Aleš Šteger [ Slovenia ]
Buch der Dinge, 2006
Preußenpark: Berliner Skizzen, 2009
Buch der Körper, 2012
Archiv der toten Seelen, 2016
Aleš Šteger was born in 1973 in Ptuj in what was then Yugoslavia and studied German and Comparative Literary Sciences at the University in Ljubljana, where he now works as an editor at Študentska založba publishing house.
Šteger is considered one of the most important Slovenian writers of his generation, and in 1997 his collection of poems »Kašmir« (tr: Kashmir) attracted international praise. The literary critic Nico Bleutge said of Šteger’s fourth collection of poetry »Knjiga reči« (2005; En. »The Book of Things«, 2010) that the poems were »little works of balance, which again and again bring their words into a fragile equilibrium. Often just a small insertion, a small rotation or a change in rhythm is sufficient, and the verses acquire a new direction. It is Šteger’s skill to continuously jolt the preconceptions of the reader through his images.« The poet himself describes his interest in linguistic ambiguity in one of his early verses with the comment that a poem is »material only in gaseous form”. In 2010, the book of poems »Knjiga teles« (tr: The Book of Bodies) followed, in which Šteger, in three parts of 25 poems each, explores how far language can interpret bodily experience, »microscopically scanning the surfaces of language« (Deutschlandfunk radio). Thus in »One in One«, at the outset, minimalistically expressed, we see the fruits of a loving relationship: »Three from Two«. In 2014, Šteger finally published his first novel, »Odpusti« (tr: Archive of the Dead Souls), which is set during the carnival in 2012, when the Slovenian Maribor was the cultural capital of Europe. A dramaturge and a female journalist are on the track of an evil conspiracy in which many of Maribor’s most important citizens are involved. In the title, Šteger is not only referring to the title of the novel »Dead Souls« (1842) by the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol, but also similarly exposes the grotesque excesses of corruption in a decadent society hidden by a beautiful exterior.
Since 2012, Šteger has also carried out an annual literary performance titled »Written on the Spot«, which has so far taken him to Fukushima, Mexico City and Belgrade, among other places. Previously, a collection of narrative essay-style sketches and photographs of the author appeared in Berlin as part of a DAAD artistic scholarship with the title »Preußenpark« (2009; tr: Prussian Park). Šteger has received numerous awards for his literary work, including the Veronika Prize in 1998 and the Rožanc Prize in 2007 for his collection of essays »Berlin«. He has been a member of the Akademie der Künste Berlin since 2014. In addition to his work as an author he also translates from Spanish and German, including works of Gottfried Benn, Durs Grünbein and Pablo Neruda.