I read in the news this week that as a celebrity influencer, football supremo Cristiano Ronaldo can earn up to £1.2m to endorse just one product on social media. For just one Tweet or Instagram post – imagine! Naturally, all of us at ELNet fully endorse Ronaldo and the Euro championships (they are, truth be told, unavoidable) and, guess what?, we do it for free! So here’s what I’m thinking: how about Ronaldo (or any of the others, we’re not picky) endorsing European literature and translation? Just imagine what we could do with £1.2 million: build a European Literature House for the UK (cf. my June Newsletter), translate, publish, invite, promote more authors from the whole of Europe, create paid mentorships and internships, run more events, workshops and festivals, host podcasts, pay contributors, pay ourselves, publish more Riveter magazines, perhaps an anthology of European writing. You catch my drift. I am flabbergasted at the imbalances and injustices. Why is European culture considered less important than European football?
Maybe we could ask Elton John to back us. Or Andrew Lloyd-Webber. They have been amongst many in the UK’s creative industries to rail against the problems created by Covid and by Brexit in our cultural exchange with EU countries. Maybe if we were to apply for a European vaccination passport (another news item this week) then we might just sneak past the Brexit goalposts and enter Europe that way? Worth a try. Can you name one positive outcome for the UK book trade post-Brexit? No. VAT, copyright, distribution, paper shortages, greater reluctance to support European cultural projects and the end of Creative Europe funding are today real issues in the UK’s relationship with the EU. As for us, wish us luck: this month we are applying, not for a vaccination passport, but another Arts Council England grant to support the European Literature Network (but should you know Ronaldo or any of the others do put in a word!).
My role as Riveter-in-Chief is to be positive. So, for the rest of this newsletter I’ll stop ranting and share our favourites to win the ELNet Euros this summer. If you miss physical festivals then watch some top players scoring major online/hybrid goals, such as Bradford Literature Festival, Manchester International Festival, the Crime Writing Festival (with captain Barry Forshaw), London Book Fair, the European Poetry Festival (Steven Fowler is returning champion), the renowned British Centre for Literary Translation and Bristol Translates Summer Schools (kick-off in Bristol on July 7th by a great friend of European writing, George Szirtes), and Edinburgh International Book Festival in August. (You’ll be pleased to hear I’ve almost run out of footballing puns.)
It is also the centenary of the founding of English PEN with many inspirational events round their Common Currency campaign. As always, check out our calendar for details and do continue to send us any news you’d like to share. There are several competitions and prizes to consider too: I’ll mention one of our favourites, the Stephen Spender Poetry Translation Prize 2021, deadline 16th July. And our EU literary friends have also launched their fantastic EuropeReadr project, a selection of literary works from across the European Union.
The European Literature Network itself continues to score some impressive home goals (sorry, couldn’t resist that one!) with Katherine Gregor’s Italianist, Alice Banks’ La Española, Anna Blasiak and Lisa Kalloo’s Poetry Travels, as well as our monthly #RivetingReviews, under the captainship of West Camel and Deputy Editor Rosie Eyre. If you are interested in reviewing or sending books then please email West and Rosie E at our new dedicated reviews address: email@example.com
Submission and pub dates for reviews are as follows:
July: deadline, 19th, for publication on 23rd
August: deadline 16th, for publication on the 20th
September: deadline 13th, for publication on 17th
We’ll be back in September with a full team, ready to start work on The Italian Riveter, which we are delighted to announce is being supported by the Italian Cultural Institutes in London, Dublin and Edinburgh. Also in September, I’ll also be hosting a major debate on EU-UK cultural relations after Brexit – we’ll share the date with you when confirmed (it was postponed from June), and, very excitingly, we will be holding our first European Literature Network meeting in The New Era (post-Covid, post-Brexit) at 16:00 on September 8th at Europe House – fingers crossed, In Real Life, but if not via Zoom. Save the date and we’ll notify you by the end of August.
The European Literature Network is just that – a network, a hub, open to all. As well as promoting your great work, we’re happy to endorse some other major players in the Euro League: the European Movement in the UK, the revamped New European newspaper, the new European Review of Books, the Debates on Europe series and, ofcourse, we support the Euro Football Championship! Fly those European flags! We can proudly say that the European Literature Network is today itself considered a key player in the UK and the rest of Europe. We may not have the Euro millions but we do have the skills, influence and passion to win. And we will Tweet your literary products for free!
Have a lovely summer and see you in September.
Love, Rosie the Riveter
Photo © H4astings licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.