I’m very pleased to announce that my short story ‘Treibsand’ has completed its long journey from my computer to the German anthology ‘Weibsbilder’, published this week by Edition Narrenflug. The anthology has been compiled by Karin Braun and Gabriele Haefs.
When I began to write ‘Shifting Sands’ as an Open University assignment, I never imagined that it would win a prize and that I would subsequently be invited to translate it into German. As the Germans say, ‘das Leben schreibt die besten Geschichten’ – life writes the best stories. I’ve had many special connections with Germany since my first trip there at the age of 17, and this latest chapter has been an exciting development. What I also like about the ‘Weibsbilder’ project is the mix of writers old and new, from Germany and from other countries.
Karin Braun of Edition Narrenflug describes the story behind the ‘Weibsbilder’ anthology on this German website:
Here’s an English translation:
‘In March 2014, Gabriele Haefs, Gudrun Völk and I gave a reading in Kiel Central Library. The theme of the talk was different perspectives of women, and the images and stereotypes that people hold.
After the audience were suitably delighted by our reading, the three of us headed for the legendary Club68 to celebrate. As I was heading there, I was already thinking. My colleagues’ stories had touched me deeply and I wanted to stick with this topic. In our subsequent exchange of emails, it was clear that Gabriele was thinking the same way as I was – that it would be a great theme for an anthology!
As neither of us likes to put off a good idea, we set about sketching out a plan. It would be stories by women about women. We wanted to include some classics, as we’d done with our previous anthology ‘Narrenflieger’ (Edition Narrenflug, compiled by Gabriele Haefs). We chose Franziska zu Reventlow, Marie zu Ebner-Eschenbach and the Norwegian writer Dikken Zwilgmeyer as our voices from the past. But we also wanted to have writers who had never been published in Germany. The Internet proved helpful. Gabriele found Joanna Sterling’s website ‘The casket of fictional delight’. Joanna’s contribution was ‘Lady Elfleda’. The second new writer was Christine Cochrane, a Scot living in England, whose story ‘Shifting Sands’ had won third prize in the 2014 Short Story Competition of Mslexia, an English magazine for women who write. As luck had it, Christine Cochrane was also a German teacher and translated her story into German herself. And so ‘Treibsand’ joined the ‘Weibsbilder’ anthology.
There were new voices among the translators, too, alongside established names like Gabriele Haefs and Dagmar Mißfeldt. Maike Barth translated ‘Häutung’ from Norwegian. Hannah Kleber translated Laila Stein’s ‘Leerraum’, also from Norwegian.
An anthology is always exciting. Usually, after you’ve got a theme, authors hear about the project and contact you. Then it can be a bit stop and start, because people lose track of the theme and you have to chase things up and send reminders. This was a completely different experience. The stories came flooding in, even while we were already working on the project. Some didn’t make it into the book; this wasn’t because of the quality of the writing, but because it would have made the anthology less focused. But that doesn’t mean they’ve been rejected; they will appear in our next collection.’
‘Weibsbilder’ is available as a book or e-book from Edition Narrenflug. It will be available on Kindle from 1st March 2015.
Finally, I’d like to thank Karin and Gabriele for their support and for the interesting ‘workshopping’ we did on some of the untranslatable words!