Reading + Conversation

• Thu 23 04 2020 / 7 pm •
Exophony: Dictionary for Lovers

Due to the current situation regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), Exophony: Dictionary for Lovers had to be postponed.

See the online version of this event


Author and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo describes her own literary practice as writing in “broken English”. Her book A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers was published in 2007 and translated into 26 languages. Her 2014 novel I Am China has also been a worldwide success. The editor, translator and publisher Anne Rademacher translated both books into German. A central motif in Guo’s novels is the quest to overcome the boundaries between people, whether these are linguistic, cultural, or due to gender, class or political events. The multi- and interlinguistic language practice of the main characters plays an important role in the stories. Guo uses multilinguisticality as a fundamental stylistic device also at the artistic, formal level.

Exophony: Dictionary for Lovers begins with a reading by Guo from her novels A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers and I Am China. Anne Rademacher reads from the German translations.

A conversation between Guo, Rademacher and the poet and translator Eugene Ostashevsky follows the reading. Eugene Ostashevsky, himself raised in two languages, deals with aspects of translingualism, language mixing and untranslatability in his work. The conversation picks up on central questions from Guo’s work: What obstacles and freedoms result from a shift from one linguistic sphere to another? How is language competence influenced by social, cultural and political power relations? What aesthetic and political possibilities – in everyday as well as in professional contexts – result through the processes of exchange and translation?

Start: 7:00 pm
English: English | German
Venue: Literaturhaus Köln, Großer Griechenmarkt 39, 50676 Cologne
Tickets: 11€ | 9€ (regular | reduced), possibly plus service fee

Exophony: Dictionary for Lovers is a part of the Exophony: program, which explores the processes of writing, reading and listening, manipulations of and through language as well as interaction and communication. There is a particular focus on experiences of and with multilingualism, translation and translatability. Exophony: offers the opportunity to collectively rethink communication structures and language practices and to explore the diversity and simultaneity of a shared language landscape.

The event Exophony: Dictionary for Lovers is organized in cooperation with Literaturhaus Köln.
The program series Exophony: is funded by Kunststiftung NRW.