Celebrating Nobel-Prize winning author Herta Müller

Dr Brigid Haines in the College of Arts and Humanities organised a celebratory series of events held in London. These were in honour of the Nobel-Prize winning author Herta Müller, who is also an honorary fellow of Swansea University.

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Brigid Haines - Herta Muller conf 1

Dr Brigid Haines from the Department of Modern Languages, Translation and Interpreting, COAH, and Chair of Women in German Studies, organised a celebratory series of events on the Nobel-Prize winning author Herta Müller, who is also an honorary fellow of Swansea University.

‌Herta Müller is a Romanian-born German novelist, poet, essayist and recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature. Born in Romania in 1953, her native language is German. Since the early 1990s she has been internationally established and her works have been translated into more than twenty languages. She accepted an honorary fellowship from Swansea in 2012.

Brigid Haines - Herta Muller conf 2The first event was a sold out reading by Herta Mueller of her work at the British Library, along with a question and answer session with her English translator, Philip Boehm. Dr Áine McMurtry from Kings College London stepped up to translate for the audience, although all three speakers used a mixture of English and German, helping each other out with translating.

The second event a few days later at University College London was a fascinating workshop for professional translators on translating Herta Mueller’s work, led by Dr Lyn Marven, University of Liverpool. The participants looked at short prose, comparing existing translations and working on sections of an untranslated text.

The afternoon session was very different and great fun, as participants created collages using Müller’s collages for inspiration.

The same day, the BBC World Service broadcast an interview with Müller on Fact, fiction and the German elections.

The week was rounded off with a two-day international academic conference, entitled Herta Müller and the Currents of European History, at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, Senate House. The conference which attracted a number of highly respected keynote speakers and was extremely well attended. 

There are plans to publish contributions based on the papers offered during the conference, and the editorial board are exploring avenues that will allow for publications in all three of the conference languages.

For full, illustrated coverage of the events, please see the Storify account.

Dr Brigid Haines is a member of the Modern Languages, Translation and Interpreting Department at Swansea University, and Chair, Women in German Studies.