THAT OTHER WORD: Episode 2 | April 2012 | Petra Hardt

“That Other Word,” a collaborative podcast between the Center for Writers and Translators at the American University of Paris and Two Lines Press in San Francisco, offers discussions on classic and contemporary literature in translation, along with engaging interviews with writers, translators, and publishers.

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In this episode, Scott Esposito eagerly anticipates the Dirty War in Sergio Chejfec’s The Planets, and Daniel Medin shares a delightful description of a freeloader from Nescio’s Amsterdam Stories. They discuss Daniel Sada’s Almost Never and the general robustness of contemporary Mexican fiction, attempt to explain why reading Can Xue’s Vertical Motion is like running downhill in the dark, then hesitate over whether to call Daniel Levin Becker’s Many Subtle Channels a memoir or a work of criticism, but agree that it is about Oulipo and very candid.

Daniel Medin then speaks to Petra Hardt, head of the rights department at Suhrkamp Verlag and author of Rights: Buying. Protecting. Selling. Suhrkamp is one of the most prestigious presses in Germany and in Europe, and since its founding in 1950 has published not only many of the greatest German-language writers of the twentieth century — among them Paul Celan, Theodor W. Adorno, and Thomas Bernhard — but foreign authors as well, including Samuel Beckett, Marcel Proust, and Julio Cortázar. In a series of wonderfully engaging anecdotes, Petra describes her work in rights and foreign rights, how that work is changing in the digital age, and why her book is intended for new presses in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.


Table of Contents

INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito

0:47 Sergio Chejfec’s My Two Worlds and The Planets
3:07 Nescio’s Amsterdam Stories, including a reading from “The Freeloader”
7:36 Daniel Sada’s Almost Never, plus a mention of Una de dos
11:12 Can Xue’s Vertical Motion, plus Liao Yiwu’s The Corpse Walker
14:07 Daniel Levin Becker’s Many Subtle Channels
16:04 Scott Esposito introduces Petra Hardt and Suhrkamp Verlag

FEATURE: Daniel Medin interviews Petra Hardt

16:43 How Pippi Longstocking paved the way to Suhrkamp
22:56 Daily activities and responsibilities at Suhrkamp
26:54 Rights: Buying. Protecting. Selling.: a primer for small new presses
34:58 The question of digital rights
38:53 The importance of long-term planning; or, Thomas Bernhard surpasses Herman Hesse
44:20 Maintaining the backlist and finding new readers through new media
46:22 World literature at Suhrkamp: translation and acquisition
48:41 Some of Petra Hardt’s favorite contemporary authors: Marcel Beyer, Durs Grünbein, Amos Oz, Zeruya Shalev, Judith Hermann, and Josef Winkler.

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