One Day a Year

Christa Wolf

Translated by Katy Derbyshire


5 x 8.5 inches, 128pp. June 2017

ISBN : 9780857424273

Rs  499.00 (HB)
$21.00 (HB)
£16.99 (HB)

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During a 1960 interview, East German writer Christa Wolf was asked a curious question: would she describe in detail what she did on September 27th? Fascinated by considering the significance of a single day over many years, Wolf began keeping a detailed diary of September 27th, a practice which she carried on for more than 50 years until her death in 2011. The first volume of these notes, which covered 1960 through 2000, was published to great acclaim more than a decade ago. Now translator Katy Derbyshire brings the September 27th collection up to date with One Day a Year—a collection of Wolf’s notes from the last decade of her life.

The book is both a personal record and a unique document of our times. With her characteristic precision and transparency, Wolf examines the interplay of the private, subjective, and major contemporary historical events. She writes about Germany after 9/11, about her work on her last great book City of Angels, and also about her exhausting confrontation with old age. One Day a Year is a compelling and personal glimpse into the life of one of the world’s greatest writers.

Christa Wolf was one of Germany's most celebrated post-war writers. She grew up during Nazi rule and spent most of her adulthood in communist East Germany, where she increasingly came to question ideologies through her writing. In 1989, she was an instrumental figure in the protests leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Her work was always innovative and challenging in terms of style and politics, including the ground-breaking Cassandra, Patterns of Childhood and The Quest for Christa T. Her last novel, City of Angels, dealt with her stay in Los Angeles during the fallout from revelations that she had been an informal collaborator with the Stasi in younger years, and naturally been spied upon for a significantly longer period. She has been awarded many prizes, among them the Buchner Prize of the German Academy of Language and Poetry (1980), the Austrian State Prize for European Literature (1985) and the Geschwister-Scholl-Prize of the city of Munich (1987). Christa Wolf died in Berlin in 2011.


Katy Derbyshire co-edits, an online magazine of contemporary German writing in English, and co-hosts a monthly translation lab in Berlin. She has translated books by Helene Hegemann, Clemens Meyer, Inka Parei (Shadow-Boxing Woman and What Darkness Was for Seagull Books), Simon Urban, Dorothee Elmiger (Invitation to the Bold of Heart for Seagull Books) and Sibylle Lewitscharoff (Apostoloff, forthcoming from Seagull Books).

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