Remember Europe? Remember those pre-pandemic days when Brexit was our greatest nightmare? My greatest hope now is that Brexit will be shelved as a generous gift to UK citizens from our new caring government for behaving so well in lockdown. After all, if the reborn PM can learn to love the NHS overnight he might learn to love the EU and prefer to be integral to its renewal? My greatest fear though is that Brexit and our departure from the EU will be snuck in one day while our backs are turned and the Great European Project will be forgotten as we struggle to protect our local and global livelihoods. Self-protection is understandable – we are going through a terrible time – but will Covid19 become an excuse to invest even less in international arts projects and festivals; in European cultural exchange, literature and translation? I fear it might. There won’t be enough money to go round and the “Creative Industries” (as we have come to be called after decades of building up projects, respect and contributing 10% to the GDP) will revert to being underfunded and denigrated once again as ‘elitest’ and ‘luxuries’.
The upsurge of creativity over the past few weeks of lockdown has, however, been exciting. So much energy! So many pioneering ideas, so much free cultural content online, so many new virtual collaborations and innovations. It’s been fun, escapist but also relevant, avantgarde. We need visionaries. Now is the time to experiment. We may not like social distancing and working from home but they are here to stay and will permanently change how we work and play. And we need to be as professional and engaging online as we are face-to-face. ELNet can help – more on that later. Read on.
We need creative Europeans – like you. What are your ideas for a new creative Europe post-pandemic? Write to us, tell us. Remember that ELNet is a network, a forum, a hub for your ideas, engagement, PR, marketing, festivals, prizes, schools projects, information about funding opportunities. We can share them on our website and social media. Why not send us details of your lockdown launches and literary events or your grant initiatives for translation and publishing Your photos, short videos, blogs? Here are a few “Creative Europe” ideas you might want to check out: there is the EU’s Creative Europe project itself and its own very EU Prize for Literature; there’s EUNIC UK – all the UK’s European cultural institutes are listed here, all offering free online films, podcasts, language courses, workshops, theatre, readings; there’s Trafika Europe and this month it launches Trafika Europe Radio. There’s the EBRD Literature Prize, very close to my heart as Chair of the Judges, with reviews and extracts from the longlist and shortlist on our ELNet website, as well as April’s announcement of the winner here. My fellow judges and I gallantly transcended the absence of an awards ceremony and were ‘virtually’ and genuinely unanimous in our choice of the winning novel Devilspel by Lithuanian author Grigory Kanovich, translated by Yisrael Elliot Cohen and published by Noir Press. Congratulations all! We will celebrate together in person one fine day and I will get to wear that red dress.
The European Literature Network itself has continued to rock’n’roll unfunded but fuelled by love, dedication and your kindness and creativity: we’ve just published our monthly Riveting Reviews. What an insight into contemporary European literature, and how relevant these reviews are. Sincere gratitude to our editor West Camel, email@example.com and to our literature- and website-coordinatorAnna Blasiak. If you’d like to submit reviews the next deadline is 26thMay, for publication on 29th May. Our 2020 Riveter magazines are also confirmed – more information soon on both The Romanian Riveter and The Dutch Riveter. On Monday 4th May we publish our latest blog The Italianist by Katherine Gregor, our indispensable read on must-read Italian literature. Thanks to our 4th ELNet team member Alyson Coombes for her editing and social media skills.
Improving our digital media skills generally has been paramount for all of us at ELNet. Everybody is doing it; everybody needs to learn how to do it. In our work with the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia we’re developing a few workshops – social media, digital home working. I boasted last month that I’d returned to my BBC roots and refreshed my filming, audio-recording, presenting and interviewing skills – but at home. I’d like to share that knowledge with you. So here’s the thing: ELNet needs your donations to survive and you need guidance on how to create a friendly, fully-functioning, tech-savvy virtual home office. Therefore, together with our media partner Mihai Andrei of London Video Stories, we have devised a one-stop professional and practical guide on how to film/record/stream/Zoom called The Home Office. If you would kindly donate to ELNet, we will send you the guide for free. If you or your organisation can afford it we suggest £50.00, more if you can, less if you can’t. We will then email you our guide, also to those of you who have already donated (tell us if you’d like the guide). Please do not share it with others. It is copyrighted and they can support us by buying their own. You can transfer money via our ELNet PayPal account. Thank you from the bottom of our creative European hearts for all donations so far. Some of you choose to remain anonymous but we would like to thank publicly: Fiona Graham, Lydia Harris, Geraldine Brodie, Jonathan Davidson, Valeria Vescina, Bitter Lemon Press, Lydia Harris, Karen Leeder, Ian Giles, Jonathan Davidson, Ursula Phillips, Aneesa Abbas Higgins, Rain Raud and Jozef van der Voort.
If you have any queries, anything to share, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay well, stay creative, stay European.
Love, Rosie the Riveter