Deutsches Haus at NYU presents a reading by the author Judith Keller, currently writer-in-residence at Deutsches Haus at NYU, from her new book The Questionable Ones, (Seagull Books, forthcoming in a translation by Tess Lewis in February 2023), followed by a conversation with the writer and translator Tess Lewis. In The Questionable Ones, Judith Keller offers a collection of lively snapshots of life in Zurich that reveal the extraordinary lurking inside the ordinary and the ordinary at the core of the extraordinary.
About “The Questionable Ones:”
With quirky humor and wry insight, Swiss author Judith Keller’s micro-fictions unravel the fabric of daily life. She delves into the aporia of language by taking idiomatic expressions literally, unpacking the multiple meanings of words, and confounding expectations. Seven Zurich tram stops provide the framework for these familiar yet absurd portraits of passers-by, fellow passengers on the tram, the unemployed and the overemployed, the innocent and the suspicious, young mothers and confused elderly. The reader is taken on a journey through the city and offered glimpses of people going more or less successfully about their lives. These deceptively banal glimpses, however, show us more than we expect—they turn the lens back on us, puncture our complacency and ask, ‘Who are you to judge?’
The Questionable Ones (2023) will be for sale at the event, courtesy of Seagull Books.
Please RSVP here.
This event will take place at 42 Washington Mews. This semester, based on NYU's guidelines, in-person events will be open to members of the general public.
Attendance instructions for NYU faculty, students and staff: Please show your NYU Violet Go Pass at the door.
Attendance instructions for members of the general public: According to new university guidelines, all visitors must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (including a booster, if eligible); however, visitors no longer have to present proof of vaccination at the door. Please be prepared to present proof of compliance with NYU's COVID-19 vaccination requirements if asked to do so. You can read more about this new policy here. Please RSVP for the event using the link above.
About the speakers:
Judith Keller studied German language and literature in Zurich as well as literary writing at the Swiss Literature Institute in Biel and the German Literature Institute in Leipzig. She also studied German as a foreign language in Berlin and Bogotá and was editor of the literary magazine Edit. In 2014, she received the New German Fiction Award for her short story “Wo ist das letzte Haus?” (“The Last House”) which was subsequently translated into English by Katy Derbyshire and published through Readux Books. Judith Keller’s book Die Fragwürdigen (The Questionable Ones), published in 2017 by Der gesunde Menschenversand, won an award from both the City of Zurich and the Canton of Zurich. Die Fragwürdigen was also performed as a theater production and featured as an audio play for Swiss radio. In 2021, Judith Keller’s experimental novel Oder? (Or?) was published by Der gesunde Menschenversand and in 2022, the book Das ramponierte Vertrauen, (The Battered Trust), which features photos by Nicole Zachmann and text by Judith Keller, was published by Vexer Verlag. The Questionable Ones will be published, in English translation by Tess Lewis, by Seagull Books early in 2023. Later next year, Verlag Luchterhand will publish a new novel by Judith Keller.
Tess Lewis is a writer and translator from French and German. Her translations include works by Peter Handke, Walter Benjamin, Klaus Merz, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Christine Angot, Pascal Bruckner, and Jean-Luc Benoziglio. She has been awarded grants from PEN USA, PEN UK, and the NEA, a Max Geilinger Translation Grant for her translation of Philippe Jaccottet, the ACFNY Translation Prize and the 2017 PEN Translation Prize for her translation of the novel Angel of Oblivion by the Austrian writer Maja Haderlap, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. She has served on the Board of the National Book Critics Circle and as Co-chair of the PEN Translation Committee. She has been an Advisory Editor for The Hudson Review since 2003. Her essays and reviews have appeared in a number of journals and newspapers including Bookforum, Partisan Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Hudson Review, World Literature Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald and The American Scholar. Tess Lewis was a 2021-22 Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.
“The Questionable Ones: An Evening with Judith Keller and Tess Lewis” is presented with the generous support of Pro Helvetia.