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Nottingham, 22 February 2017

Ursula Ackrill is a Romanian-born German writer. Her debut novel Zeiden, im Januar (2015) was shortlisted for several literary prizes, most significantly the Literature Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair. She lives in Nottingham and works part time as a Librarian for the University of Nottingham’s Manuscripts and Special Collections.  

Sarah Pybus has been working as a translator for 10 years. She was an in-house translator in Germany and the UK for several years before going freelance. In 2015, she was awarded firstst place in the GINT non-fiction translation competition. In 2016, her first book translation, Crossing the Sea by Wolfgang Bauer, appeared. She is currently translating a book of academic non-fiction.         

Zeiden, im Januar (Berlin: Wagenbach, 2015) is set in Transylvania, and the action takes place over the course of one day at the beginning of WWII. The ethnic German minority settled there for hundreds of years are sympathising with the National Socialists in Germany and their youths follow them willingly into the war. But the news from Bucharest on the day is worse than ever: the Romanian fascist faction stages a coup and captures the city’s Jews for ransom. Terror reigns on the streets as Jews are driven away to a mass execution site. The Transylvanian Germans are struggling with their conscience at the prospect of committing to Nazi-German nationhood, none more than Leontine Philippi, who is losing her footing in a society which is no longer civil. She decides to hold on to civility in a brutal world and so turns into the moral compass of the story.