I do hope you’ve had a good summer. I’ve been reading, writing, painting, working – and despairing. About climate change, about Ukraine, about so many issues. In spite of working at the BBC for so long, these days I find it hard to follow the news. The appalling war in Ukraine, the losses and despair continue to shock. The death of the Ukrainian writer and war crimes campaigner Victoria Amelina was dreadful. So much pain, caused by so much cruelty. I visited the exhibition of Ukrainian folklore artist Maria Prymachenko at the Saatchi Gallery in London, uplifted by her colour and energy, reminded however that so much of her work and so many museums and other cultural institutions have been destroyed. All the more reason to keep on supporting Ukraine, in whichever way we can. The book world continues to do its best: PEN and Book Aid International have launched Unbreakable Libraries; in August, Edinburgh International Book Festival ran Eyewitness Ukraine; in October the Hay Festival will partner with the Lviv Book Forum, and, as well as continuing its brilliant Read the World theme, Cheltenham Literature Festival will also celebrate Ukrainian literature. I’ll be interviewing the great Andrey Kurkov there on 6th October.
A few more sad losses, and people we’d like to remember: Andrew Singer, director of Trafika Europe – a US counterpart to the European Literature Network – died this summer, too young, too soon. Trafika Europe will continue but Andrew’s dedication to European Literature will be hard to beat. The incomparable Italian writer Michela Murgia alsodied, campaigning, and celebrating life, to the end (Alex Valente considers her work in this month’s Italianist column), and earlier we lost Milan Kundera, Javier Marías and Dubravka Ugrešić. Always be in our hearts and on our bookshelves.
Still celebrating the past, I’d like to highlight the outstanding Women in Translation efforts this summer – so many publishers, writers, translators, bookshops and literary media have embraced this month-long celebration. And not so long in the past, we held our first European Writers’ Festival (EWF) in the UK, with festival favourites Georgi Gospodinov and Angela Rodel winning the International Booker Prize, no less. We’re hoping to bring you good news *soon* about a second EWF. Meanwhile do read about this initiative from UCL European Studies, which we heartily endorse, and will update you about regularly.Launched in April, our splendiferous, blockbusting magazines, The Spanish and Austrian Riveters, continue their passage round the world, in print, online and on social media: you can access the magazines and every single article for free via our website: The Spanish Riveter, and, The Austrian Riveter. If you’d like to order print copies of the magazines, we have an arrangement with NEWSSTAND – you only pay Postage and Packing.
We are grateful to all of you who have supported all 12 magazines and our work in general but, unfortunately, unless some bountiful benefactor comes along there’ll be no more Riveters. Rest assured though, our cupboards may be almost bare but we’ll still rivet away on behalf of European Literature in the UK. Enormous thanks to those of you who regularly donate – we are grateful. Your money goes towards funding our website and reviews.
The autumn books rentrée promises to be incredibly exciting, and this month we relaunch #RivetingReviews to continue our regular support of European literature in translation. You still have time to review for us, or send us ideas, to email@example.com. The deadline for this month is 25th September, for publication on our website on 29th September. We will be publishing reviews every Quarter, in other words, in September, December, March and June, and as a team we will take it in turns to edit – this Quarter it’s the wonderful West Camel.
After hosting some festival events and podcasts recently, a wonderful young BookToker – who also loves literature in translation – said to me, “You are clearly a literary Influencer Rosie! You should get European Literature on BookTok!” I was wearing a red-sequinned trouser suit at the time but I was still taken aback, believing that all Booktokers or Influencers had to be twenty-something, with millions of followers and a makeup brand backing them, but her enthusiasm was encouraging. So maybe, just maybe, the European Literature Network will enter the BookTok world. I better get my nails done and tell the team to practice their pouts!
Love, Rosie The Riveter
Director of the European Literature Network
Editor-in-Chief of The Riveter magazines
Image: Paintings by Maria Prymachenko, at The Saatchi Gallery London, photographs by Rosie Goldsmith