Isabel Fargo Cole grew up in New York City and studied at the University of Chicago; since 1995 she has lived and worked in Berlin as a freelance writer and translator (e.g. Alexander Kluge, Wolfgang Hilbig, Franz Führmann, Klaus Hoffer und Annemarie Schwarzenbach.) She was co-editor of the magazine „lauter niemand“ and co-organizer of the „Literaturlabor“ in the years 2006-2008, she also initiated and co-edited www.no-mans-land.org
, which takes the form of an online magazine for new German literature in English translation. Together with Juli Zeh and Ilija Trojanow she started the Initiative „Writers Against Mass Surveillance“. Her first novel, „Die grüne Grenze. Ein Märchen“ (“The green border. A fairy tale”) will be published by Nautilus Edition in 2017.
What brought you to Berlin? Love? World politics? Or was it a coincidence?
It was in 1987 when I first came to Berlin (on a school-trip in the course of a student-exchange-programme in Bielefeld) and I already was completely smitten with the city.
What do you love about Berlin?
All the still-broken, the gloomy, the green, the living, the serenity, the struggle with history.
What do you miss in Berlin?
Mountains and deserts
What is your favorite spot in Berlin?
Would you say you are a different person in Berlin? A different translator? And if yes, in what way?
I’m older and wiser than I was before, back home.
Which existing literary work do you wish you would have written?
"A Room of One's Own" (Virginia Woolf)
2003 Literarisches Colloquium Berlin, Summer Academy for translators.
2004 Fellowship by the foundation Stiftung Kulturfonds at Künstlerhaus Lukas, Ahrenshoop.
2006 Participaticon in translators‘ conference, „Wolfenbüttler Übersetzergespräche“
2007 „Internationales Übersetzertreffen“, International Meeting of Translators, Literarisches Colloquium Berlin
2012 Fellowship from the Kunststiftung NRW at the Europäisches Übersetzer-Kollegium Straelen (Translation project: Wolfgang Hilbig, "I").
2013 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Award for the translation of Franz Fühmann’s At the Burning Abyss (Vor Feuerschlünden). 2013 Shortlist, Typographical Translation Award (Franz Fühmann, The Jew Car)
2014 Shortlist, Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize (Franz Fühmann, The Jew Car)
2015 Fellowship from the Austrian Society for Literature, Vienna (translation project: Klaus Hoffer, Among the Bieresch)
2016 Longlist, Best Translated Book Award (Wolfgang Hilbig, The Sleep of the Righteous)
2016 Residency by the Austrian Society for Literature, Vienna (translation project: Adalbert Stifter, Bunte Steine)