23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Cosmin Manolache

Cosmin Manolache was born in the small Wallachian town of Mizil in Romania in 1973. He began writing whilst a student at the faculty of Border Control at the Bucharest Officers’ Academy. »I had so much time that I didn’t know what I should do with it. As a cadet I spent countless days in the Danube delta. I had to pr otect myself somehow from the endless alluvial reaches.« Manolache began to develop his observational pr ose style as a lyrical and creative pastime, and was published in various magazines, the success of which dictated the course his future career would take. In 2004 he completed his Master’s degree in Anthropology at the University in Bucharest. He subsequently made a name for himself through contributions to scientific periodicals and anthologies, including »Sărbători romăneşti« (2000; t: Romanian holidays), »Frînturi de versuri ţărăneşti« (2001; t: Peasant verse), »Arca lui Noe« (2002; t: Noah’s ark) und »Anii’ 80 şi bucureştenii« (2003; t: Bucharestians in the eighties).
In 2004 he published his short story collection »Ce faţă cumplită am« (t: Oh, my awful face) which excited the critics’ attention by virtue of his »apathetically pr actised art of the anti-phrase« (Paul Cernat), which was soon to become his stylistic hallmark. Manolache’s themes include urban chaos and lack of feeling, and social relationships between friends and colleagues who become an »ersatz« family. In one story the narrator recounts the impossibility of returning to his hometown in the pr ovince that is anything other than idyllic, as well as the ever-widening gulf between himself and his family. One may of course see in this a literary reflection of the life of the author, who, working in a team of young curators at the Bucharest Peasants’ Museum, helped develop innovative pr ojects whose anthropological impetus is the attempt to reclaim the image of the Romanian village from the kitsch-laden aberrations of the cultural industry in recent decades.
In the stories of the collection »Povestiri mici şi mijlocii« (2004; t: Small and medium-sized stories), Manolache discovers alongside three fellow authors and colleagues – fully in accordance with their pr ofessional sociological curiosity – an unglamorous, grotesque, but ultimately likable world of outsiders, crooks and flamboyant pseudo-yogis at the margins of Romania’s industrial cities. In the second collaborative anthology, »Cartea cu euri« (2005; t: The book of many selves), the authors experiment with autobiographical pr ose, highlighting their childhoods in the Communist-dominated era of the seventies and eighties, yet without any recourse either to nostalgia or overt ideological critique. In 2006 Manolache edited the »Chisinau« edition of the magazine »Secolul 21« and co-authored the screenplay for the short film »Oglinzi« (2006, t: Mirror) by the director Gabriel Achim. The author lives in Bucharest.

© international literature festival berlin


Sărbători romăneşti
Ed. Ars Docendi
Bukarest, 2000

Arca lui Noe
Ed. Ars Docendi
Bukarest, 2002

Anii ’80 şi bucureştenii
Editura Paideia
Bukarest, 2003

Ce faţă cumplită am
Iaşi, 2004

Povestiri mici şi mijlocii
Curtea Veche
Bukarest, 2004

Cartea cu euri
Curtea Veche
Bukarest, 2005

Übersetzer: Georg Aescht