The late, very great Clive James (who I was lucky enough to work with at the BBC), left us with many memorable phrases. He had a startling and sparkling intellect. His love of words and literature, and his own outstanding creative output, are inspiring and moving. “All I can do is turn a phrase until it catches the light,” he said. Light, love and books kept Clive going and in our own tricky times (Election, Brexit etc etc etc), let’s try keeping those lights turned on because – thank you again Clive! – “If you don’t know the exact moment when the lights will go out, you might as well read until they do.”
Life has certainly not been dull in European Fiction Land. Thank you to everyone who contributed to The German Riveter at the end of November – you are all immensely generous and creative. Thank you to the British Library, German Embassy and Goethe-Institut, where we hosted so many distinguished writers and translators. It is a rare pleasure to be able to say – in one sentence – “Thank you Durs Grünbein, Ruth Martin, Julia Franck, Nino Haratischvili, Charlotte Collins and Karen Leeder – and Axel Scheffler (not in the photo) – for joining us in London.”
We believe firmly in sharing the literary love @eurolitnet, which means that from Monday 9th December you will be able to access the whole gorgeous Axel-Scheffler-illustrated German Riveter in PDF format via our website. In addition, every day, from Monday 9th and throughout December and January, we will be running each and every essay, review and extract as individual posts on the website. Special thanks to Anna Blasiak for making all that happen. You can pick up your print copy of The German Riveter at the British Library or Goethe-Institut and – never fear – we will be posting out print copies to all our contributors from mid-January. Editor West Camel will be writing to contributors soon and will also request that you submit your postal address. Details in his email. Also, (the gift that keeps on giving!), Mihai Andrei/London Video Stories filmed the entire event at The British Library, as well as three Riveting Interviews with Julia Franck, Nino Haratischvili and Durs Grünbein – coming to a small screen near you soon (aka our European Literature Network YouTube Channel).
Thanks to our Christmas and New Year treasure trove of German literature we won’t be running general #RivetingReviews until the end of January – the deadline is 27th for publication on 31st. Please contact editor West Camel if you have books to review: firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you on Monday 9th December for our next big networking meeting and for Brexit-free Christmas cheer from 1800- 2100 at the Goethe-Institut London, 9th December. For members of the Literally Swissgroup we will be meeting from 1500-1700 on the afternoon of 9th December at the Swiss Embassy. Registration for both is essential, with Anna at email@example.com.
Eurolitnet is currently sailing at half-mast, and without funding, so please understand if we can’t respond to all your requests. Here’s hoping that 2020 will bring us all light, enlightened politicians and generous funding for literature and translation. The last literary words for 2019, ofcourse, go to the brilliant and mischievous Clive James: “….Being book crazy is an aspect of love….” And on reviewing a book he wrote: “Here is a book so dull that a whirling dervish could read himself to sleep with it. If you were to recite even a single page in the open air, birds would fall out of the sky and dogs drop dead.” And on poetry: “Rilke used to say that no poet would mind going to gaol, since he would at least have time to explore the treasure house of his memory. In many respects Rilke was a prick.”
Happy festive season everyone. As Clive might have said, “Let there be Light!”
Love, Rosie the Riveter
and Anna, West and Alyson
Photo of Durs Grünbein, Ruth Martin, Julia Franck, Rosie Goldsmith, Nino Haratischvili, Charlotte Collins and Karen Leeder Lisa Kalloo