Yes, we are still here! Yes, we are still Europeans! I do like a good hashtag. We are also still English, Welsh, Nigerian, Indian and Australian. You know what I mean. Everyone is welcome @eurolitnet. You’ll find no ‘Little England-ing’ on these pages.
What news from the frontline? July was for many of us in the arts and media a month of holding speeches, making pledges, writing articles, going on marches, trying to find positive, creative ways of moving forward after the EU Referendum. The magnificent Jonathan Davidson, CEO of Writing West Midlands, asked me to give the keynote speech at their annual National Writers’ Conference in Birmingham, so I grabbed the opportunity to rally everyone to the cause of international literature, language and translation. You can read the talk here and find out how I had ‘Dinner With Elena Ferrante’and ‘Slept with Sjon’. You too can become ‘literary activists’ and help stop the ‘Brexit of the Brain’ – and we can create 2 new hashtags!
Do also read the excellent writing on international literature websites such as Versopolis and Literature House Europe, as well as Asymptote, English PEN, Literature Across Frontiers, Words Without Borders… there are so many, run by so many tireless colleagues. The Creative Producer of our first European Literature Festival, Jon Slack, is firing on all cylinders with great ideas for our second ELF in 2017 – do support him. Jon has written an overview of ELF2016 for PEN Atlas. He is inviting you to brainstorm suggestions for your ideal ELF2017 and will be attending our special ELNet Members event on 20th September to kickstart the ELF brainstorming (which he will continue with a big meeting before our 28th September event. Email him for more details firstname.lastname@example.org).
On 20th Sept I’d also like to invite key EU colleagues in London, Jeremy O’Sullivan, Paul Kaye, Stephen Turkington and Christoph Jankowski, as well as EUNIC Members and Arts Council colleagues, so that they can enlighten us on the future of EU and ACE funding and the arts. We need to know: EUROPEAN LITERATURE: IN OR OUT?
And I’d like to use that very question to guide our discussions and events through the autumn. Anna has compiled calendar dates for August – based on the information you send us so please keep sending! Looking further ahead, please note in your diaries:
20th Sept European Literature Network meeting, Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA, 1800-2100
28th Sept Euro Stars, Waterstones Piccadilly
with Tim Parks and writers from Romania and France.
203-206 Piccadilly, LondonW1V 9LE, 1900-2030
Have a great August. Do remember our#RivetingReviews!! And my new campaign to sign up favourite-authors-in-English to recommend their favourite #RivetingReads in translation. Matt Smith (Dr Who, no less!) recently proclaimed that Bulgakov’s Master And Margarita was his favourite book. Can anyone help get Matt Smith on board?!
This August I’m doing what I love best, reading, writing, broadcasting and reviewing for the BBC’s Saturday Review programme, as well as chairing events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival I’ll also be at the Mantua Literature Festivalin Italy and then taking a late holiday till mid-September. So I am delighted that my favourite Riveters, West Camel and Anna Blasiak, will be overseeing the website, the reviews and All Things Riveting.
So – Get Riveting everyone! Until someone comes up with something better (please do!), I’m using ‘The Riveter’ as the title for our dream magazine of European literature in English. One day my prince will come, one day my dreams will come true, because, as the great Mikhail Bulgakov wrote,Everything will turn out right, the world is built on that.