Just like at the beginning of the millennium: a literary weekend in the news


Press release from 09/12/2022

What if you invite an author to read, but the only available date is already reserved for the reading? Simply: you turn an evening reading into a literary weekend and fit both readings into one day. Much to the delight of the audience.





Hanns-Josef Ortheil and Andrej Kurkow. (Photos: Images by Frank Bauer and Pako Mera Opale Bridgeman)

Knowledge. What if, due to high demand, there is only one date to invite the most widely read Ukrainian author Andrey Kurkov to get acquainted: October 16? But for Hanns-Josef Ortheil, the date has been in the works for months with his new book widely publicized and published on his blog. The only option left for the owner of the “Bookstore” was to regretfully cancel, which she did.

When Hanns-Josef Ortheil found out about this, he was surprised by Maria Bastian-Erll’s idea, which revives his previous activities as the founder of the Westerwald Literary Days: How about a literary weekend in Zinji, like in the old days? 2001-2010 the writer invited many authors to his literary weekends and Sunday parties, including famous ones like Pascal Mercier, as promising – then unknown – as Mariana Leky.

Without waiting for anything, Ortheil moved the reading to the late morning and freed Kurkov for the early evening. As a special bonus, there will be an opportunity for an autumn talk at SALA Ortheil on Mittelstraße on Saturday evening. Registration is only required through his blog. There is a discounted combined ticket for the two readings on Sunday, which blog readers have already taken advantage of. Some of them take long journeys and spend the night in Knowledge or Hamme to enjoy a literary weekend.

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Hanns-Josef Ortheil will present his new book: “Characters next to me” on October 16 at 11 am. It contains 50 literary miniatures and short stories in which Hanns-Josef Ortheil travels to the source of his literary work: the art of precise observation and perception. Aristotle’s student Theophrastus is his godfather. With its own little book of characters created in 319 Ave. BC, he became a master of the art of portraiture, which is still read today.

Like Theophrastus, Ortheil registers typical human characteristics in his environment. With a great sense of humor and a penchant for precision, he creates figures that seem surprisingly familiar to the reader: doesn’t everyone know the drunken enthusiast or the infamous but taciturn person with whom the debate never ends? A sports fetishist who competes against himself when necessary – or a PhD student who has to dissect every detail into every imaginable part?






Over the course of the book, Ortheil expands the portrait miniatures into self-contained little stories: his characters play out in that great comedy that doesn’t separate life from literature.

Andrey Kurkov, who was born in St. Petersburg and lived near Kiev (then in western Ukraine) until the start of the war, published a series of contemporary novels this summer, including a historical detective novel set in 1919. In Kiev: “Samson and Nadjeschda”. In the turmoil of the Russian Revolution, young Samson, newly orphaned, falls almost by accident into the new Soviet police force. His first case is extremely mysterious: a severed ear, a bone of pure silver, and a suit of fine English cloth. But times are dangerous and new surprises await every day. Fortunately, Samson meets the patent Nadjeschda, who helps him with his research, which soon causes him to lose his heart.

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Andrej Kurkov is accompanied by moderator Bernhard Robben, who will also find many relevant references in this novel. Translation of the conversation will not be necessary: ​​Kurkov is speaking…

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