Launch newleaf 25

Silver tongued

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009, was not only Epiphany Day, it also marked the launch of newleaf 25 as well as the magazine's silver anniversary. In keeping with the anniversary theme, the motto of the launch was “Silver-tongued.”

As is appropriate for an anniversary, the reading consisted of a mix of the old and the new. This was nowhere more apparent than in the performance of newleaf stalwart Kirsten Steppat, who read both the poem “Morning motif (in a flat)” from newleaf 25 as well as a poem entitled “Rook”, which was published when the issues of newleaf still numbered in single digits. Another newleaf long-timer, Franziska Kreuser, presented an instalment in her ongoing story “My Life as a Bombshell”. Corinna Gerhards recited three poems and Tatjana Pfenning entertained the audience with another of her urban fantasy stories. The most recent one, also to be found in newleaf 25, is entitled “Truth” and features the creation of golems and homunculi.

Celebrating a newleaf's silver anniversary also meant indulging in a bit of extravagance. Hence, two of newleaf's international authors, Ryan van Winkle and Nick Holdstock, were flown in from Edinburgh especially for the event. Well, to be honest, Ryan and Nick had decided to avail themselves of the regular Ryan Air connection between Bremen and Edinburgh as a stopover on the way to spending their holidays on the continent. Nonetheless, we were very pleased to have them. Ryan van Winkle dazzled the audience by performing his poem from newleaf 24, “The Darkness on the Edge of Toast”, including a convincing Bruce Springsteen impersonation. Ryan also read two more poems, complete with swearing, about subjects as varied as roadkill and bad relationships. Meanwhile, Nick Holdstock read the beginning of his story “The sea, the shore” about two students in Brighton, though unfortunately he stopped just short of the sex scene.

The performances of Nick and Ryan proved that even after twenty-five issues, there is still room for premieres in newleaf. Another case in point: the music. Not only did the “Silver-tongued” event mark the musical newleaf debuts of Christian Süssle and Seidi Siegfried, it was also the first time in newleaf history that there was a marimba on stage, skilfully played by Christian Süssle, accompanied by Seidi Siegfried on the piano.

The evening was hosted by Stella Recken, newleaf's stellar events manager, and the equally stellar Julia Boll, one third of newleaf's editorial team and also specifically flown in from Edinburgh for the night. Because the newleaf would be nothing without its editors, Julia as well as her co-editors Ian Watson and Simon Makhali received a bouquet of flowers each in recognition of their services to the magazine. And because newleaf would not even exist today if not for Ian Watson, who was so impressed by the poems penned in his classes that he decided to publish them in a small magazine back in 1993, Ian received a silver medal as a thank you for his tireless efforts in producing and promoting the magazine. There is a gold medal with Ian's name on it, too, but that shall remain in reserve until issue 50 comes along.