May I present the stunning cover of our next magazine The Dutch Riveter by the Dutch illustrator Joren Joshua? I cannot tell you how thrilled we are with our latest edition, which we will launch at 19:00 (UK time) on March 17th in collaboration with the British Library. Do join us for a live online cabaret of Dutch literature in the company of writers, translators, live music and live art. (Details on the BL website soon.)
One of the joys of lockdown for me has been more time to appreciate art – and to create it. I miss museums and galleries desperately but have been rewarded with the hundreds of exhibitions, artworks and courses transferred online by innovative entrepreneurs, as well as myriads of TV art and craft shows (not just Bob Ross!). Our own world of literature and publishing has also become visually more striking since the pandemic began – we all realise that one way we can inspire one another is through creativity and beauty. So many examples jump out, but I’ve loved the daily Hockney posts on Twitter; another colleague critiques her favourite paintings on Facebook; Axel (Gruffalo) Scheffler continues to contribute to our cultural well-being; another friend runs illustration courses for children; our very own poet Anna Blasiak has been collaborating with photographer Lisa Kalloo on illustrated anthologies, as well as creating our monthly Poetry Travels posts. And I myself have been photographing and painting my way through lockdown. Have you seen Antony Gormley’s idea of creating a national gallery of all our lockdown creations by displaying them in our windows? I will if you will!
2021 saw the end of some European Literature Network projects but ushered in some new. We are publishing two Riveters this year, the Dutch this spring and Italian in the autumn. (Fyi: we’re brainstorming The Italian Riveter for the next few weeks before we commission – thank you so much for your ideas so far: still welcome.) Sadly, this January we said farewell to our Swiss colleagues at Pro Helvetia but are proud to leave a full online legacy of our collaboration. As you know, from the early days of the European Literature Network, I’ve always believed in filming, photographing and writing about everything we do and you can access everything for free here on this website. For example, why not tune in to the first-ever UK-Swiss Publishing Day, a packed day of live presentations which we ran in December? There’s also the European Poetry Festival, curated by Steven Fowler, featuring poets from Switzerland and the rest of Europe. Remember that the European Literature Network exists to support you and your projects. Send us your news, your views, your reviews!
What impressive endurance, energy and entrepreneurship the literary world is demonstrating. It really helps to look forward, to be positive: heads-up to another season on Trafika Europe Radio; next week the Society of Authors is celebrating Literary Translation; there’s a festival of Georgian culture at the end of February; the Iceland Writers Retreat is online at the end of April; the Hay Festival in Wales will be held at the end of May; London Book Fair at the end of June and The European Review of Books is planned for this year – see their website here. And don’t’ forget to register for BCLT’s Summer School at the end of July. Just a few, a very few, of your many pioneering endeavours created in lockdown.
We are running our general #RivetingReviews this month. The deadline is 15th Feb for publication on 19th Feb. Please contact our Editor West Camel, with any submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be dedicating our March reviews to The Dutch Riveter – online and in print. Thank you to the Dutch Literature Foundation and the Italian Cultural Institute for funding our 2021 Riveter magazines. Thank you to you too for your kind donations. As a result of Brexit, Covid and the loss of our ACE funding, we are struggling – like so many of you, I know. In addition, and most importantly, very special thanks go from me to those people who work for free to help me keep the European Literature Network going: West Camel and Anna Blasiak on the editorial team, supported by Max Easterman, who runs our business affairs, our Italianist Katherine Gregorand our literary translator-interns Rosie Eyre and Alice Banks.
Now, excuse me if I get back to my easel: I’ve got my own lockdown art to finish!
Love, Rosie the Riveter