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Author and journalist Fatma Aydemir is joined by translator and academic Jon Cho-Polizzi in this Encounter to discuss the forthcoming translation of Aydemir’s prize-winning novel Dschinns (2022). Aydemir’s novel tells the story of six members of the Yılmaz family. Hüseyin has spent the past thirty years working in Germany, and his dream has at last come true: he has bought his very own flat in Istanbul, but dies of a heart attack the day he moves in. His family in Germany travel to Turkey for the funeral. In chapters narrated from the perspectives of the individual family members, we learn about each character’s personal djinns. The English translation by Jon Cho-Polizzi will be published by the University of Wisconsin Press on in September 2024.

Fatma Aydemir was born in Karlsruhe in 1986 and studied German and American Studies at the University of Frankfurt am Main. She worked for the daily newspaper taz and currently writes for The Guardian. In 2017, Aydemir published her first novel Ellbogen [Elbow], which won the Franz Hessel Prize and the Klaus Michael Kühne Prize for best debut novel. In 2019, she co-edited Eure Heimat ist unser Albtraum [Your Homeland is Our Nightmare] with Hengameh Yaghoobifarah, an anthology of essays by various authors dealing with racism and discrimination in the German-speaking world, as well as ideas for a better future. Her second novel, Dschinns was published in 2022, followed in 2023, by her reinterpretation of Goethe’s Faust, entitled Doktormutter Faust, which had its premiere at the Schauspiel Essen.

Jon Cho-Polizzi grew up in the American West and studied European History and Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Cho-Polizzi holds an MA in Translation Studies from the University of Heidelberg and a PhD in German and Medieval Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Cho-Polizzi is currently Assistant Professor of German at the University of Michigan, where his research focuses on contemporary literature, literary translation, migration, translingualism and radical diversity in the German-speaking world. His translations include works by Max Czollek, Sharon Dodua Otoo, Deniz Utlu, Mikael Vogel and many more. 

All are welcome to attend this in-person event; advance online registration required. 

Image: Fatma Aydemir © Sibylle Fendt; Jon Cho-Polizzi © private.

This Encounter is sponsored by the Keith Spalding Trust (University of London).

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