Kirsty Bell in conversation with Honor Gavin.
Join us in Manchester on Monday the 14th for an in conversation between Kirsty Bell and Honor Gavin to celebrate the launch of Fitzcarraldo Editions latest title 'The Undercurrents: A Story of Berlin' by Kirsty Bell.
FREE TICKETS HERE.
The Undercurrents: A Story of Berlin is a dazzling work of biography, memoir and cultural criticism told from a precise vantage point: a stately nineteenth-century house on Berlin’s Landwehr Canal, a site at the centre of great historical changes, but also smaller domestic ones.
When her marriage breaks down, Kirsty Bell – a British-American writer, in her mid-forties, adrift – becomes fixated on the history of her building and of her adoptive city. Taking the view from her apartment window as her starting point, she turns to the lives of the house’s various inhabitants, to accounts penned by Walter Benjamin, Rosa Luxemburg and Gabriele Tergit, and to the female protagonists in the works of Theodor Fontane, Irmgard Keun and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. A new cultural topography of Berlin emerges, one which taps into energetic undercurrents to recover untold or forgotten stories beneath the city’s familiar narratives. Humane, thought-provoking and moving, The Undercurrents is a hybrid literary portrait of a place that makes the case for radical close readings: of ourselves, our cities and our histories.
'From the first moment I heard Kirsty Bell read from her writing, I have yearned for the book she was then working on. And now here it is, perfect and perfectly balanced, a clear-eyed and beautifully written account about place, about consciousness. I treasure The Undercurrents, and so will you.' — Hilton Als, author of White Girls
Kirsty Bell is a British-American writer and art critic living in Berlin. She has published widely in magazines and journals including Tate Etc. and Art in America, and was a contributing editor of frieze from 2011-2021. She was awarded a Warhol Foundation Grant for her book The Artist’s House, and her essays have appeared in over seventy exhibition catalogues for major international museums and institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and Tate, UK.
Honor Gavin's work moves between fiction, theory, and creative criticism. Midland: A Novel Out of Time (Penned in the Margins, 2014) was shortlisted for the 2015 Gordon Burn Prize. ‘Home Death’ was longlisted for the 2019/2020 Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize. In 2021 the Aleph Press published Funny Queer, a limited run hand-sewn collection of stories. They are also the co-editor (with Adam Kaasa) of Uncommon Building (Spirit Duplicator, 2017) and the author of critical monograph on the encounter between early twentieth-century literature and silent film. A recent essay on transmasculinity and femininity, ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me,’ takes its title from a Muriel Spark ghost story.