi as well as Rasha Abbas (Syria / Berlin) and their German editor Nikola Richter, hosted by Martin Jankowski.

Adam Johnson

the U.S. Embassy Literature Series

Adam Johnson, currently the Holtzbrinck Fellow in Fiction at the American Academy in Berlin, reads from Fortune Smiles and work-in-progress.

Adam Johnson is the Phil and Penny Knight Professor in Creative Writing at Stanford University. Winner of a Whiting Award and Fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Academy in Berlin, he is the author of several books, including Fortune Smiles, which won the 2015 National Book Award, and the novel The Orphan Master’s Son, which was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize. His fiction has appeared in Esquire, GQ, Playboy, Harper’s Magazine, Granta, Tin House and The Best American Short Stories. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. Adam Johnson is currently the Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.

Photo by Tamara Beckwith