Simon took a double first in German and Russian, with Oral Distinctions in both languages, at the University of Exeter in 1997. Exeter has long had a reputation for one of the best German departments in the country. Simon came top of his year, and stayed on to study for an MA in Lexicography, which he passed with Distinction.

Simon translated Friedo Lampe’s At the Edge of the Night, the author’s first book, which was banned by the Nazis in 1933 and published only in expurgated form after the War due to its homoerotic content and the depiction of an interracial liaison between a black man and a German woman. Later described as an early magical realist, Lampe (1899–1945) was a disabled gay writer who somehow survived the Third Reich only to be tragically shot six days before the end of the War by Russian soldiers who mistook him for a member of the SS. Simon’s ‘brilliant new translation, now unexpurgated, which captures the beguiling beauty and intelligence’ of the original (NB Magazine), is the first appearance of anything by Lampe in English.

Illustration of Simon

At the Edge of the Night

By Friedo Lampe
Translated by Simon Beattie

‘Banning books and burning them wasn’t the worst Nazi crime but it was a heinous act of premeditated vandalism and barbarity. It just goes to show how much “guns, billy clubs and jack boots” fear words, in this case the words. Even though this novel was originally published only a few months into the Nazi Reich both the author and the publisher, Rowohlt of Berlin, would have been aware of its provocation to the new order: It was an act of bravery. Am Rande der Nacht, or At the Edge of the Night, is a little gem of German literature, which sadly since being banned by the Nazis has only appeared in expurgated form’. NB Magazine

‘This extraordinary work first appeared in German in 1933 but was suppressed by the Nazis. The original text wasn’t published in German in its complete form until 1999 and this translation follows that text. It gives us for the first time access to a rare and unusual example of Modernism that has fortunately survived time and politics to emerge, now, as a strange little gem of a novel.’ Matthew da Silva, Happy Antipodean

Bookcover: At the Edge of the Night
Bookcover: Morgue


By Gottfried Benn
Translated by Simon Beattie

First edition of this translation, printed in only 250 copies: ‘powerful translations’ (Adam Freudenheim), ‘scalpel-sharp’ (Sammy Jay), ‘dark but quite beautiful’(Rebecca Rego Barry, Fine Books Magazine). Gottfried Benn (1886–1956) wrote Morgue in 1912

Gottfried Benn (1886–1956) wrote Morgue in 1912, when he was only 25. It was his first published work. The expressionist verse, inspired by Benn’s work as a pathologist, shocked readers at the time, but the edition, printed in 500 copies, sold out within eight days.

Photograph: Simon with a box of books