On Nature


Bernd Brunner

The Book of Pomegranates

Next to olives, figs, grapes and dates, the pomegranate belongs to the earliest fruit to be cultivated by humankind. Until today, it is surrounded by mysteries. Was the »forbidden apple« with which Eve tempted Adam actually a pomegranate? Is the pomegranate – botanically speaking – even an »apple«? Is it the universal remedy which many believe it to be? Most likely, the origin of the pomegranate lies in the area south of the Caspian Sea, and its traditional area of cultivation spans from the Himalayas to the Mediterranean. Its rich associations, especially as a symbol of fertility, run through the cultures of antiquity like a golden thread; later, it was used as an attribute of the Madonna figure and in still lives in Renaissance paintings until it was replaced by citrus fruit, which were much easier to process.

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Catalan rights (Edicions del Reremús), Arabic world rights (Al-Arabi), Turkey (Kirmizi)

Sigrid Damm

Hiking – A Quiet Rush

A sixty-year-old woman and a thirty-year-old man are hiking in the solitude of the far north for seven days, in the archaic landscape of Swedish Lapland, the home of the Sami people, the last indigenous people in Europe.

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Olaf Nils Dube

Bees and Humans

What is a person who dreams of a simple life, and is almost suffocating in the pursuit of a career, to do? Stuck in the wrong life; this feeling plagued Olaf Nils Dube for years. When he was in his mid-thirties, he gathered his courage, resigned from his position of responsibility, and left his spacious apartment in Prenzlauer Berg for a circus caravan. He took up beekeeping; like many other young people these days, incidentally. Back then he heard from all sides: »You can’t make a living from that!« And yet that is just what Dube went on to do, with the help of his bees. For they, after about ten million years of evolution history, are after all experts in survival!

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Hermann Hesse


To Hermann Hesse, trees are symbols that coalesce with memories, symbols of evanescence and rebirth, but also of »all growth, all libidinal, natural life, all insouciance and proliferous fertility«. To him, they are the mirror of the seasons, the landscapes and the environmental conditions of their habitat. In their age rings and connations we can see »all the battles, all the suffering, all the disease, all the fortune and prosperity«. And their presence can be incredibly comforting: »If we are sad and unable to bear life, a tree can speak to us: Be quiet! Be quiet! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not hard. … Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or nowhere.«

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English world rights (Kales Press), Italy (Ugo Guanda), Korea (Changbi), Japan (Asahi), Turkey (Kolektif)


Green Maps to Save the World

How many trees are there per person? And how much of the earth’s surface is covered in concrete? To fly or not to fly? SUV or e-scooter? Paper or plastic? eBook or print edition? Does the individual even determine the future of the planet at all, or is it on politicians to act? Answers to these and many more questions can be found in the alarming, illuminating and inspiring maps created by Germany’s most innovative magazine.

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English world rights (Bodley Head), Chinese complex rights (Business Weekly), Italy (Vallardi Editore)

Esther Kinsky


Profoundly empathetic, and austere – a minor-key exploration of landscape and land. Grove is a novel in three parts, each of them concerned with a different journey in a different Italy. In the first part, the narrator, recently bereaved, travels to a small village south-east of Rome. It is winter, and from her temporary residence on a hill between village and cemetery she embarks on walks and brief outings, exploring the banal and the sublime with equal dedication and intensity. Her perception is coloured by bereavement and the need to process her loss, but also by a profound curiosity in the details that make up the life around her and the way they refer to the many places of the dead, from the local cemetery to the ancient Etruscan tombs on the coast. Gazing, seeing, describing, naming the world around her is her way of redefining her place in this world.

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Andreas Maier, Christine Büchner


A colourful, extremely personal combination of memory, research, and reflection turns into an approach towards the old-fashioned field of natural history. Based on walks in Wetterau and the Wendland, in South Tyrol and the Odenwald, Christiane Büchner and Andreas Maier map out their éducation naturelle. Their »treatise on the blessings of the spirit that the experience of nature provides« (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) is both an invitation to the reader to engage with nature and a manual on how to be happy.

