In Frankfurt I planted myself and at your fair I slipped/
Fritz-Cola for everybody and something to eat /
A lot of cool authors but no off /
Super top stamps, I’ll have a good time /
I was wooondering, how will we be able to sneaaak
And that is what Silvia Nanclares and Silvia Herreros de Tejada, the Silvias, keep asking themselves every time they start their podcast En tu Feria me colé. They sing it to each other and say it to anyone who will listen: “We want to go to the Frankfurt Book Fair this year when Spain is the Guest of Honour, we want to experience first-hand the most important event in the international sector. Somebody invite us!!!”, they plead in unison.
They are the protagonists of the Goethe-Institut España’s literary podcast that guides us towards the Frankfurt Book Fair 2022 and does so by little-trodden paths. With a light-hearted and somewhat provocative tone, the writers Tomo and Lomo from Carne Cruda have transformed themselves on this occasion into Sturm (storm) and Drang (desire). Their new avatars are a tribute to Sturm und Drang, the movement that, after the rationalism of the Enlightenment, gave rise to German Romanticism in the 18th century.
In each of their broadcasts, they talk to different authors and people from the literary world in search of curiosities, similarities and differences, but without falling into stereotypes. Theirs is a journey full of curiosity and new concerns about contemporary Spanish and German literature in order to reach the Frankfurt Book Fair without dying in the mainstream.
Sturm Herreros and Drang Nanclares, tanto monta, monta tanto, invite us to join them in the recording of the fourth instalment of their podcast, to be broadcast on 25 February. They are joined in the studio by Peruvian writer and journalist Gabriela Wiener, and today it’s time to talk about La resaca colonial. It’s been several months in the making.
It all began when the Goethe-Institut proposed to them, as leading figures in the world of literature, to do a podcast to celebrate this very special edition of the Frankfurt Book Fair.
“We wanted the theme for this adventure to be something very popular in Spanish culture, like the song by Mecano, so that we could reach people. The Frankfurt Book Fair is well known and recognised in the professional sphere – publishers, writers, agents… -, but we also want it to become so among the general public”, explains Nanclares. “But we avoid the classics. We don’t want to talk about the clichés that everyone knows about Germany,” adds Herreros de Tejada.
And so began this monthly podcast that will accompany us until the Fair. The Silvias don’t speak German, but they have a group of wonderful Spanish-German collaborators who act as a bridge between the two linguistic and literary universes. Among them is journalist and literary critic Isabella Caldart, who is in charge of the section Busca las diferencias, where she compares a literary work from Spain with another from Germany; Arno Gimber, professor in the Department of German and Slavic Philology at the Complutense University of Madrid, who is responsible for the section Herr Professor Doktor al habla, who comments on the literary aspects dealt with during the episode; and Anna María Ballester Bohn, who is in charge of the section Herr Professor Doktor al habla, who comments on the literary aspects dealt with during the episode; and Anna María Ballester Bohn, director of the Goethe-Institut Madrid Library, with her Maus section in which she presents and recommends, as an excellent reader, works and authors of contemporary German literature that can be found in the library of her institution.
Another of the handicaps that Sturm and Drang have to face is that, as Tormenta assures us, “there is a lot of contemporary German literature that has not been translated into Spanish and vice versa. It is quite a challenge”. A challenge they are not intimidated by. Each one of their deliveries shortens a little more the hundreds of kilometres that separate us from the German city, opens doors to new concerns, introduces us to creators… The listeners always discover something in this exciting journey full of Overflowing Creativity, as the Spanish slogan for this edition of the Fair says, but what about them? What have they learned in these months?
How little contemporary German literature is introduced in Spain,” says Nanclares. There are so many things that I’ve come across and that I’m looking forward to reading”. And we are very well read,” says Herreros, “but we have realised that we are lacking in this area. Thanks to Isabella Caldart we have discovered young German, racialised, millennial, feminist authors…. Peripheral voices of whom little is said and about whom we always want to know more”.
But they have also noticed that the reverse is also true: “A great many of our wonderful authors are unknown in Germany, for example, thanks to this programme we know that Marta Sanz has not been translated into German. For example, thanks to this programme, we know that Marta Sanz has not been translated into German, she said so in our first podcast. Isn’t that amazing,” asks Nanclares in surprise.
“That is why the translation subsidies to promote the sale of rights to Spanish titles abroad that are already being offered are so important and necessary. We hope that this Frankfurt Book Fair will solve the problem. We have to celebrate the great Spanish-German festival of literature,” Herreros replied.
Both Silvias are well aware of the difficulties a writer faces in getting his or her work translated. Nanclares is the author of the novel Quién quiere ser madre (Alfaguara), the children’s albums La siesta and Al final (Kókinos), and in short fiction, she has participated in the collective volume Tranquilas (Lumen) and published the volume of short stories El Sur, instrucciones de uso (Bucólicas). For his part, Herreros de Tejada has published the essay Todos crecen menos Peter (Lengua de Trapo, VII Premio de Ensayo Caja Madrid) and the novels La mano izquierda de Peter Pan and La otra isla (Espasa), as well as writing plays such as Perdidos en Nunca Jamás and Pan y los Nadies. Drang Nanclares believes that, at the present time, the possibility of either of them attending the Fair as a translated author “would be a carambola. Now our only objective is to be invited and to be in Frankfurt next October”. “But we don’t rule out the possibility that once we get on with the podcast they will decide to translate our books, do you think they won’t? This is a Trojan horse,” adds Sturm Herreros with a laugh.
They have five deliveries to go. “We’re at the halfway point of our journey and we still have a lot more super podcasts to develop. The idea is to record the tenth podcast at the Frankfurter Buchmesse“, explains Nanclares and Herrero adds: “We dream of this possibility, we have even spoken to the German ambassador, Wolfgang Dold, and he has invited us to participate in his podcast, but we haven’t bought the tickets yet. If we don’t get them to take us to Frankfurt, we will have failed miserably.