Originals: Ruth Elkins on Her Local 15 Minutes


  Ruth Elkins moved to Berlin in 2002 to get away from one bad man and to forget another. She spent her time in the city reading Shakespeare in the Tiergarten with Wagner experts and former spies and watching her next-door neighbour Hans try to save on heating bills by sleeping in front of the kitchen oven…. Read more »

Originals: Peter Behrens on Refugee Dreams


  Peter Behrens’ first novel, The Law of Dreams, won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, Canada’s most prestigious book prize, in 2006. Kevin Baker in the New York Times Book Review called it “Absorbing, unsparing and beautifully written…a masterly novel”. His new novel The O’Briens will be published this year by House of… Read more »

The Haus Frau Complex 2


Following up on our post a few weeks ago about the German Haus Frau Complex, an article in Spiegel this week further elaborates on the problems women experience in the workplace here in Germany and how that relates to the very low birthrate. What have been your experiences as women working in Germany? And as… Read more »

Required Reading: Peter Schneider on the Wall


If you missed the German writer Peter Scheider’s Op-Ed about the 50th anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall in the New York Times this Sunday, you can read it here. Meanwhile, if you haven’t read his incredible 1980 novel The Wall Jumper, which paints an unparalleled portrait of the divided city, and was reissued… Read more »

Particle Wave: Madame Claude & Marie Antoinette

Madame Claude Upside down photo courtesy of the venue copyright of MGSM)

(This week we introduce PARTICLE WAVE, a column written by Fenster bandmates JJ Hurvich and Jonathan Jarzyna about Berlin’s new music scene. Look forward to profiles, interviews and live performance podcasts. This week a profile of two popular venues, Madame Claude & Marie Antoinette…) It’s not easy to make a living from experimental music. That’s why… Read more »

Originals: Ashley Brandt on the Grammar of Cultural Sensitivity

Photo by Elizabeth Skadden

Photo by Elizabeth Skadden

Ashley Brandt is a freelance writer and playwright living in Berlin. Produced works include The Harvest Chamber, Prophecy of a Nameless Eskimo and Me, Myself and You in Cyberspace.

Originals: Brian Kapell on Finding Your Mantra


From Madison,Wisconsin by way of Los Angeles, Brian Kapell is an actor, teacher and writer. He currently directs the comedy improvisation group ComedySportz Berlin, which is performed weekly at Kookaburra Comedy Club.

Originals: Brittani Sonnenberg on the Soundtracks of Home

Photo by Elizabeth Skadden

Photo by Elizabeth Skadden

  Brittani Sonnenberg’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The O’Henry Prize Stories 2008, Ploughshares, Time Magazine and elsewhere. To hear other great pieces Sonnenberg has written for previous seasons of Berlin Stories for NPR, please click here and here. She studied English literature at Harvard University, received her fiction MFA from the University of Michigan… Read more »

Excerpts: Julia Franck reads from her novel, The Blindness of the Heart, in English

BlindnessheartPKmech_Layout 1


German novelist Julia Franck was born in Berlin in 1970. THE BLINDNESS OF THE HEART, which will be published in more than thirty-five countries and has sold over 800,000 copies in Germany alone, is her first novel to be translated into English. To buy it please visit Dialogue Books at Schonleinstrasse 31.

Originals: April Lamm on the Bittersweet Pleasures of ebay.de

Photo by Elizabeth Skadden

Photo by Elizabeth Skadden

  April Elizabeth Lamm is a writer and curator who has been based in Berlin since 1998. Since curating the exhibition “Anonym: In the Future No One Will Be Famous” (November 2006 to January 2007) at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, she has been working on a collection of short stories called The Ministry of Leisure and is co-authoring an… Read more »