At this time of year, all of us within the European Literature Network should have diaries full of events – book launches, literary discussions and readings, and coming up, trips over to the Frankfurt Bookfair. We should be juggling, trying to get to two functions in one evening, sending out sincerest apologies over double bookings, and wondering whether we can manage on nibbles and wine for another night.
This year, of course, is very different. We’re all getting used to Zoom launches, Teams webinars and YouTube-streamed talks and discussions. We have to supply our own wine and nibbles, and when we click ‘leave meeting’ there’s no going on to somewhere else, no catching up with friends, no making quick plans for lunches, no picking someone’s brains or finding new potential partners for future collaborations.
But we ARE managing. Unlike many of our colleagues in the live and performing arts, the literary and publishing industry is able to continue, albeit in a somewhat truncated form. We’re still able to write, translate, publish and publicise fantastic literature.
And that’s exactly what ELNet did last week. We launched The Romanian Riveter at an actual live event at the Romanian Cultural Institute. The Network has always filmed its events and made them available to those who can’t attend – and done so using a professional film-maker – so it was a hop and a skip for us to adapt to a socially distanced launch. However, we had to go further this time. Many of our speakers – the inimitable George Szirtes and Fiona Sampson, for example, and, naturally, our Romanian partners – appeared on screen. But we did have flesh-and-blood humans too, in the shape of academic and novelist Vesna Goldsworthy and Istros Books publisher, Susan Curtis. Thanks to Rosie and Mihai’s production skills, the segues between the live discussions and online interviews and readings was seamless.
Our Romanian celebrations continue for the whole of this month and into November, with Romania Rocks, the first ever Romanian-British literary festival. This takes the form of a series of live events at the Romanian Cultural Institute and in Bucharest, all of which will be available online. The line up is very rock-star, including, from the UK, Ian Rankin, AL Kennedy and Deborah Levy, and from Romania, Ana Blandiana, Magda Cârneci and Norman Manea. The brainchild of the RCI and Festival Director, Magda Stroe, it is co-curated by our very own Rosie Goldsmith and long-term collaborator Gabriela Mocan. Find out the programme of events here.
As the live events continue, we’ll be posting content from The Romanian Riveter online. As if we had to remind you, The Riveter is a FREE publication, produced to the highest of standards on the tiniest of budgets. You can get a print copy of the magazine from Newsstand (newsstand.co.uk), pick up a copy at the RCI, or you can download the complete pdf here.
Awash as we are with wonderful Romanian writing, our monthly online reviews have been paused for a couple of months, but we’ll be back with a great set in November. If you’d like to submit a review, please contact me, West Camel, at email@example.com. Deadline for November is the 9th, and we’ll be publishing reviews on the 13th.
The next Riveter magazine is now in the works too. The Dutch Riveterwill appear in spring 2021, and I’m delighted to inform you that it’s going to be a corker. Collaborating with the Dutch Literature Foundation, Letterenfonds and their New Dutch Writing campaign, and with Flanders Literature, the line-up is taking shape – and what a shape it is.
Our monthly Italian strand, The Italianist, written by translator Katherine Gregor, continues, as does the new strand from our literature coordinator, poet and translator Anna Blasiak in partnership with photographer Lisa Kalloo, Poetry Travels.
All these activities have always been offered for free, but now, with the Network running on fumes, so to speak, the day-to-day work performed behind the scenes to bring them to you is being done for free too. So we fall upon your generosity and ask you to donate, please. Press the Rosie-red button below to go straight to Paypal. And while you’re about it, do get in touch with all your thoughts, ideas, PRs, announcements and news at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy our rocking Romanian Riveter and festival, and celebrate not just great writing, but our ability to produce, publish and discuss it.
All the best