When the going gets tough and the tough get going, what do you do? I don’t know about you but I take even greater refuge in literature and the arts and they are giving me enormous strength and inspiration. Last week, at the end of January, our six ELIT partners from our European Literature House project, held our Annual General Meeting in Budapest, Hungary. We came from London, Paris, Hamburg, Ljubljana, Vienna and ofcourse Budapest. How stimulating, in these hostile times, to sit with like-minded creatives and discuss plans for developing European Literature across Europe (including Britain!), to sit in Budapest cafes once frequented by some of Europe’s leading intellectuals and to drink Hungary’s outstanding wines in restaurants where composers and artists once discussed the centrality of culture in our lives. Then, fortified by wine and goulash, our ELIT group ventured out into the snow and minus 10 temperatures to visit Hungary’s National Gallery where we indulged in some of civilization’s greatest masterpieces. News and photos from our ELIT-AGM soon.
More reasons to be cheerful?
Well, there was our ‘High Impact All Stars’ event at the Tabernacle, Notting Hill, on January 17th. Authors David Nicholls and Herman Koch (and many others) combined to create a glittery, celebratory evening of the best Dutch writing in English, and some of the best writing about the Dutch. Thank you to Victor Schiferli and the Dutch Literature Foundation for funding the event and to the Dutch Embassy for the Reception. Thanks too for the invaluable support from ELIT, Arts Council England and everyone who pulled out all the stops to make this great event happen. Especially to Jon Slack, Anna Blasiak, Michele Hutchison and Max Easterman. We dedicated our January #Riveting Reviews to Dutch literature too, guest edited by our star editor West Camel. Read HERE. See Max’s High Impact photos HERE.
And another reason to be cheerful? A great programme line-up of Polish authors coming to London Book Fair March 14th-16th as part of the British Council LBF Market Focus. ELNet is proud to play a small part in this with our first ever ‘real’ magazine, ‘The Riveter’, dedicated to reviews and recommendations of Polish authors, guest edited by Deborah Levy and designed by Chris Riddell. All of which makes me very happy.
So, lots of reasons to be cheerful! And one of the biggest and best was our remarkable literary review workshop yesterday on February 1st held at Europe House. I say ‘remarkable’ because it really was: eleven of this country’s leading literary critics and editors, from Claire Armitstead to Boyd Tonkin, gave their time and expertise for free to support international fiction in the UK for our workshop entitled ‘How to Write Riveting Reviews’ – and subtitled ‘Especially of Translated literature’! Seventy aspiring and seasoned reviewers sat riveted for 3 ½ hours listening to eleven riveting talks with only a few crisps and water to keep them going. Sincerest thanks to everyone involved. It was indeed a day to make your feel better about the world.
By Rosie Goldsmith