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Marion Poschmann

The Pine Islands

Gilbert Silvester, a lecturer and researcher on beard fashions in film, is in shock. The previous night he dreamt that his wife was cheating on him. In one sudden, irrational act he leaves her, gets on the first available plane, and flies to Japan in order to get some distance. Once there he comes across the travelogues of the classical poet Bashō. Suddenly Gilbert has a goal: like all wandering monks he too wants to see the moon over the pine islands. On the tradition-steeped pilgrims’ route he’ll be able to lose himself in nature and leave his inner turmoil behind. But before he even begins he meets the student Yosa, himself on the way with a completely different kind of guide: the Complete Manual of Suicide. Will Gilbert be able to talk Yosa out of his plan? And what metamorphoses will Gilbert the coffee drinker go through himself in the Land of Tea…?

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Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (steinbach sprechende bücher)

Judith Schalansky

The Giraffe's Neck

»There was no having your say with Inge Lohmark. No one had a choice. It was selective breeding or nothing.« Three days in the life of a biology teacher – the last of her kind, a relic of the former GDR. This dry-humoured story is set in one of the most absurd places in the world: a school.

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English world rights (Bloomsbury), Spanish world rights (Random House Mondadori), Chinese simplex rights (People's Literature Publishing House), Chinese complex rights (Locus), Russia (Text), Brazilian Portuguese Rights (Objetiva), France (Actes Sud), Italy (nottetempo), Netherlands (Signatuur), Denmark (Vandkunsten), Sweden (Pequod Press), Norway (Press), Finland (Tammi), Korea (Galmuri), Poland (Ha!Art), Czech Republic (Paseka), Hungary (Typotex), Bulgaria (Geia-Libris), Romania (Allfa), Estonia (Tänapäev), Bosnia (Imprimatur)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (DAV), German Book Club (Büchergilde Gutenberg), German Radio Play (SWR), German Stage Adaptations (Schauspiel Frankfurt - also performed at various other German Theatres; Maxim Gorki Theatre Berlin)

Erwin Seitz

Cooking in Accordance with Nature

Char on buckwheat risotto with »Bergkäse«; quail on beluga lentils with elderberry cream; saffron curry with mango and pistachio – Erwin Seitz combines fresh ingredients, light fonds, slightly acidic components and fruity notes into a European-Mediterranean style. These simple basic recipes invite you to create individual combinations depending on region and season and to prepare a delicious and healthy dish in 30 minutes. In the comprehensive section on nutritional information we learn everything we need to know about traditional types of grain, native freshwater fish, oils and vinegars, nuts and herbs – from the history of their cultivation to practical shopping tips.

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Jürgen Teipel

Our Unknown Family

»We do not know the make-up of this unknown family, which is composed of human beings and animals.« Walter Benjamin Animals think, animals feel, animals are inventive and have a complex inner life – and sometimes, they try and make themselves understood by us humans. Every now and then they succeed and those of us who have experienced this are not only changed forever, but also have a story to tell that has the potential to change the way we see the animal kingdom. Many people have related their extraordinary encounters to Jürgen Teipel – they are remarkable, surprising and moving stories: like the one about the squirrel that decides to climb up someone’s leg in a park, downright »adopts« them and won’t ever leave their side again, not even in the shower; or the seven-metre right whale calf that invites a diver to slide down its back; or the once wild cat that is so ecstatic about the return of its favourite humans that it dances with joy for days on end; or the terminally ill woman who found comfort in the empathetic company of a horse.

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Arabic world rights (Tanmia)

Raul Zelik

Us, The Undead of Capital

The undead seem to be taking possession of our society – »soulless cities«, an economic model that destroys the possibility of a good life more than it fosters it, the return of the fascist monster. Raul Zelik asks how these developments are connected and how they can be stopped. In his search, he turns his attention to another undead that just won’t die: the idea of socialism.

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Turkey (Iletisim)