A Celebration of Konundrum: Selected Prose of Franz Kafka, with translator Peter Wortsman & Geoffrey O'Brien
October 20, 2016, 7:00 PM
Monstrous bugs! Penal colonies! Hunger artists! What would Community Bookstore be without the occasional Franz Kafka celebration, such as the one we have planned for the release of Konundrum, new translations of stories, journals, and letters from Archipelago Books. Translator Peter Wortsman and critic, editor and poet Geoffrey O’Brien join us to discuss the continued relevance and eternal return of K. A sample to seal the deal: “Sunday, July 19, 1910. Slept, woke up, slept, woke up, what a miserable life.”
Peter Wortsman was a Fulbright Fellow in 1973, a Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellow in 1974, and a Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in 2010. He received the 1985 Beard’s Fund Short Story Award, the 2008 Gertje Potash-Suhr Prosapreis of the Society for Contemporary American Literature in German, and the 2012 Gold Grand Prize for Best Travel Story of the Year in the Solas Awards Competition. He is the author of a book of short fiction, A Modern Way to Die: Small Stories and Microtales (1991), the plays The Tattooed Man Tells All (2000), and Burning Words (2006), and the travelogue/memoir Ghost Dance in Berlin: A Rhapsody in Gray, from Travelers’ Tales/Solas House. Wortsman’s numerous translations from the German include Telegrams of the Soul: Selected Prose of Peter Altenberg, Travel Pictures by Heinrich Heine, Posthumous Papers of a Living Author by Robert Musil, Peter Schelmiel, The Man Who Sold His Shadow by Adelbert von Chamisso, Selected Prose of Heinrich von Kleist and most recently, Tales of the German Imagination: From The Brothers Grimm to Ingeborg Bachmann, an anthology he assembled, from Penguin Classics. He works as a medical and travel journalist.
Geoffrey O'Brien is a poet, editor, and cultural historian. He is editor in chief for the Library of America. His books include Sonata for Jukebox: An Autobiography of My Ears, Castaways of the Image Planet: Movies, Show Business, Public Spectacle, and The Browser's Ecstasy: A Meditation on Reading, among many more. He lives in New York City.