Light after Reading

Pre-Christmas poems and stories

Light after Reading was the motto of the newleaf Christmas reading at the Villa Ichon on December 11th, 2008. The title is of course a riff on the 2008 movie Burn After Reading written and directed by Oscar winners Joel and Ethan Coen and starring a further three Oscar winners, George Clooney, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton, as well as Brad Pitt.

Borrowing its title from such a star-studded masterpiece certainly promised great things for the reading, and the newleaf authors taking turns at the mike did not disappoint with a mix of seasonal and non-seasonal texts.

The reading started off with newleaf office manager Nurten Kurnaz reading a selection of poems by Barbara Assies, who unfortunately could not be there. Next up, Ian Watson, one third of newleaf's editorial triumvirate, read a cycle of calendar poems covering every month of the year. newleaf sales manager Cora Buhlert read a short story entitled “The Tree” about the troubles facing a young couple celebrating their first Christmas together. Longtime newleaf author Kirsten Steppat entertained the audience with a selection of seasonal poems inspired by her travels to the Isle of Wright and Australia. Kirsten's poems included an ode to the humble chestnut and the surprising relevation that in Australia, kangaroos are considered an essential part of any nativity scene. After the break, newleaf stalwart Rosi Oelke read two poems about angels and triangles, while Ole D. Herlyn, another longtime newleaf author, presented three very short short stories loosely linked by the subject of baking, whether baking wedding cakes or Lebkuchen.

The music was provided by Kai von Szadkowski, who entertained the audience with a selection of quiet and not so quiet folk songs. Highlights included a lovely rendition of Billy Joel's “Piano Man” – retitled appropriately enough as “Guitar Man” – and a ballad about the sinking of the Titanic.

The hosts for the evening were Stella Recken and Jacqueline Sprindt, who, along with the rest of the newleaf events team, did a great job in organizing such a fantastic reading. A particular thank you should also go to all of the first semester students in newleaf's events and PR teams, who were literally cast into cold water in organizing all aspects of the “Light after Reading” event and rose to the occasion admirably. The newleaf events and PR teams took care of all the behind-the-scenes work involved in creating such a memorable reading from writing and sending out press releases via setting up chairs to keeping the audience supplied with mulled wine (or Glühwein, as we Germans are apt to call it) and Christmas cookies.

Finally, another big thank you goes to the Literaturkontor Bremen, who acted as co-sponsors of the event and arranged to let us have the lovely room at the equally lovely Villa Ichon for free.