German writer Peter Wawerzinek gives Swansea reading of Rabenliebe

On 16 May, Peter Wawerzinek visited Swansea to read from his latest novel Rabenliebe (Raven’s Love, 2010), winner of the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize 2010 and shortlisted for the Deutscher Buchpreis.

Rabenliebe has been described by reviewers as an angry autobiographical novel about the fate of an abandoned child in the German Democratic Republic in the 1950s and 1960s. After the narrator’s mother leaves her two young children to seek out a new life for herself in the West, the young Wawerzinek is shunted from orphanage to foster family and back again. Performed by its author, alternatively reading and singing extracts from his text, it proved far from a misery memoir and is shot through with his trademark humour and lyricism.

A cult anarchist poet from East-Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg before turning to literary prose in the mid-1990s, Peter Wawerzinek was in Wales to research a book on Dylan Thomas due out later this year with the Galiani Verlag, Berlin. To honour his esteem of Thomas and the connection with Swansea he approached the German section with a request to give a reading, which was attended by staff and students from German and Creative Writing. Peter also met with Dylan Thomas expert and Swansea poet Dr. John Goodby from the English Department.

Peter’s reading tour has so far taken in Cairo and Paris and sees him soon in Cleveland, Ohio. He was accompanied by his photographer and former sister-in-law, Carmen Budrat, who lives in Bridgend. We were delighted to welcome them as our guests in the Centre for Contemporary German Culture and are planning to work with them on an English version of the book in time for the Thomas centenary in 2014.

You can see Peter reading from Rabenliebe on the Galiani webpage.

The opening pages of the novel are available here.

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