Boston Book Festival 2021 Boston Book Festival 2021

The Radio Operator

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Ulla Lenze
The Radio Operator, Wednesday, October 20 | virtual

Ulla Lenze was born in Germany in 1973. She studied music and philosophy at the University of Cologne. In 2016, she was awarded the Literature Prize of the Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft for her work. She currently resides in Berlin, where she works as a freelance writer and writing workshop instructor. The Radio Operator is her first novel available in English.

Marshall Yarbrough
Wednesday, October 20 | virtual

Marshall Yarbrough is a writer, translator, and musician. His most recent translations include The Radio Operator by Ulla Lenze, Self-Portrait with Russian Piano by Wolf Wondratschek, and It's the World's Birthday Today by Flake. He lives in New York City.


Award-winning German writer Ulla Lenze makes her American debut with The Radio Operator, a taut and engrossing historical novel that draws on a forgotten, but contemporarily relevant, chapter from the past: pro-fascist activity among German immigrants in the United States during the years leading up to World War II. Based largely on the true story of Lenze’s great-uncle, the deft narrative—translated by Marshall Yarbrough, who will interview Lenze during this session—bookends the war years as Josef Klein, a German immigrant who arrived in New York in the 1920s, is reluctantly conscripted as an operative for a spy ring of American Nazi sympathizers. Ulla Lenze has written a highly personal and meditative novel that unfolds against a seemingly familiar backdrop while offering a fresh point-of-view. The Radio Operator is a keenly observed work of fiction that introduces an accomplished literary voice to American readers. This session is hosted and sponsored by Goethe-Institut Boston in partnership with the BBF.

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