Wednesday, 27 April 2011

European Literature Night

I've been away over Easter doing mainly non-German-book-related things. But while I was at it I met the gregarious British journalist and fellow foreign literature missionary Rosie Goldsmith, who was wearing a lovely ring shaped like a big pink rose. We were at the London launch of Dalkey Archive Press's Best European Fiction 2011, where free wine was served in thimbles and I didn't say hello to editor Aleksandar Hemon, even though he seemed eminently approachable. That was partly because I'd cleverly invited more people to come along than I could actually talk to in one go. And also possibly because the thimbles of wine ran out very quickly.

Anyway, the gregarious British journalist with impeccable jewellery taste and a foreign literature mission Rosie Goldsmith was evangelising - as well she might - about European Literature Night. She's presenting the London event - one of 18 consecutive presentations across Europe on 11 May. Information is slightly sparing on the official website, but the British Library tells us the London night will feature "six superlative writers of fiction and poetry, both emerging and established: Emil Hakl (Czech Republic), Nora Ikstena (Latvia), Anna Kim (Austria), Peter Terrin (Flanders) and Bożena Umińska-Keff (Poland)."

Now I let out a little cry of delight at seeing Anna Kim's name on the bill (remember those thimbles - I wasn't sober). Because I've had dealings with the delightful Anna in the past and I didn't even know that her excellent novel Frozen Time had been translated! Ariadne Press, Austria specialists, brought it out last year in Mike Mitchell's translation. The book is beautifully written and shocking stuff, looking at war crimes in Kosovo and what they did to those involved and those on the periphery. As far as I can remember.

So please do go along and be delighted and stimulated by the readings and conversation, as they say. Or indeed attend one of the other seventeen events elsewhere. I'm a little skeptical about the actual benefit of holding readings in eighteen different places at once, but I suppose at the very least it raises a bit of a buzz and saves on separate websites.

No comments: