photo: Linka A. Odom
I first visited Berlin in the spring of 2008 when I stayed with a friend in Kreuzberg. As we roamed the city, we bumped into people he knew at every turn, even though he had only been living there a few months. A vegan poet cooked us dinner, we rode the U-Bahn without paying, we went to a party in an abandoned warehouse where one of the musicians was, by coincidence, someone I had met the day before in a bookshop. I found all of this unbelievably cool. In Berlin, I felt unbelievably cool. Yes, it was grey and gritty, but there was space, it was cheap, the cafés were filled with unemployed creatives from around the world and a glass of wine was only 1.50 euros.
I fell in love with Berlin in one weekend and its allure lingers with me. Most recently I’ve had the pleasure of returning to it through the eyes of an eclectic and talented group of Berlin writers who are contributors to a series of essays, Letters from Berlin released by The Pigeonhole. More about it after the jump.
The Letters from Berlin want to capture the energy and charisma of an ever-changing Berlin, bringing together photographers, filmmakers, writers, translators, musicians and theatre directors who write about daily life, culture, food, architecture, history and people in their patch of the city. Spanning twelve districts, the essays reflect the many facets of this dynamic, fascinating city.
All the books of The Pigeonhole are published in digital serialization, so the premiere of Letters from Berlin will run for twelve weeks, beginning this month with Lucy Renner Jones’s piece, which charts the dramatic changes in Prenzlauer Berg since the Nineties, and ending in October with Micki Weinberg’s wanderings into the heart of Mitte.
Every installment includes curated multimedia content, from videos and playlists to photography and art. Alongside the series, the contributors will be hosting pop-up events around the city so keep an eye on The Pigeonhole Facebook page and Twitter feed for more news and details.
For iHeartBerlin I selected 3 extracts from the different essays to give you a bit of a taste of the Letters from Berlin. Continue reading for stories about Friedrichshain, Neukölln and Treptow-Köpenick. If you want more head over to Letters from Berlin – so far the full essay on Prenzlauer Berg is available to read and more will follow each week. Enjoy!
Excerpts of the Letters from Berlin on iHeartBerlin:
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Text by Sarah Ream, Commissioning Editor at The Pigeonhole