We are Ukrainian, we are Russian, we are European – we stand with all independent and free-thinking writers, translators, journalists, academics and creatives. That has always been the mission of the European Literature Network, alongside the promotion of the literatures and languages of the whole of Europe. We feel honoured and privileged to stand with you as part of a wider community of like-minded partners and colleagues.
The outpouring of grief and anger since Putin declared war on Ukraine, as well as the courage and generosity of those defenders and supporters of peace and freedom, are overwhelming. So, why am I adding to the flood of words? Why am I painting pictures of sunflowers? Well, I believe it’s important to flood the world with as much positive action and energy as we can muster, to keep talking, to show solidarity, to donate money, to counteract death and destruction with truth, poetry and beauty. Two years ago, I believed that it was the pandemic that would change our lives for ever, a year ago it was Brexit and today it is Putin’s war on Ukraine. In the same way that we have all been affected as individuals and societies by Covid and Brexit, we recognise that Putin’s War will also change our lives. All of us who lived through the fall of the Berlin Wall and the flowering of freedom across Europe now feel crushed: we took our eyes off the ball, the Cold War was not over. Which makes us even more determined to do whatever we can.
First things first: on Friday 25th March, when we publish our monthly #RivetingReviews (edited this month by Max Easterman who visited Ukraine several times as a BBC journalist), we’ll be publishing a special Riveting Ukraine Reading List, compiled by Fiona Graham. Also, we are publishing weekly poems from Ukraine in our Poetry Travels series, curated by Anna Blasiak and Lisa Kalloo.
Secondly, practical help: I’d like to share an active and growing list, compiled by colleagues across Europe, of Resources Available to Writers who are Refugees from Ukraine. It’s 23 pages long – and requires more UK input – but if you know Ukrainian writers and journalists in need of support in the countries on the list please share the contacts.
Cover reveal! The Italian Riveter arrives in print and online the first week of April. Our cover illustration is by Ginevra Rapisardi, who is the cover designer for Europa Editions. We will be launching our magazine with not one but two in-person events. The first, for visitors to the London Book Fair, is the Riveting Italian Literature event at 10:00 on Tuesday 5th April at the Literary Translation Centre. More info here.
The second launch is open to the public and is a special Riveting Italian Readings event at 18:00 on Thursday 7th April, hosted by our wonderful supporters the Italian Cultural Institute in London. Please register for the ICI event here.
If you are unable to attend or pick up your free copy of The Italian Riveter in person, the whole magazine, as well as videos of the events, will be posted subsequently on our website.
And finally, more positives to counteract the negatives: in spring 2023, instead of one Riveter magazine we are publishing two, The Spanish Riveter and The Austrian Riveter, which proves how respected and essential our work is. The European Literature Network as such is completely unfunded (as you’ve heard me say many times but it is worth repeating, incredible as this may seem when you consider the demand and output) and that is why fund-raising for our magazines is so important: at least we can pay our editors something, sometimes even our contributors. I wish it were more. Both the Spanish and Austrian Riveters now have guaranteed funding and we’ll share details of both, and how you can participate, after the launch of The Italian Riveter.
I’d like to extend the most gorgeous and colourful bouquets of thanks and sunflowers to our Ukrainian friends and to all those outstanding individuals and organisations supporting our European literary operations in the UK – in spite of a global pandemic, in spite of Brexit and in spite of a war in Europe.
Rosie The Riveter