German Buch News: Praise for Google Settlement Delay; Frankfurt as a Refuge

In German Buch News by Siobhan O'Leary

By Siobhan O’Leary

The Börsenverein (German Publishers and Booksellers Association) and VG Wort held a press conference yesterday in Frankfurt to discuss the implications of the postponement of a Google Settlement “fairness hearing” originally scheduled for October. The Boersenblatt reports that Alexander Skipis, chief executive of the Boersenverein, was delighted about the rejection of the Settlement in its current state and applauded the increasing awareness of the value of copyright. Christian Sprang, legal counsel for the Boersenverein, said that “the Google Book Settlement, in its present form, is legal history.”

Iranian poet, literary critic and translator Pegah Ahmadi has been offered a grant to live and write in Frankfurt for the next two years under the “City of Refuge” program organized by Litprom — Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Literatur aus Afrika, Asien und Lateinamerika (Society for the Promotion of African, Asian and Latin American Literature). Ahmadi has been a victim of censorship and was prevented from attending an international poetry festival in Kurdistan in 2007. Her email and telephone service has been interrupted and she can no longer give public lectures in Iran, writes the Boersenblatt.

The Chinese government has denied yet another Chinese author a visa to travel to Germany to speak. Liao Yiwu was scheduled to participate in the “Rasende Heimat” (Frenetic Homeland) — an art, literature, and music event — at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures) in Berlin on October 10th, but he was denied permission to travel to Germany. Director Bernd Scherer said in a press release that he is appalled by the situation and expressing his regret that the Chinese government is interfering with the organization’s effort to present a true picture of the complex reality of China. He added that the Haus der Kulturen der Welt will continue to lobby to have Liao Yiwu at the event, says BuchMarkt. Frankfurt Book Fair Director Juergen Boos said the Fair will do everything in its power to enable Liao Yiwu to come to Germany. He added that the Fair will object to any obstructions that could interfere with authors’ plans to attend, and added that there are over 250 events with dissident voices planned at the Fair.

About the Author

Siobhan O'Leary

Siobhan O’Leary is a literary agent, translator and writer based in Berlin. She previously worked in the Foreign Rights department of the Crown Publishing Group (Random House) and at the publishing consulting firm Market Partners International.