I like to think of the European Literature Network as a gathering place for friends, for all of us who care about the promotion and excellence of literature in translation. Which is why this month’s review of our Riveter magazines in the Times Literary Supplement made me smile. The author and critic Susana Medina wrote:
The Riveter feels like friendship, a European gathering made possible by a tremendous load of goodwill and grit.
“Goodwill and grit” pretty much sum up all of us promoting European writing in the UK, but among the many rewards are your camaraderie and respect and the knowledge that we are making an impact. You can read the whole TLS review here (although there is paywall).
We may not be publishing more Riveter magazines for a while, but every quarter (March, June, September and December) we publish our #RivetingReviews of European literature in English translation. The editors for each quarter are all ELNet team members and we rotate editorial duties, therefore the best way to contact us, if you’d like to review or have books to recommend, is via this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Our September reviews, edited by West Camel, are available here on our website, and the December reviews will be edited by Max Easterman, so you still have time! The deadline is 13th December, for publication on our website on 18th December. We welcome new reviewers and writers but it is essential that all contributors read The Rules, outlined here.
Among the ad hoc blogs you send us for our website (some great ones recently from Romania and the Netherlands) we also publish regular blogs dedicated to books and ideas from Spain, La Española (Alice Banks); from Italy, The Italianist (Alex Valente); and – our latest – Die Germanistin, from German-speaking countries. Die Germanistin is none other than Sheridan Marshall, a literary translator from German, collaborator on New Books in German and my deputy editor on The Austrian Riveter. Read Sheridan’s first blog here about her visit to Frankfurt Book Fair. Ideally, we’d have regular reports from all the regions and countries of Europe but as we work pro bono for the European Literature Network, we rely totally on the “goodwill and grit” of our contributors (for which sincere thanks).
We also have some fabulous partners! Our new best friend is the outstanding European Studies department at University College London. In October I was asked to speak at the launch of a major new exhibition and project on European writers at UCL. The exhibition is called Lost & Found: Mapping European Literary London. It comprises both a real display (do go – it’s free) and online interactive map of European writers, past and present, to which you are invited to contribute. The UCL blurb describes the project like this:
For centuries, writers have come to London from across Europe and beyond – as honoured guests and anonymous aliens; tourists and refugees; students and wanderers. In the squalid slums of the East End, in the glitter and glamour of Belgravia, in the unspoilt expanse of Hampstead Heath, these writers lose – and find – themselves. Their encounters with the city leave a mark: on the writer, on their work and, sometimes, on London itself.
Another related project the European Literature Network is working on with UCL is their new Writer in Residency programme, developed in partnership with EUNIC London and the Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom. This writer – from anywhere in Europe – will be selected by me and all the partners in spring 2024. They will spend a month in London and participate in a variety of great events. Read more about the Residency criteria here.
Which brings me finally to the wonderful news that all the aforementioned partners (and, we hope, a few more tbc) are gathering together once again to bring you the second European Writers’ Festival (EWF), to take place the weekend of 18-19th May 2024 at the British Library in London and I’m delighted to be asked back as Artistic Director. As you’ll know from EWF1 in May this year, we welcomed nearly 30 writers from across Europe to debate and perform, and I’m certain EWF2 will be even more spectacular. Submissions and suggestions for the 2024 authors must go through the individual Cultural Institutes or Embassies or EUNIC members in the UK, each of which may select up to three authors in any literary genre, published in English in the last three years. From those submissions my partners and I select one author to represent their country/region and participate in EWF2. In addition, one author from that final selection will be offered the Writer in Residency at UCL. It’s all very Eurovision-like and I love it – and it’s another opportunity to wear my red-sequinned trouser suit!
Also, don’t miss the III Festival of Queer Literature in Spanish which is being held in London this month, 22-26th November 2023. We’re proud to be a community partner on this exciting festival, which is taking place in venues across the city. Details on our website.
In Friendship, (and in memory of Matthew Perry, one of the six TV ‘Friends’ who gave so many of us so much pleasure – yes, I’m rewatching them all!)
Rosie The Riveter
Director of the European Literature Network
Image: The cast of the TV show ‘Friends’