In attempt to keep track of things that have happened, and more importantly WHEN they have happened in these strange times, I’m once again putting together a round-up of what I’ve been up to over the past 12 months. The biggest news of 2021 was undoubtedly the publication of IN THE PINES, my novella of the forest, by Influx Press. My third book for Influx was also a collaboration, as it featured the haunting and beautiful collodion wet plate photography of Eymelt Sehmer. You can also read an interview with me about the book, from the ExBerliner, and an article and interview I wrote for Elsewhere about Eymelt and her photography. You can also read an extract from the book on Caught by the River: Ruinenlust.
Here’s what else I’ve been up to:
For Slow Travel Berlin (essay): Springsteen and The Wall, about the Boss’ famous 1988 GDR concert in East Berlin.
For The Guardian (essay): The paintings that take me back to Snowdonia, about the artwork of Rob Piercy.
For The Times Literary Supplement (review): Not all stories are for sharing, ‘The Fig Tree’ by Goran Vojnović
For Europe by Rail (essays): Reading on the Rails and A Hole in the Wall. The latter is about an opening in the north face of the Eiger, that has become part of mountaineering folklore in the Alps.
For hidden Europe (essay): Heathland: Exploring the Lüneburger Heide
For Caught by the River: Shadows and Reflections, about walking in Germany and the music of Gillian Welch.
We continued our work on Elsewhere: A Journal of Place, where I am the editor in chief, and although I wrote less for the journal this year than normal, I did contribute a couple of pieces including this review of the Adventure Podcast and an essay from Weimar about the town, Buchenwald, and how we remember the events of the past: Bearing Witness.
What else? In 2020 I attended the incredible ‘eleven songs‘ sound installation at Halle am Berghain by tamtam (Sam Auinger and Hannes Stobl). For their documentation of the project, published in 2021, I wrote the essay ‘Memory Songs’. I also worked with the wonderful people at Marmota Maps on the English translation of their Book of the Alps – which is out now!
I spent much of the first half of the year finishing a novel and writing my book about Heinrich Heine and the Harz mountains, that will be published in Germany in 2022. There is also some exciting news coming about other translations – more news as and when I can share it.
And what else? I have some ideas and some notes have been taken… but for the first time in about five years I do not have a concrete book project on the go. This is both unnerving but also a little exciting. Let’s seen what comes. If you’ve read this far, thanks for reaching the end of this – by its very nature – self-indulgent post, and I hope you have a wonderful 2022.