As the spin doctors of Los Ala­mos might have said, ‘If you're go­ing to make a mistake, at least make sure it's a big one.’ And so we would like to apologise most profusely to all concerned, not just for a simple run-of-the-mill printing error in newleaf 4, but for the highly embar­rassing boob of actually putting the wrong writer's name to four poems. All the texts printed under the name of Tim Giesler were in fact written by Tim Ingold. This arose from the fact that both Tims — and indeed a third — had taken part in Creative Writing classes and written texts which made our 'Pipe­line' shortlist. We will draw a veil over how the mistake actually occur­red. Suffice it to say that we grovelled humbly before the correct Tim and were able to make things up to some extent when Tim Ingold — who is obviously set to become a newleaf regular — took part in our reading in June 1997 in Bremen, at which nine of the authors involved in newleaf 4 read from their work to an audience of over fifty. Peter Böhmer of Radio Bremen 2 was there to record the event for a long feature in their bi-lingual programme Art und Weise: Whitaker's Way. This was the second such even­ing, and much more successful than the first one in January 1997, held to launch newleaf 3, which had suffered from the late-afternoon venue in the university's romantically named Mehrzweckhochhaus. This time around, a warm summer evening in the pleasant setting of the Gäste­haus der Universität down by the river in the city centre was an obvi­ously more attractive setting. Our thanks go to Culture Vultures, who advertised the event and also provided refresh­ments in the interval. The Vultures have shown over the years that there is a large audience for English-language arts events in the city, live ones in particular.

Since then, we have done two other readings: one in the bar of the Bremen English Club, in front of an audience appreciative both of our texts and the selection of ex­cellent English and Scottish beers on offer; and the other over a public address system in one of the city's main shopping malls in the middle of the Christmas shopping rush, to support the students' strike week in December 1997. People stopped to listen to us and — occasionally — actually took a strike leaflet too.

By the time you have this new issue of the magazine in your hands, newleaf 5 will have been grandly launched in an even more enhanced ambience at the re-opening of one of Bremen's best literary reading venues, the aptly named Ambiente, now splendidly renovated, on 29 January 1998.

The success of Uche Nduka's The Bremen Poems, which we pub­lished as the first of a series of pamphlets under the newleaf Press label in 1995, is already bearing fruit. That edition sold out a long time ago, and a second edition — this time in a bi-lingual format — is being planned. We have handed over the rights to the Yeti Press, a young up-and-coming Bremen pub­lishing house which specialises in writing on inter­national topics and is willing to take risks with bi-lingual texts. They pub­lished Nduka's latest collection Chiar­oscuro to very positive criti­cal praise earlier this year (ISBN 3-9805640-0-2), and just before we went to press we heard that the book had won the 1997 National Poetry Prize of the Association of Nigerian Authors. Congratulations, Uche — and to Christoph Spehr, the publisher.

Building on the success of the Nduka volume, we have decided to give some of our own young writers the opportunity for such a pub­lishing spring­board, and will be starting with a collection from Shawn Huelle, a project which will kindly be financially supported by his alma mater, Doane College, in Crete, Nebraska. Other writers already earmarked are two newleaf regulars, Martina Meyer and Kirsten Steppat. Watch this space.

Be warned: newleaf 5 is all poetry. In contrast, newleaf 6 will be all prose — both fiction and non-fiction.

Finally, if you've received this issue as a complimentary copy through the post, you'll have noticed that there is no chatty covering letter, as in the past. The reason for this is that without the letter we can send the magazines — almost a hundred go out to English De­partments and libraries all over the country — as a Büchersendung, which will save our faculty over DM 200 a year. So please hand on newleaf to the creative writing person in your department. Thanks, and ...


Ian Watson and Simon Makhali, January 1998