Letters from Berlin

Berlin: a city of artists and entrepreneurs, of buzzing nightlife and dark history, of currywurst and kebabs. Following on from the success of Letters from Africa, our second Letters from series takes a deep breath and dives into life in Germany’s capital. Essays by writers, filmmakers, photographers and artists, each based in a different district, offer a vibrant guide to the city on the Spree.

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About the author

Eliza Apperly, Lena Chen, Joseph Given, Anna Isabella Lazarescu, Valerie von Kittlitz, Marcel Krueger, Linka A. Odom, Lucy Renner Jones, Kevin Smullin Brown, Lily Sykes, Ambika Thompson, Micki Weinberg

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Why We Like It

  • Sharp, rich slices of life from one of Europe’s most vibrant cities
  • A series for armchair travellers and Berlin aficionados alike
  • Includes artwork, stunning photos, unique videos and curated playlists

Photos © Linka A. Odom, linkaaodom.com

About the Authors

Lucy Renner Jones was born in England and did several jobs before she became a literary translator. She worked in Barcelona, Hamburg and Berlin as a reportage and fashion photographer before founding Transfiction, a translators’ collective in 2004. She has translated two novels by Annemarie Schwarzenbach and is working on texts by Silke Scheuermann and Brigitte Reimann. She has a BA in German and Film from UEA, where she was tutored by W.G. Sebald, and she completed an MA in Applied Linguistics in 2010. She writes reviews of German books in English for CULTurMAG and Words without Borders, and blogs at transfiction.eu/blog.

Lena Chen is a writer and visual artist based in Berlin. She is working on Book of Shadows, a collection of poetry, prose and imagery about time travel and dreams.

Lily Sykes is a freelance theatre director. Whilst studying German and Philosophy at University, she spent one year living in Berlin and doing work experience at the Hebbel am Ufer Theatre and Theater discounter. She fell in love with the city and the language, the people and the theatre, and vowed she would return to live there one day. Her journey back to Berlin took her on detours to Paris (two years at Clown School) and Frankfurt (three years as a staff director at Schauspiel Frankfurt) until at last, in winter 2012, she made it. Having achieved her dream, she now is based in Neukölln, but directs plays in state theatres in cities such as Zürich, Frankfurt, Oberhausen, Weimar and Osnabrück. Her next production, Cactus Land, will open the new season at the Schauspielhaus Graz in October 2015.

Marcel Krueger is a writer, translator and editor living in Berlin and Dublin who likes to write books and other things about what people did in the past or things that he makes up in his head. He is also the book editor of Elsewhere Journal, a Berlin specialist or 'Spotter' for Spotted by Locals and the contributing editor of Sonic Iceland. His articles and essays have been published in the Daily Telegraph, Reykjavik Grapevine, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Slow Travel Berlin, and on the MatadorNetwork and CNN.com, amongst others. kingofpain.org

Born with an intrinsic preoccupation for the unknown and adventure, photographer and writer Linka A. Odom passed much of her early life creek-walking in suburban Dallas, Texas. She earned a BFA in Photography from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1997 and an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the University of the Arts London in 2012. Her MA thesis took her to eight countries and was partly funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign. In July 2012, Linka won a Getty Images Creative Grant to utilise a distinctive technique she has developed over many years to showcase her photography using multimedia materials. She has had numerous exhibitions and has been recognised by the Santa Fe Photo Workshops, Getty Images, APA/LA, WIPI, Smithsonian and Burn. linkaaodom.com

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1970, Joseph Given has lived in Germany for twenty-three years. His own writing has been published in German magazines. His literature, poetry and art history translations have been published by Seagull and Prestel among others. He now lives in Berlin-Treptow with his daughter, and, if he isn’t at his computer right now, he’ll be on his bike, on his way to some artist’s studio or a jazz concert. https://slowreader1.wordpress.com

Ambika Thompson is a mother, musician and writer living in Berlin. She spends a great deal of time writing whimsically wonderful and wacky short stories that attempt to explore being human through surreal, unexpected and/or out-of-the-ordinary events. She has contributed short stories to NPR Berlin and Fanzine, and her stories have been shortlisted for the Reader Short Story 2012 and the Fresher Writer Prize 2015 contests. She publishes a short story a day on her blog Kinda Very Short Stories, because she can, and is also one half of the cello riot grrrl band Razor Cunts. ambikathompson.com

Valerie von Kittlitz was born in Germany and spent large parts of her childhood and youth in India and Africa. She studied History of Art and Ethnology in Berlin before completing a BA in Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins in London. For the past few years, Valerie has been assistant to Kostas Murkudis in Berlin, most recently within the curation of his upcoming exhibition at the Museum für Modern Kunst MMK Frankfurt. Next to writing, she has a passion for film, cycling and radio podcasts.

Eliza Apperly has lived in Berlin since January 2013. After working as a journalist for The Art Newspaper, The Week, The Guardian and Reuters, she is now an editor at TASCHEN, and a freelance writer, translator and art critic. She has an undergraduate degree in French and Italian, an MA in European Modernism and an unplaceable accent picked up along the way.

Kevin Smullin Brown is from Sacramento, California, though he last lived there in 2001. For years he called London home, but he left Kentish Town for Berlin, where, in 2012, he opened Redwood, a bar. First published as a poet, he continues to write for academic and literary journals.

Anna Isabella Lazarescu (1988) grew up in the south of Germany and moved to Romania at the age of 17. Her search for roots and a place to belong to became a constant theme in her life as she travelled back and forth between European countries. So she grew internal roots instead, clinging deep to her passion for writing. She studied scriptwriting and film at the Ion Luca Caragiale National University for Film and Theatre Art in Bucharest. There, she fell head over heels for the new grammar and rhetoric of the seventh art. To further explore the art of retelling and shaping worlds, she did a Cultural Journalism Master’s at the University of Arts in Berlin. She aims to continue telling stories as a filmmaker, journalist and author.

Micki Weinberg is a filmmaker and writer based in Berlin. Born in Los Angeles, he graduated with a Bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004. He left the States for graduate studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he focused on ancient Jewish literature, and he also studied Talmud at the Mir Yeshiva. After a few years working in London and Switzerland, he has made Berlin his home. In his spare time, he enjoys travel and collecting old books.


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