If you thought that April was a busy month for international literature in the UK then you’d better brace yourself for May. After a brilliant London Book Fair and Baltics Market Focus in April (we miss you Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania!), as well as the launch of our Baltics Riveter magazine (also available online HERE) and the inaugural EBRD Literature Prize, this month moves us closer to the summer with the start of literary festival season – the Hay Festival in Wales (24th May to June 3rd). At Hay-on-Wye I get to host an event featuring our EBRD Literature Prize winners, the outstanding Turkish novelist Burhan Sönmez and his translator Ümit Hussein. The Man Booker Prize International is awarded this month too and the British Bookseller Awards and there’s the big build-up to the Women’s Prize. The more prizes the better I say. Most writers and translators I know welcome the boost to their morale and their income. As far as ‘our’ EBRD prize goes, I reckon that €20,000 for a brand new Prize is not to be sniffed at. As chair of the judges for three years I was astounded by the high standard of entries: Burhan Sönmez beat Nobel Prize winners Ismail Kadare and Orhan Pamuk to first prize, with the great Croatian writer Daša Drndić and translator Celia Hawkesworth, as well as Russian bestseller Boris Akunin and translator Andrew Bromfield – all four were runners-up. We will be releasing our 2019 submissions deadline soon. But do read this year’s winners first! One of my goals with the EBRD Prize is to nurture the longlists as well as the winners. You can access the lists here and here.
If we don’t see you at Hay in May then there’s always that Great European, the divine Deborah Levy, talking #fashionandfiction with me at the Victoria and Albert Museum this Thursday 3rd May. And ‘The Art of Translation’ event at the Caravanserail bookshop in London on 9th May (Europe Day – our last in the EU??) followed by European Literature Night at the British Library on the 10th. It seems we really are stuffing our gills with Europe before the lights are switched off. The fantastic ‘Beyond Words’ Institut Francais Festival takes place from 14th – 21st May. We are also beavering away at our LiterallySwiss projects in the UK with pro Helvetia. We are holding a LiterallySwiss brainstorming meeting at Europe House the afternoon of 20th June followed by our next European Literature Network meeting that evening. Our next Riveter magazine will be Swiss. But don’t forget our regular ‘Riveting Reviews’ online – they continue every month on our website. The May batch will be published on May 8th. The next #RivetingReviews deadline is June 11th, for publication on June 15th. Do get in touch with us if you’d like to review (but please read ‘The Rules’).
And if you have a free moment in your busy month of May, then why not tune into our literature podcast #TheWords, produced by Simon and Schuster and Westend Media and hosted by me – it’s free and fabulous.
Rosie The Riveter