Do you want to beat the drum for reading in translation?
Do you want to help combat the dearth of literary reviews?
Do you want to share your opinions about the books you read?
#RivetingReviews are different. They are open to everyone who reads European Literature in English translation – it’s that simple. Reviewing for us should be a pleasure and an opportunity for you to share your views about poetry, short stories, novels, graphic novels and literary non-fiction. You can be a professional writer or an aspirational reviewer. The more reviews you write, the more readers we will attract to international fiction in the UK. Too few books in translation are read and reviewed in the UK, so we are trying to redress the imbalance and help make these books more popular and accessible, in bookshops, libraries, schools and homes, at events and festivals, from John O’Groats to Land’s End. You are all welcome to review for us, as long as you please follow some basic rules.
Your reviews should be riveting to read and in English; original, well-written and objective. We encourage quality, excellence and integrity. No PR puffs please but we do favour strong views and honest critique. Be personal if you like; be upfront if you know the author or translator. ‘Different’ for us means genuinely and freely critical; negative too, if that’s how you feel. Don’t be afraid. Read some examples here of previous #RivetingReviews: Elena Ferrante, Munch on Munch, Jonathan Levi.
Generally, our goal is to publish a fresh batch of #RivetingReviews every month. The deadline may vary but you will be informed. The delivery deadline is usually five days before the publication date. In that monthly batch we will commission, and pay for, one major review (of between 1000 and 1500 words) of a new and significant translated work – this must however be agreed with us beforehand. However, we prefer short reviews, of between 500-700 words, or even shorter: a paragraph or a Tweet. You could always VIDEO your review – we like that too. See Judith Vonberg’s Riveting German Reviews from December 2016. We want you to see review-writing as a perfectly normal way to share your views, not to be a slog but a pleasure.
All reviews must be headlined with the full and correct book title and the names of the author, translator and publisher, along with the publication dates and details. At the end of your review we’d also like each reviewer to supply a short 2-line biography, your Twitter handle, Facebook page and professional website link, if you have them. This is to help us create a real community of #RivetingReaders and #RivetingReviewers. One more ‘rule’: in order to make #RivetingReviews even more riveting, when you submit, please include a good quality visual image – an additional separate document (of jpeg) of – for example – your own illustration, cartoon, graphic design, photo montage or a photograph of you reading the book you are reviewing.
Which books should you review and how do you get them? If you spot a new title you are interested in, then please email us a proposal. We will then provide the contact to the publisher (you may have it already) and ask you to request they send a review copy directly to your address. Or, if you are a publisher, you may send us your books, PDFs and catalogues and we will find reviewers. We prefer recent publications, of both contemporary literature and re-issued or re-translated classics, but we love hearing from any enthusiastic reader about any must-read book in translation. In fact, we also encourage you to submit your favourite #RivetingReads – see those from Louise Doughty and Boris Akunin.
Every month, generally, we will publish all that month’s reviews on the same day (the designated publication day) here on our website. In addition, each individual review will also be promoted via our social media, Facebook and Twitter, and automatically shared with our Partners and other media, for greater reach and impact. Please Tweet and share as often as you like.
Finally, as you may know, when we have the funding and time, we produce a print version of our #RivetingReviews, our magazine called The Riveter which focuses on the literature of a specific country or region of Europe. This is another great opportunity for both professional and aspirational book critics. You can read our latest Riveter magazines on Polish, Russian and Nordic literature.
Who are we? I am Director of the European Literature Network and first and foremost a professional journalist – a senior BBC staff broadcaster for twenty years; our editors here at ELNet are journalists, writers and editors, which means you can trust us. However, we work mainly for free therefore, sadly and apologetically, we cannot pay you and don’t have the time or resources to make major changes or comments on your reviews, but we will always edit them professionally. We have the final word. We only publish good reviews and those which follow our simple rules.
Get Riveting! Please submit your reviews and images via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Rosie Goldsmith, Riveter-in-Chief