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Malini Kochupillai

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Berlin 1956-1963



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Buchhändlerkeller (Bookkeeper’s Cellar)


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Bookkeeper's Cellar

Literature Hotel



In Charlottenburg, in the heart of West Berlin, between the Steinplatz, packed with students from the Technical University and Savignyplatz, with its vibrant nightlife, the Carmerstraße is a haven of near-suburban peace. 
In 1976, a West Berlin literary institution, the Bookkeeper’s Cellar moved here from Berlin-Friedenau, a district famous for its writers, and where it was founded ten years previously. Yet the relocation into the Carmerstaße was still a homecoming, as other eminent literary institutions had already paved the way. 
The Literarisches Colloquium (literary colloquium) which now re-sides in Berlin’s destrict Wannsee originated in the 1960s in Carmerstraße, as well as the Autorenbuchhandlung (authors’ bookshop) just a few doors away. Both were important literary adresses in West Berlin, and emerged in a period when literature and sociopolitical activism went hand in hand. 
In 2004, after the sudden death of its founder, K.P. Herbach, (then host and leading figure of the Bookkeeper’s Cellar), new Thursday evening events were added to the existing Tuesday meetings, almost as an act of defiance. Further events series include Fundstelle und Spurensuche (Places of Discovery and Search for Traces), in which important-but-forgotten or unknown writers are presented, Fernsehen und Literatur (Television and Literature) and Zur Sache (To the Point), which is dedicated to non-fiction.
The Cellar has two ground-level, street-accessible rooms. One, its walls covered in posters, is linked to a little bar, where lively discussions often take place after the readings. The other room hosts readings and occasional exhibitions. 
In 2007 an annual literature prize was introduced, named after painter and poet Günter Bruno Fuchs. The prizewinners receive a portrait of themselves by painter Johannes Grützke, and get to give a public reading in the Bookkeeper’s Cellar, hopeful that their work will be published in a literary magazine.
Address: Carmerstraße 1, 10623 Berlin, +49 (0)30 8834272,
Bus, Tube, Tram: U2, U9, S3, S5, S7, S75 Zoologischer Garten; Bus M45, 245 Steinplatz