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Die Entstehung der Rubrik wurde durch eine Förderung des Hauptstadtkulturfonds ermöglicht. 

Eric Sarner



Born: 6.10.1943
Birthplace: Algiers
Country of birth: France
Lives in: Berlin, Mitte

Working language: French


Eric SARNER was born in Algiers—then a French territory—in 1943. He is the author of about twenty books: poetry collections, travel writing (USA, Haïti, Algeria), essays, and translations from English and Spanish. He is also a recognized performer of his own poetry. As a journalist, he published a large number of articles in various media and participated in numerous radio programs. Sarner also directed about twenty documentary reports for various French and international TV channels. Both his literary and audiovisual work have received recognition and awards.

6 Questions

What brought you to Berlin? Love? World politics? Or was it a coincidence?

History at first—my passion for it, then my own little story brought me to Berlin in the 1980's. I remember going east and at one point standing firmly on my legs with my feet on each side of the dividing line.

What do you love about Berlin?

A unique mixture of historical weight and light air. There is no equivalent—in weight or lightness—anywhere else.

What do you miss in Berlin?

I hardly think of what I am missing here. In fact, I never thought of any lack... Oh yes! I know: I enjoy traveling by train, but there is no direct railway link between Berlin and Paris!

What is your favorite spot in Berlin?

I have many favorite spots in the city, but the district I feel most comfortable with is Scheunenviertel, where even the names of the streets have a poetic charge. This mixture of weight and light air I am talking of is very strong along Auguststraße.

Would you say you are a different person in Berlin? A different translator? And if yes, in what way?

I don't feel a different person in Berlin. It is one of Berlin's qualities to let people appear as they truly are. In Berlin, I believe I am the same good or bad poet and writer, translator, pizza or cheese eater or dancer as anywhere else...

Which existing literary work do you wish you had written?

Nothing less than all of Dante, Cervantès and Shakespeare! But then I wouldn't belong here, to these present times of pieces and fragments!


2013  Tudor Arghesi Prize (Romania)
2014  Max-Jacob Prize (France)


Publications in german

Publications in original language

22 Figures au passage

Les Venterniers, 2015 poetry

Un voyage en Algéries

Editions Plon, 2012 prose

Cœur chronique

Le Castor astral, 2013 poetry

Ballade de Frankie

Le Castor astral, 2011 Poesie