I tried to steal spaghetti from the shop, but the female guard saw me and I couldn’t get pasta. (Masai Graham, winner of the best joke award at the Edinburgh fringe festival 2022)
Heard a good joke lately? Are you returning to your desks crying or laughing? After a dramatic summer of drought, torrential rain, soaring prices, strikes, political strife, war in Ukraine, the savage attack on Salman Rushdie and freedom of speech, you might – like us – struggle to raise a smile. But we’re here to help, not by ignoring the gravity of the situation but with a lame joke or three and reminders of those restorative flashes of hope, beauty, community, friendship, shared values and belly laughs.
Thank goodness for books. Edinburgh International Book Festival (and ofcourse the fringe!) was a summer sensation, a triumph. You can watch most events again online. A golden harvest of autumn festivals and publishing beckons, including my beloved Cheltenham Literature Festival, from 7-16 October – I’ll be hosting events on Italy, Ukraine, Spain, Dutch art – amongst others – and looking forward to meeting Ann Morgan again, the inspirational writer, champion of international literature and curator of Cheltenham’s Read The World events. You can also sign up for Ann’s monthly blog. Like Ann, the European Literature Network is a supporter of Women in Translation, and August’s #WITmonth was magnificent. Here are some links if you’re interested: https://www.womenintranslation.org; https://bookshop.org/lists/women-in-translation-month-2022; https://blogs.bl.uk/european/2022/08/women-in-translation-month-2022-part-1.html.
More reasons to be cheerful? Two great events: Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow Over The Bones of the Dead, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, is to be made into a play by the great Simon McBurney of Complicité, and we celebrate the publication of eight Swiss Chapbooks, entitled +SVIZRA and supported by Pro Helvetia. Both events, I’m proud to say, the European Literature Network helped initiate in the early stages. More European pleasures to come are The Austrian Riveter and The Spanish Riveter magazines, pub. dates for both to coincide with London Book Fair 2023 and special events at the British Library. We begin commissioning this month, so watch your inboxes for emails from West Camel, Editor of The Spanish Riveter, and from me, editor of The Austrian Riveter, supported by our tireless ELNet team. If you have any queries or suggestions please contact us at the usual ELNet address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We publish our regular #RivetingReviews on 30th September (the deadline is 26th September), edited by the wonderful West Camel, to whom my humble thanks. Contact him with your PR, your books and ideas: email@example.com.
30th September is also International Translation Day and for that I’d like to highlight the outstanding work of Will Forrester, Translation and International Manager at English PEN. Today PEN announces its two-day ITD programme, with both an in-person day at Conway Hall on 29th Sept and an online day on 30th Sept. PEN is collaborating with our great friends at the National Centre for Writing to create a nationwide ITD.
Finally, as I’m not sure how skilled our aforementioned colleagues are at telling jokes, I’ll round off this month’s newsletter with the ten top one-liners from the Edinburgh Fringe, as well as The Funniest Joke in the World, courtesy of Monty Python, and some extremely lame European jokes written about us poor Brits during Brexit. We can’t have you saying that the European Literature Network does not provide a useful service!
Love, Rosie the Riveter