Our first newsletter is of course a momentous publishing event (we’d like to think!), but there are simultaneously two even more momentous events to talk about, two hotly-anticipated books, and I’m obsessed by both. Both happen to be in translation, both the 4th in a series of already incredibly successful novels (which I previously devoured), and both published in English by independent publishers. The first is The Girl in The Spider’s Web, the 4th in the ‘Millennium Trilogy’ (!) originally written by Swedish writer Stieg Larsson, discovered for the English-speaking world by MacLehose Press and selling 80 million copies globally. This 4th Lisbeth Salander novel, commissioned by the Larsson Estate after his death, has been written by fellow Swede David Lagercrantz and translated by George Goulding – and I’ll be reviewing it soon.
And the second momentous event is the publication of the 4th (and final) in the series of Neapolitan novels by the mysterious Elena Ferrante, all translated superbly from the Italian by Ann Goldstein and published in English by Europa Editions. I’ve just finished ‘Ferrante 4′, which I will review here on our website for our brand new Review Section this month to coincide with a special Ferrante event I’m hosting, but I can reassure all Ferrante fans that it is brilliant; a literary phenomenon.
It’s been wonderful to actually read Elena Ferrante in Italy – to feel ‘the truth’ of this country and her characters. I’m writing this first Newsletter in Italy too, where I’ve been reading, writing, reviewing and preparing for a very busy European literary autumn ahead (helped by the incomparable Italian sunshine, food and wine!). Over the next few months you may spot me sounding off about books in Cheltenham, London, Snape Maltings, Cornwall, Norway or Austria. As well as our second ‘Fashion and Fiction’ evening event at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, with the superb Linda Grant (29th Sept).
It’s been a bit fat novel summer for me. As well as Elena Ferrante, I’ve been re-reading Victoria Hislop’s ‘Greek novels’ for a special event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Island (all the while thinking I should organise a second ‘Greece Is The Word’ event to reflect to the on-going crisis in the Greek arts: sponsors please!); also reading novels for our second Euro-Stars event at the FreeWord Centre on 21st Sept (‘be there or be square!’); then AL Kennedy (all-round wunderkind and the keynote speaker on writing on European Immigration for our annual ELit conference/workshops in October with our ELit partners in Austria); Hamid Ismailov, translated from the Russian (SILK FESTIVAL November), and a batch of new releases from Peirene Press, Pushkin Press, And Other Stories, Penguin and many, many more. My colleague Anna Blasiak (sadly sitting in rainy UK!) and I have been emailing back and forth over the past few weeks with research, new ideas for our website (we hope you like them) and our ambitious plans for European Literature.
See you at some of our events, we hope, and please use our website – it’s for you. We want your blogs, reviews, photos, events, podcasts, films, festival news, in order to make Eurolitnetwork.com your perfect one-stop networking hub for European literature in English.
Warmest wishes from sunny Italy!