Karen Leeder

Karen Leeder

Tutor in German; Professor of Modern German Literature
Modern Languages
MA DPhil Oxf

Karen Leeder studied German at Oxford and the University of Hamburg. After teaching for three years at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (1990-1993), she took up her Fellowship at New College in 1993 and became Professor of Modern German Literature in 2008 and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2017.

She is a prize-winning translator of contemporary literature: including Evelyn Schlag, Raoul Schrott, Ulrike Almut Sandig, Wilhelm Schmid, Michael Krüger, and Durs Grünbein.  She was awarded the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for Translation in 2005 and the Stephen Spender award in 2013. In 2016 she received an English PEN and an American PEN award for her translations of Ulrike Almut Sandig and has been awarded residences in UK and Berlin. She is a Trustee of the Stephen Spender Trsut and the Poetry Translation Centre and regularly appears on radio and television talking about aspects of German culture. During 2014-2015 she was a TORCH Knowledge Exchange Fellow working with the Southbank Centre and Poet in the City and continues to work to bring modern German poetry to the UK: ‘Mediating Modern Poetry’: http://mmp.mml.ox.ac.uk . She works regularly with emerging translators, schools, festivals and arts organisations on the translation of poetry.

Research Interests

She has published widely on modern German culture, especially of the post-1945 and contemporary periods, including:

  • poetry and the poetic tradition 
  • modernity 
  • GDR literature
  • contemporary German culture
  • translation 
  • lateness, 
  • women’s writing
  • angels
  • spectres
  • Rilke
  • Brecht. 

Selected Major Publications:

  • The Fifth Dimension: Contemporary German Poetry (Oxford, 2018).
  • Ed., with Lyn Marven Ulrike Draesner. A Companion (Berlin, New York: de Gruyter, 2018)
  • Ed., Rereading East Germany: The Literature and Film of the GDR (CUP, 2016).
  • Ed., with Michael Eskin and Christopher Young, Durs Grünbein: A Companion (Berlin, New York: de Gruyter, 2013).
  • Ed., with Laura Bradley, Brecht & the GDR: Politics, Culture, Posterity, Edinburgh German Yearbook, vol. 5 (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2011)
  • Ed., with Robert Vilain, Cambridge Companion to Rainer Maria Rilke (CUP, 2010).
  • Ed., ‘Schaltstelle’: Neue deutsche Lyrik im Dialog (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007). 

A full list is available on her Faculty website.

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