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Verena Mermer

Verena Mermer

born 1984 in Lower Austria, studied German and Romance literatures with Indology. She has lived and worked in Delhi, Baku and Cluj-Napoca. Now she lives as a writer and academic in Vienna. She has published in a variety of literary magazines, was longlisted for the 2013 “European Poetry Festival Prize”, shortlisted for the “Wartholz Prize for Literature”, and received a “START” literature grant in 2014.


Coverabbildung von 'Autobus Ultima Speranza'

Verena Mermer - Autobus Ultima Speranza

One December evening, a bright pink long-distance bus bearing the inscription SPERANZA sets off on its journey from Vienna to Romania. The nocturnal drive brings together people who spend their life in the grey zones of Europe’s labour market. Their pay secures their family’s subsistence, their absence creates new problems. Florin hires himself out as a harvest hand to enable his mother in Bucharest to retire. Daiana cleans private homes in Vienna, even though she has a degree. Ioan, one of the drivers, recounts his first border crossing. “Autobus Ultima Speranza” finds a language for a life spent continuously on the hop, for the hopes and disappointments, the restlessness and structural violence that accompany it.

Coverabbildung von 'the voice above the roofs'

Verena Mermer - the voice above the roofs

Baku, Azerbaijan, spring 2011: the city is in uproar, protests against the authoritarian regime are growing louder. In the midst of it are Ali and Nino, Frida and Che, two young couples fighting not only against state repression but for their love, for freedom and self-determination, for happiness and a life they can call their own. Yet Verena Mermer evokes more than just the political struggles and everyday life in one of the last dictatorships on Europe’s borders. Her wonderful debut also plays an enthralling game with its characters, with the times and places, the myths of revolution and love and lures us into the labyrinth of poetic invention.