The probably youngest Erfurt publishing house kul-ja! publishes books with heart. Photo: Raed Alhousen
"It’s all about feeling the emotional value. Everyone who writes puts their feelings into their work and touches others with it. You can feel that. When you read with all your senses. When you hold books in your hands. That’s what I want to carry forward as part of the publishing house. The important thing is that the feeling must be genuine," says literary translator Bianca Katharina Mohr, describing the ambition that prompts her to be part of what is probably Erfurt’s youngest publishing house. "I think we’re a great team because we all care about this. Because that’s what we all feel and want to convey."
Erfurt publishing house kul-ja! publishing wants to give young talent a chance
Bianca joined kul-ja over a year ago! publishing. Stephan Herbst, on the other hand, was there from the beginning as an editor. The publishing house was founded on 19. October 2019 founded by literary scholar and author Julia Kulewatz. This also meant the creation of the publishing house’s winged heraldic animal, the culibri. In it unite part of the surname of the founder and the Latin word "libri" for freedom and book. That’s why "cool" books are now being created here, only real with the Kulibri. "We want to tell the artists that they are not alone in this ostensibly mainstream publishing world, to offer them a platform with us," adds Julia.
Complete works of art with lifeblood
As an author, Julia was simply tired of it. Established publishing houses give young talents few opportunities. In addition, the works of authors are often regarded merely as a consumer product and not as a total work of art in which authors put their heart and soul. "I’ve observed so many things go wrong as a writer. As a trained design technician, I also pay attention to layout, illustration, cover and more", says Julia. "For example, a bestselling author friend of mine once told me that his publisher gave him a bird as a cover image without asking, even though it had no relation to the text. He then asked ‘why’ and got the answer: ‘We have statistics that birds do well’ – And it’s true, you can see bird covers everywhere at the moment."
First book is already a hit
In addition to the disregard for the artist’s soul, the publisher is also annoyed by the fact that the focus is always on big profits and only secondarily on quality. However, the three angels of kul-ja prove that the two also work hand in hand! publishing – and submitting: The very first book they published and edited completely themselves, "Orkaniden. Storm poems", is completely sold out in the first edition. The lovingly designed poetry work gathers a total of 30 poems by Julia, which are accompanied by ten illustrations by artist Jantien Sturm. The bilingual edition is completed by the English translation by Bianca. And how should it be different: Stephan edited it, set it and placed it on the book market.
Three works published by the publishing team in 2021. This year they want to build on their success. About ten (art) works are in the pipeline. But who are these three enthusiasts who want to conquer the world of literature? Bianca studied English language and literature. She researched and taught in the field of language acquisition and multilingualism at the University of Erfurt. At the publishing house, she works as a translator and is responsible for international communication, because international orientation and cooperation are very important to the publisher. In addition to his editorial work, Stephan, who has a degree in philosophy, is also a lecturer at the University of Erfurt. He manages the publishing house together with Julia, who in conversation with t.akt-Magazin clearly appears as the engine of the "Trio Infernal.
Author Julia Kulewatz and her passion for the written word
Their love of literature fills the room. When Julia talks about books, she doesn’t just talk about books. She celebrates the art of writing in all its facets. Thus, it is a matter close to her heart to discover and promote writing talents at the adult education center and the university in courses on creative writing. What makes Julia and her literature stand out has also been recognized by Neu-Ulm, which has awarded her the Stadtschreiberstipendium for 2022. The spunky author made her literary debut with short stories. Her debut work, "Vom lustvollen Seufzer des Sudankafers," was published in 2017. "Jenseits BlassBlau," another short story collection with a foreword by internationally known fantasy author Bernhard Hennen, was published in 2020. Already in these two works it became clear that Julia does not see literature simply as a collection of letters and sentences. She has loaded her creations with suitable drawings by local and national illustrators. They are works of art – and we haven’t even talked about layout yet! A high demand, which the three now at kul-ja! want to push publishing to perfection.
Small but mighty
The publishing house is supposed to be a platform – and it is not necessarily poetry – which the three Wahlerfurter want to heave into the local bookshelves. "We are open to all subjects. The important thing is that the spark is there. Let’s say three "Yes!", then we include the book in our repertoire," explains Julia, who particularly emphasizes that it is precisely the "size" of the independent trade publisher that offers so many advantages. "We are together a lot. In a small team we can decide quickly and work closely with our writers. Big publishers are much more ponderous about it."