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Listen: Kingdom of Twilight with Steven Uhly

  • By Sophie Freeman
  • 13th March 2017
Acclaimed author Steven Uhly and British translator Jamie Bulloch read and discuss Kingdom of Twilight; a ground-breaking thriller that explores identity and home in traumatised post-war world.

“I always start on the basis that everything is translatable. I think there’s always a way. Sometimes you’re up against a brick wall but then a solution comes.” Jamie Bulloch 

This thrilling novel focuses on the gap between the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the two German states. Steven Uhly writes of wanting to address German history to show the continuities that exist between the past and the present.

This epic novel is perfect for readers who loved All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It’s a shattering exploration of universal themes: love, hatred, survival, guilt, humanity and redemption.

While Steven wrote Kingdom of Twilight, he also composed the accompanying theme tune to the novel. To start the evening a London-based string quartet performed this short piece live. Then we heard Jamie read from the English translation of the book and Steven from the original German.

Together they discussed how the past remains present, explored issues of race, identity and migration in today’s Europe. Finally we opened up to hear questions of both the author and the translator from the audience.

“I didn’t know anything about the continuities of history. I had learned packages of history. The Weimar Republic. The Third Reich. But I didn’t understand the transitions. I wanted to write a novel that started in the war and ended where I was in order to understand the fluxes of everything.” Steven Uhly

The publication of Kingdom of Twilight has been supported by English PEN, Arts Council England and the Goethe Institut.

Listen now

Speakers at this event 

Jamie Bulloch is the translator of Timur Vermes’ Look Who’s Back, Birgit Vanderbeke’s The Mussel Feast, which won him the Schlegel-Tieck Prize and was runner up in the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. He has translated novels by F. C. Delius, Jörg Fauser, Martin Suter, Katharina Hagena and Daniel Glattauer.

Steven Uhly was born in 1964 in Cologne and is of German-Bengali descent, and partially rooted in Spanish culture. He has studied literature, served as the head of an institute in Brazil, and translated poetry and prose from Spanish, Portuguese, and English. He lives in Munich with his family. His book Adams Fuge was granted the “Tukan Preis” of the city of Munich in 2011. His novel Glückskind (2012) was filmed as a prime-time production by director Michael Verhoeven for ARTE and the 1st German Channel ARD. He has written in the press on issues of identity and race.

About Wanderlust

On the second Monday of each month, meet writers from around the world and hear them talk about their work. We also focus on their translators who help these books travel and open up discussions that cross the globe. Free Word provides a friendly space for you to ask questions of writers and translators as they share an exclusive insight into the creative process of storytelling.

Click here to explore the Wanderlust events we’ve held so far and read about (and around) some of the books we’ve featured.

You can also visit Free Word’s Wanderlust playlist on SoundCloud; we record each event so that you never have to miss out.

This event took place on 13 February 2017 at Free Word Centre and you can view the original listing here.

Presented by MacLehose Press in partnership with Free Word

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