“The word intellectual is a dirty word.”

Interview

Bill Manhire doesn’t have the largest office in Wellington it’s but probably the one with the nicest view. From the university campus in the hills above the town you can see as far as the sea. The 65-year-old, one of New Zealand’s most famous poets, is head of the country’s authors forge – the International Institute for Modern Letters at the University of Wellington.

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Battle of
the Books

Commentary

Life is a battle. And love. And now even the good old “let’s talk about books”-circle. You may shake your head. Or you can go and take a look at the “Bookbattle”. While others sipped chilled beer out there in tropical Berlin, we joined the nerds, hippsters and lost souls who make Berlin the capital of odd entertainment.

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Jan Brandt
"Gegen die Welt"

Review

Actually, a 900-page novel is an impertinence. It forces the hungry reader into a longterm relationship, during which he has to neglect all the other literary feasts out there. And if, above all, this 900-page brick is a young author’s debut it’s either a case of hubris or of great success. Jan Brandt’s “Gegen die Welt” is closer to the latter.

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The Population
of the Sky

Portrait

REYKJAVIK/BERLIN. Katrín Einarsdottir is on a mission. Before her 30th birthday she wants to visit all 200 countries on this planet – even though it’s still disputed that there actually are that many countries. A story about the dream to see the world and Icelandic wanderlust.

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Bonjour Tristesse

Reportage

CHARLEROI. Back in the good old days Charleroi’s mining industry had a large share in Belgium’s economic upswing. But that is long gone. Not so long ago Charleroi was voted the ugliest city in the world. While the city’s politicians try their best to get rid of the bad reputation, Nicolas Buissart offers a safari called “Charleroi Adventure” to the saddest sites in town.

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The Lord
of the Fish

Portrait

AUCKLAND. For Al Brown fishing is more than a hobby. It’s a passion he finds time for, even if he doesn’t have the time. So we joined New Zealand’s most famous chef on a little trip. While catching one Kahawai after the other Brown talks about New Zealand’s culinary history. A story that is also his own.

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A Blessing
in Disguise

Reportage

THORVALDSEYRI. Everything here was black. The houses, the fields, the mountains. When Eyjafjallajökull erupted in spring 2010, Ólafur Eggertsson was afraid he might lose his farm at the foot of the volcano forever. He and his family were evacuated and had to leave their cows and land behind. But they came back. And a year after the eruption it turns out the ash was good for the soil.

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The Polar Surfers

Reportage

REYKJAVIK. The water temperature is six degrees. There is still snow on the rocks alongside the road. But Ingo Olsen and his friends could not care less. For them Iceland is a surfer’s paradise. Two to five-metre waves. And the line-up is never crowded. The scene of polar surfers is small. It counts no more than 20 guys who surf all year. Their recipe: stockfish and the right clothing.

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Dancing
Amongst Ruins

Column

CHRISTCHURCH. One year after the earthquake the centre of Christchurch still looks like a war zone. Dead end streets and ruins everywhere. Traffic lights flashing with no traffic in sight. We’re hungry and searching for a restaurant, but what we find is a tiny piece of beauty amidst chaos: a dance floor, loudspeakers, a mirror ball and a dancing couple. The dance-o-mat is only one of many Gapfiller Projects in Christchurch, that tries to revitalise places the earthquake has destroyed.

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