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Тhe Ulyanovsk UNESCO City of Literature Program Directorate continues publishing The Only Question - new international project - materials. 40 authors from 18 UNESCO literary cities (or related cities) participate in the project.  Authors from Melbourne and Heidelberg - Judith Rossell and Anne Richter – are the new guests of the project.

The organizers invited writers, poets, playwrights, translators from UNESCO literary cities to imagine they have the opportunity to ask just one question to an author from any other literary city. The initiative will help to introduce the authors from the literary cities to each other and establish their dialogue. The project will also let to understand what issues are of concern to authors from different countries today. Besides, it will provide an opportunity for readers to get to know new writers and poets.

Questions and answers by the authors (in Russian and English) along with a short biography of each participant and links to their publications will regularly appear on the Ulyanovsk UNESCO City of Literature Website, other literary cities' websites, and social media, etc. Writers' dialogs will also be offered for publication on the project partners' platforms (literary magazines, libraries, literary media, and mass media). As a result of the project, in summer 2022 an online anthology will be released (in Russian and English) with all the conversations.


Judith Rossell, Melbourne

What effect has the Covid pandemic had on your creative life? Have you found it easy to work during lockdowns, and will Covid themes appear in your writing?

Anne Richter, Heidelberg

The cancelled readings were of course a problem because both the important exchange with the audience and the income were lost, but at least the latter could be partly compensated by the Corona aid and Corona grants, at least in Germany, I don't know how it was in Australia. Since I like to work quietly at my desk, I have made quite good progress with my work, despite the daily disturbing news. Covid issues will hardly appear in my texts, I am mainly working on my novel, which I had already conceived before the Corona outbreak.

But Corona is not over and we need to see how things turn out...

Anne Richter, Heidelberg

How do you write children's books: do you remember your own childhood or do you have certain qualities of children (which ones?) in mind when writing - or both - or neither?

Judith Rossell, Melbourne

I think the best writers for children remember exactly what it is like to be a child. That feeling of being smaller, and learning about the way the world works, and being at the mercy of adults, who set the rules and boundaries of your life. I like to write for children of about ten or eleven years old, when they have one foot still in childhood, but are on the edge of becoming teenagers. They are my favourite readers.

When I was eleven, I lived in a suburb of Melbourne that was growing very quickly. Our school was getting bigger, and our class became so large we couldn't all fit in the classroom. So a small group of about ten of us were taken out of class, and for almost one year we did not have a teacher or any lessons. We still went to school every day, but we ran errands, and helped in the library, and cleaned the staffroom and ran the duplicating machine. It was a very strange year! But of course it sticks in my memory, and so I can clearly remember what it was like to be eleven. Also, that year I think I must have read just about every book in the school library.

I think children read differently to adults, they throw themselves entirely into the stories, and lose themselves inside the books they love. And if they love a book, they will read it again and again. As a child, I read so I could escape into an adventure. I remember that wonderful feeling, and I really wanted to write that kind of story. 


Anne Richter

Анна Рихтер фото

Фото: Кристиан Бак

Anne Richter was born in Jena (GDR) in 1973 and grew up there. Her last two years at school were marked by the turmoil of the political upheaval (1989 - 1991). After graduating from high school, she went to Marseille for a year. Back in Germany, she studied Romance and English language and literature in Jena and spent some time in France (Avallon), England (Oxford) and Italy (Bologna) during her studies. Today she lives in Heidelberg and works there as a writer and language teacher, mainly for German as a foreign language and French. She works with pupils of different ages and from numerous countries and cultures. So far, she has published the story collection "Kämpfen wie Männer" (2012) as well as the novels "Fremde Zeichen" (2013, also published in English translation under the title "Distant Signs") and "Unvollkommenheit" (2019). In addition, the small poetry collection "Marmor und Moos" (2014) was published. Anne's work has received several awards, including scholarships from the Literary Colloquium Berlin (2009), the Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg (2011), a nomination for the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize (2011) and a residency scholarship at Künstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf (2015). In 2016 she took part in the "Expedition Poesie/ Expedice poezie" ("Expedition poetry"), a poetry and translation project of the UNESCO Cities of Literature Heidelberg and Prague. Anne is a member of the Association of German Writers. She has a daughter, now grown up, who is studying near Heidelberg.


Judith Rossell

Джудит Росселл фото

Judith Rossell is a children's writer and illustrator from Australia. She’s been working for more than 20 years, and she’s written 15 books for children, and illustrated more than 80. Her books have been translated into more than 20 languages. She loves writing for children, because they are wonderful, engaged, challenging readers. Before this, she worked as a scientist for a government agency. In 2020, she was lucky enough to be granted a writing residency through UNESCO in Heidelberg, in Germany, which was wonderful, but she had to come home to Australia because of Covid. She is hoping to ago back next year.


Wormwood Mire

Wakestone Hall

Play with your Plate

Pink! (written by Margaret Wild)

Interview link

Previous issues:

  1. Heidelberg-Ulyanovsk – Şafak Sariçiçek and Sergei Gogin
  2. Melbourne - Heidelberg – Christopher Raja and Klaus Kayser
  3. Calgary-Mannheim - Kelly Kaur And Claudia Schmid
  4. Melbourne And Ulyanovsk - Rijn Collins and Gala Uzryutova
  5. Heidelberg - Nottingham – Ingeborg von Zadow and Leanne Moden
  6. Durban-Ulyanovsk – Adiela Akoo and Sergei Gogin
  7. Heidelberg-Ulyanovsk|Moscow – Şafak Sarıçiçek and Irina Bogatyryova
  8. Yekaterinburg-Iowa City – Ekaterina Simonova and Jacquelyn Bengfort
  9. Iowa City-Québec – Jeremy Geragotelis and Vanessa Bell
  10. Heidelberg-Ulyanovsk – Juliane Sophie Kayser and Gala Uzryutova
  11. Durban-Melbourne – Adiela Akoo and Rijn Collins
  12. Heidelberg – Dublin – Şafak Sarıçiçek and Csilla Toldy
  13. Ulyanovsk - Heidelberg - Gala Uzryutova and Juliane Sophie Kayser