The Baltics Riveter: Introduction by West Camel

Many of you picking up this, our Baltics edition of The Riveter magazine, will find within these pages much that is new: reviews of books by unfamiliar authors; essays and articles about literature you may not have previously come across; poetry you’ve not read or heard performed. I too – before I began the process of commissioning and editing the content for this edition – hadn’t encountered many of the books and writers The Baltics Riveter covers.

This is the main reason why the London Book Fair Market Focus exists – to showcase writers from around the world to those of us in the book trade and the reading public who may not have heard of them before, and thereby enhancing our literary knowledge.

And this is exactly why we at the European Literature Network publish The Riveter magazine, and why we use each edition to focus on the literature of a different country, region, language or language group.

What I’ve learned in the process of editing The Baltics Riveter – and you will too as you read it – is that, while their books and poetry might be new to many in the English-speaking world, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia all have strong and long literary traditions, which have survived despite attempts to eradicate, censor and suppress both their literature and the languages it is written in.

What’s more, I have learned that literature in the three Baltic countries is currently thriving. You’ll see the evidence here: in the series ‘We. Latvia. The 20th century’, several titles from which we feature; in the flourishing of modern Estonian writing filmmaker Imbi Paju discusses; in the reflections on history Lithuanian writers are producing; and even in the small by vibrant Livonian literary scene translator Chris Moseley describes.

We hope we reflect as much as we can of this literary energy and enterprise within these pages. And, aided by our guest editors, London Book Fair’s three Authors of the Day – Kristina Sabaliauskaitė, Nora Ikstena and Mihkel Mutt – and by all our contributors, we hope you’ll no longer regard the literature from the three Baltic countries as something new, but instead as simply fresh and enticing writing.

By West Camel

Read The Baltics Riveter in its entirety here.

Category: April 2018 - Baltic CountriesReviews

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