The moderated conversation “Express Yourself: Why Writers Write” will be preceded by the 2022 Friedrich Ulfers Prize ceremony. This year’s prize will be awarded to Riky Stock, the Managing Director at NorthSouth Books. The laudation will be held by Barbara Perlmutter. Professor Friedrich Ulfers will also provide short remarks.
The Friedrich Ulfers Prize was established in 2013 and is awarded annually by Deutsches Haus at New York University to a leading publisher, writer, critic, translator, or scholar who has championed the advancement of German-language literature in the United States. The prize, which is endowed with a $5000 grant, has previously been awarded to Jill Schoolman, Susan Bernofsky, Barbara Perlmutter, Barbara Epler, Burton Pike, Robert Weil, Sara Bershtel, and Carol Brown Janeway. The Friedrich Ulfers Prize is Festival Neue Literatur’s testimony to the rising importance of German-language literature in America.
Riky Stock is the Managing Director at NorthSouth Books–the U.S. imprint of Swiss NordSüd Verlag–which publishes high-quality picture books by mostly German-language authors and artists including Marcus Pfister, the creator of the NYT bestselling The Rainbow Fish, and Torben Kuhlmann. Born and educated in Germany, she started her career in publishing in New York City, working for Mary Anne Thompson Associates as a literary scout. Next, she spent two years in the HarperCollins subsidiary rights department, both on the domestic and international side. At HarperCollins, she witnessed first-hand how a bestselling German novel was translated, published and promoted in English. That process was soon something she became actively involved in when she took the job as director of the German Book Office New York, Inc. (later known as Frankfurt Book Fair New York) in 2002. In that role, she worked on several initiatives which aimed to promote German literature in the U.S. She organized fourteen trips for U.S. editors to Germany, invited German and international editors over for programming in New York, founded the U.S. jury for New Books in German, co-initiated the bi-annual GINT Translation Prize for nonfiction, hosted translator workshops, organized launch events, and recommended U.S. publishers, readers, and translators for German titles. While working at the Frankfurt Book Fair New York, Riky Stock’s favorite project was Festival Neue Literatur.
Barbara Perlmutter was born and educated in Berlin and began her career in publishing in New York during the mid-sixties, working at the Joan Daves Literary Agency in New York. At the time, the agency handled the original works of several American authors, like Dr. Martin Luther King, but of great emphasis was the representation of several major German publishers: Suhrkamp, Piper, S. Fischer Verlag and others. Barbara Perlmutter offered their German classics and new young German authors to U.S. publishers for translation into English. It was the high time of Uwe Johnson, Max Frisch, Peter Weiss, Heinar Kipphardt, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, and the all-time bestseller classic Hermann Hesse. From 1978 on, Barbara worked as scout and representative for S. Fischer Verlag (including SFV Theater, Krueger, Scherz). During the following three decades, working for this Frankfurt publisher, Barbara handled the oeuvre of many German classics in need of new agreements, new translations, complicated copyright searches, or even first translations altogether. These included the works of Thomas Mann, Golo Mann, Franz Werfel, Franz Kafka, Elias Canetti, Carl Zuckmayer, Hans Keilson and contemporary authors like Judith Hermann, Reiner Kunze, Wolfgang Hilbig, Gerhard Roth, Julia Franck, Dieter Kühn, and Monika Maron. A three-volume Kafka biography by Reiner Stach (published by Princeton University Press) and the new translation of Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz (published by New York Review of Books,) were some of Barbara’s recent book projects.
Friedrich Ulfers is Associate Professor of German at New York University. In the past he also served as Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Science, the German Department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies, Director of the NYU in Berlin Summer Program and Director of Deutsches Haus at NYU. The recipient of NYU’s Distinguished Teaching Medal and Great Teacher Award, and two-time winner of the College of Arts and Science’s Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Teaching, Ulfers has taught not only in the German Department but also in NYU’s interdisciplinary programs, offering courses that engage a range of interests, including literary theory, continental philosophy, and the relationships between science, literature, and philosophy. Friedrich Ulfers also served as a professor of Philosophy at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, teaching an intensive summer seminar on Nietzsche and 20th/21st Century Thought and giving a variety of lectures. From 2006-2009 he was Dean of the Media and Communications Division of the School, and in 2009 he was appointed Professor Emeritus. Friedrich Ulfers received the Heights Colleges Faculty Hall of Fame Award and the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) for the commitment to German-American relations in the areas of culture and education.