Leipzig Writer’s first Berlin reading took place August 27th, 8pm at John Power’s G11 Galerie. The theme, ‘War and Peace’. A salon staging, the evening opened with Sarajevo artist Christiana Biron’s impassioned personal account of her country’s past and current conflicts. Our scribed meditations on the topic followed. It then ended with a candlelit musical performance by soprano Aleksandrina Semerdzhieva accompanied by electric guitarist Stuart McClean playing Bach and Mozart.
Our segment featured Svetlana Lavochkina, Stew Tunnicliff, Rima Chakaroun, Ralf Lowland and myself – Kat Steiger. We started with a flash-card reading blitz – each of us delivering phrases from Stew’s ‘Conflicting Thoughts’ on flashcards, then tossing them to the ground. I then began with ‘Blackbird’ – a piece written in honor of my father linking his turbulent childhood and Viet Nam. German and Russian translations echoed after. Svetlana then read an excerpt of ‘Crashattic’ – a short story set in Kiev and Novosibirsk during World War II. This piece was recently accepted by Witness, one of America’s top literary publications. Stewart next lured the audience with his distinct British phrasing through works marked by his homeland in ‘Legend Passed’ and ‘Capital Damage’. Rima’s ‘Rocking Horse of Time’ was another visceral portrayal of witnessed war, in Lebanon. Lastly, ‘800 Years’ was read by Ralf in both English and German – slowing to a close with the lines “Our Ireland’s neither dead nor gone, Tis sleeping it is, still” . . .
It was a unique performance that highlighted our variety of viewpoints and voices. We thank John Powers for the invitation and look forward to future projects amongst ourselves to continue to creatively collaborate on!