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Author meets Translator: A conversation with Sharon Dodua Otoo and Jon Cho Polizzi

We could introduce Sharon Dodua Otoo by way of the many prestigious accolades she has received, but really her work speaks for itself. At poco.lit. we’ve been fans of her work for a long time and are delighted to present a conversation between her and her talented translator Jon Cho Polizzi as part of our event series “author meets translator”. We’ll be talking about the novel Adas Raum (Ada’s Room/Ada’s Realm), about humour, Berliner Schnauze, and doing politics in language and literature. Join us!

Date and time: 07. March 2024, 18h30 – 19h30 CET
Location: Online on Zoom –

The event is free of charge, will be held in English spoken language and simultaneously translated into British sign language by Involve.

Did you ever wonder what your broom or doorbell would say if it told the stories of your comings and goings? Looking at things from such outlandish perspectives is just one of the innovative narrative moves Sharon Dodua Otoo presents in the formally experimental Adas Raum (Ada’s Room/Ada’s Realm). In the novel you meet Ada in her different iterations through the ages. She experiences oppression and practices resistance and in each of these loops, we find recurrences, echoes and reverberations. God also appears in a number of irreverent and charismatic guises and she shares her mystic wisdoms in a Berliner dialect. Otoo is able to elegantly craft resonances between her various eras and settings, and political questions that are very much pertinent to our present moment.

Jon Cho Polizzi knows how challenging this text was to translate. He had to find strategies for the different narrative voices, convey the humour and deal sensitively with the characters and their life circumstances. Dealing with a British publisher and a US-American publisher at the same time also led to a number of linguistic negotiation processes.

Sharon Dodua Otoo and Jon Cho Polizzi offer insights into their creative and political work with language through this multi-layered text.

Sharon Dodua Otoo is a novelist and a political activist based in Berlin. She writes prose, essays, edits the book series “Witnessed” and curates the German-language literature festival “Resonanzen”. Her debut novel Adas Raum has been translated into many languages. Otoo won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 2016, a major international literary award in German speaking countries.

Jon Cho Polizzi is an Assistant Professor of German at the University of Michigan, USA, and a literary translator. He has translated literature from German, including works by Sharon Dodua Otoo, Max Czollek and Fatma Aydemir.

The event is part of the series “Author meets Translator”, which is supported by the German Translators’ Fund.

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