ELNet June 2016 Newsletter by Rosie Goldsmith


Here at the beginning of June we @eurolitnet are full of hope and promise: ‘Culture Matters’ (remember our debate on 27th April?) and Europe will prevail; let’s hope it’s the same story at the end of this month. Typically, as soon as a group of ‘Creatives’ (You! Us!) came out publicly in support of remaining in the EU, You/We were condemned as privileged, left-wing ‘luvvies’. Possibly a few of us are but the majority of us in the arts and literature are poor – but make up for that poverty with a wealth of passion and positivity. And as ‘positive’ is my second name (much better than the real one, ‘Anne’ ), I say let’s celebrate The Good Things. Like Lunatics, Lovers and Poets.

When you read this I will be knee-deep in mud and literature at the Hay-on-Wye Festival in Wales. I’ve been attending for a decade, chairing events and hoovering up enough new ideas to feed me through to the next festival. Hay was my first ‘festival love’ and first loves are never forgotten. Thanks to the vision of Hay’s director Peter Florence, it has always been an international festival and I was lucky enough to host events with Karl Ove Knausgaard, Olga Tokarczuk and Lauren Binet long before they became international superstars. This year, Hay is showcasing Cervantes and Shakespeare, both in their 400th year and both the inspirations for an anthology of short stories entitled Lunatics, Lovers and Poets, edited by Margarita Valencia and Daniel Hahn. Danny is himself a permanent Hay fixture – he’s the one holding up the tent poles. Also at Hay, there’ll be a special event to celebrate the winners of the Man Booker International Prize 2016, the remarkable South Korean writer Han Kang and her ebullient translator Deborah Smith. As I said, lots to celebrate.

After Hay I’m in Lisbon eating natas and drinking coffee with a group of UK editor-publisher colleagues on a fact-finding mission to discover the best Portuguese literature to bring back home to you.

There’s still time to register for our first ever professional ELNet workshops on June 13th, free for all ELNet members, with top speakers giving tips and advice on how to sponsor and promote European literature in the UK – because that, as you may recall, is why I set up ELNet in the first place. Details and registration: 1. ELNet workshop: FUNDING, DEVELOPMENT, GRANT APPLICATIONS; 2. ELNet workshop: PROMOTION; deadline June 9th. Thank you to everyone for agreeing to give their time for free. Our regular evening ELNet networking event will also take place on June 13th – all at Europe House, London (to whom, as ever, humble thanks). Please RSVP here or, if easier, let Anna know at anna.blasiak@yahoo.co.uk

Please remember that however much I personally like to sound off (!), this website, and ELNet itself, is actually a networking hub for you. We are here to collate your Newsletters, blogs, event details, photos, podcasts, films and reviews. If you’d like to review for us do check out our #RivetingReviews, published this month on June 15th.

We are also here to collaborate with you, if you need us. We already blog and contribute to ELit Literature House Europe and this month we link up with Versopolis, a new and exciting online magazine of European poetry, books and culture produced by the admirable Slovene Beletrina group. Both these projects were made possible with funding from the EU Creative Funding Programme. So, there’s another reason to vote YES to the EU.

Finally, happy 80th birthday to Anthea Bell, truly one of the greatest, most gracious literary translators in this country. About a decade ago I was presenting the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Open Book’ (pre-Mariella Frostrup days!) and I interviewed Anthea about translating Zweig and Asterix. In spite of being a linguist and literature lover, I knew very little about the great art of literary translation: Anthea Bell opened my eyes and changed my life.

By Rosie Goldsmith

Category: ELNet Newsletters


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