Navigation Kopfzeile

Ingo Schulze

The Amazonís Writer-in-Residence

This year Germany is the guest of honour at the 16th Rio Book Fair. Germanyís appearance as guest nation is part of the Germany-Brazil-Year 2013- 2014, whose motto is Ďwhere ideas come togetherí. Cultural exchange between Brazil and Germany is being promoted throughout the year via a rich variety of artistic and literary activities. In one such event, six German authors have been invited by the Goethe-Institut to spend four weeks in Brazil as writers-in-residence in order to become better acquainted with the country and its inhabitants as well as its culture and history. German author Ingo Schulze is involved with the guest of honour programme.

What exactly will you be doing in Brazil and what are you most looking forward to?
First of all I am very much looking forward to seeing friends again, like the writer and translator Marcelo Backes. Two years ago Christine Traber and I made a film together about the terra preta Ė the Amazonís black soil. Now I would really like to go and meet the indigenous people who still know how to make the black soil today. And of course Iím looking forward to Rio de Janeiro too: itís one of the worldís most beautiful cities. Iíve always been drawn to the beach at Ipanema Ė thereís no better place to be during the German winter. Iím also a great fan of the ice-cool coconuts Ė Iím a very good customer!

Is your research into terra preta for a book project? Can you tell us something about it?
The documentary film was already research for a book Ė for the novel that I have in mind at the moment. The terra preta suggests connections for me with the history of the last 500 years, as well as with what we call globalisation. I donít know yet whether Iíll manage to make terra preta into a metaphor.

The Amazon region is an unusual destination for a writer-in-residence. How are you preparing for your six week stay?
We are still anxious about the visa for travelling to the Kuikuru region. Itís also just not easy to spend so much time away. I have no idea when I was last away for so long.

Besides a pen and paper, what can you not do without in the rainforest?
Mosquito spray, a hammock, biscuits, a boat with enough fuel. The most important thing of all though are the people who know the way, who know where itís all right to sleep and where itís not.
Interview: Raphaela Sabel
Translated by Sheridan Marshall

Ingo Schulze Photo: Tobias Bohm
Ingo Schulze
was born in 1962 in Dresden, studied classics in Jena and worked in Altenburg as a drama advisor and newspaper editor. He has lived in Berlin since 1993. His books have won numerous awards and have been translated into more than thirty languages.