Book Fair: around the world in four days


Snowdrops and crocuses streak the winter soil with watercolors, each flower a poem of birth. Returning cranes traverse the bleak skies with molecules of south rainbow on their wings – and new stories of their travels. And we the humans crave for these stories, and we get them – lucky us Leipzig denizens. Spring time, Book Fair Time, when the city becomes the literary globe in miniature. No planes, no ships needed – the world cruise can be undertaken in four days, on foot, by bike, by tram.

You choose your itinerary and transit stops, and I’ll share mine for the Leipzig Book Fair.

Most of my chosen events happen to be on the first day of the fair, 15 March. Some will be at the Messe, others elsewhere in town.


I start off with the Japanese adventures on slate, to listen to fiction and travel stories of The Penultimate Samurai.

15 March, 13:30 to 14:00

Der Vorletzte Samurai, Manga-Comic-Con, LVZ-Autorenarena, Messe Leipzig, Halle 5, D100


For my next destination, China, I follow the invitation of the renowned poet and translator Jeffrey Yang. I will listen to his reading from his recent poetry collection, discuss his literary practices “excavating the buried past through a mix of natural observations and lyrical meditation, using local history and indigenous myth to create a new idea of place.”

15 March, 19:00

Yennecott, Konfuzius-Institut Leipzig, Otto-Schill-Str. 1, 04109 Leipzig

More info


And now a jaunt to Romania, where I’m privileged to be allowed a glimpse into the treasury of its contemporary poetry and prose.

Presented by Jörg Becken, Ludger Claßen, Horatiu Decuble, Rodocia Draghincescu and Doina Talmann.

15 March, 14:00 to 15:00

Zeitgenössische rumänische Lyrik & Prosa, Rumänisches Kultusministerium, Halle 4, Stand E501

More info


Yet another setting, Southern France. Andrea Süssenbacher presents her novel In the Shade of Cypresses, set in the picturesque Provence, at an old farm which becomes a battlefield of nightmarish intercultural drama and modern-day feuds.

15 March, 20:00

Im Schatten der Zypressen, GANOS Kaffee-Kontor und Rösterei, Dittrichring 6, 04109 Leipzig


I round off my journey in Mexico, to follow the footsteps of the pueblo Indians with novelist Antje Babendererde.

Her protagonists, the German Mara and the indigenous Kayemo, discover virginal wild landscapes, magical secrets of Mexico’s past, and newborn love for each other.

16 March, 12:30 to 13:00

Auf den Spuren der Puebloindianer: Wilde Landschaften, magische Orte und eine Liebe zwischen zwei Kulturen, Lesebude 2, Halle 2, Stand H500

More info

But this is just my route, my taste, one of the millions of possible combinations, one as good as the other. Fancy coming along?

Or make up your own map of adventures – the Leipzig Book Fair world is a literary gold mine for your avaricious reader’s mind.

Save the date:

Leipziger Buchmesse

15-18 March 2018

Svetlana Lavochkina is a Ukrainian-born novelist, poet and poetry translator, now residing in Germany. In 2013, her novella Dam Duchess was chosen runner-up in the Paris Literary Prize. Her debut novel, Zap, was shortlisted for Tibor & Jones Pageturner Prize 2015. Svetlana’s work has been widely published in the US and Europe. It appeared in AGNI, New Humanist, POEM, Witness, Straylight, Circumference, Superstition Review, Sixfold, Drunken Boat and elsewhere.

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