Welcome to the European Literature Festival 2016

In its eighth year European Literature Night (ELN) returned with an expanded programme under the rebranded European Literature Festival.

Presented by EUNIC London, it was a six-week celebration of literature from across the continent in the UK, with more than 60 writers and poets from more than 30 countries involved in events and projects from 27 April-9 June, including the flagship hwcase of the 2016 ELN Writers at the British Library.

The Translation Pitch also returned on 9 June, with six translators pitching their literary projects to a live audience and jury of top editors. As well as events in the capital, ELF reached beyond London with events in Chichester, Birmingham and Newcastle, plus the ‘Poetry Periscope sound installation, produced in partnership with Czech-based Piána na ulici and The Poetry Society.

Launched on 27 April, it is now on tour around the UK until mid-October 2016.

festival on regional tour

FESTIVAL ON REGIONAL TOUR
European Literature Festival reaches beyond London and presents events across England

MONDAY 9 MAY – FRIDAY 13 MAY
DORTHE NORS IN CHICHESTER
Monday 9 May 2016, 5.30 pm

Dorthe Nors talks to students at the university which hosts Thresholds, Home of the International Short Story Forum.

Chichester University
Address: College Ln, Chichester PO19 6PE
Admission: free
More info: +44 1243 816000, www.chi.ac.uk

EUROPEAN LITERATURE FESTIVAL IN NEWCASTLE
Tues 10 May 2016, 6.30 pm

A special literature in translation event is taking place as part of New Writing North’s Newcastle book group in May. Gabriela Babnik, from Slovenia, will be discussing her third novel, Dry Season, which received the European Union Prize for Literature. Joining her will be Jaap Robben from the Netherlands, who will talk about his debut novel You Have Me to Love, which won the 2014 Dutch Booksellers Award. It has sold almost 30,000 copies in the Netherlands, and is soon to be made into a film. The event will be chaired by journalist Caroline Beck.

Members of the other New Writing North book groups are welcome to attend the event.

The Carriage
Address: Archbold Terrace, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 1DB
Admission: free
Booking: peter@newwritingnorth.com

EUROPEAN LITERATURE FESTIVAL IN BIRMINGHAM
Tues 10 May 2016, 6.30 pm

Come and hear readings and conversation from Danish novelist and short-story writer, Dorthe Nors; Bulgarian writer and dramatist Alek Popov; and Ruth Gilligan, best-selling Irish novelist and journalist, currently teaching at the University of Birmingham. The event will be chaired by Chief Executive of Writing West Midlands, Jonathan Davidson.

Birmingham Waterstones
Address: 24-26 High St, Birmingham B4 7SL
Admission: free
Bookings: +44 121 633 4353, birmingham@waterstones.com

AN EVENING AT THE BOOKSHOP KIBWORTH WITH PRIZE-WINNING
FLEMISH AUTHOR PETER VERHELST
Fri 13 May 2016, 6:30pm
Peter Verhelst will talk to guests about his latest book The Man I Became over a glass of wine, followed by a Q&A session and book-signing. The Man I Became is published by Peirene Press, and the Leicestershire-based Bookshop Kibworth is currently Vintage Independent Bookshop of the Year. The evening with Peter Verhelst also marks the opening event of Kibworth Book Festival, which runs until the end of June.
The event is free, but booking a place on the guest list essential.

don quixote translation joust

DON QUIXOTE TRANSLATION JOUST

Two star translators defending their work in a duel that sheds light on Don Quixote and translation

MONDAY 9 MAY, 6.45pm

Don Quixote may be one of the best loved books in the world, but most of its readers have only encountered it mediated through the work of its translators. Why does that matter? Because each time a translator rewrites Cervantes’s novel in their own language, they are making a million little personal, creative choices that will affect how their readers experience it.

For this special event, we have commissioned star translators Peter Bush and Margaret Jull Costa to produce rival versions of the same short extract, which they will be defending tonight live on stage, in a translation duel that will shed light on Quixote itself and on how translation really works. Unlike normal duels, there probably won’t be actual bloodshed, but you never know. Refereed by Daniel Hahn.

criminal worlds

CRIMINAL WORLDS: DETECTIVE FICTION IN EUROPE

European crime writers examine the back stories of detective heroes in foreign lands

FRIDAY 13 MAY, 6.30pm

It’s Friday the 13th and there are dark goings on as we lift the lid on a strange and disturbing world of crime and intrigue in Europe. Hosted by writer and broadcaster Barry Forshaw and with guests including bestselling crime novelist Peter James, Finnish crime writing sensation Kati Hiekkapelto and German author of the 1920s-set Babylon Berlin series,Volker Kutscher, our panel will cast their forensic eye on the celebrated and lesser-known investigators of European fiction.

translation pitch new literary voices

TRANSLATION PITCH: NEW LITERARY VOICES WITH PEN PRESENTS
Six enthralling books by contemporary European writers which have not yet been translated into English will be pitched live

THURSDAY 9 JUN, 6.30pm
The Translation Pitch is back! Six translators go head-to-head, pitching their ‘must-acquire’ European books to a live audience and a jury of top publishing experts: Max Porter (Granta/Portobello), Meike Ziervogel (Peirene Press) and Stefan Tobler (And Other Stories). This whirlwind tour of contemporary European writing will uncover brilliant books from Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Turkey and France which have not yet been translated into English.

English PEN’s ‘PEN Presents’ initiative seeks to help UK publishers to discover – and publish – the most exciting books from around the world, and to support literary translators in their development as advocates for international literature. All six shortlisted translators in this European round of PEN Presents will be awarded a prize of £250; samples and reports of their chosen books are available to download from English PEN’s website.

SPEAKERS
ANTOINETTE FAWCETT
PAULA DARWISH
KAREN LEEDER
EMMA MANDLEY
SAM NAGELE
JAMES WOMACK

the enemies project european poetry night

THE ENEMIES PROJECT: EUROPEAN POETRY NIGHT
Poets from across Europe share their collaborative poems

SATURDAY 14 MAY, 7.00pm
More than 20 poets travel to London to share brand new collaborative poems, premiered on the night and written for the occasion, in pairs, across languages, styles & nations. Curated by SJ Fowler.

Featuring: Vanni Bianconi (Switzerland) & Billy Ramsell (Ireland), Alessandro Burbank (Italy) & Alexander Filyuta (Russia / Germany), Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir (Iceland) & SJ Fowler (UK) , Ulrike Ulrich (Switzerland) & Jen Calleja (UK / Malta), Nurduran Duman (Turkey) & Jonathan Morley (UK), Christodoulos Makris (Ireland / Cyprus) & Martin Bakero (France), Tomica Bajsic (Croatia) & Colin Herd (Scotland), Ghareeb Iskander (UK) & Ahsan Akbar (UK), Ariadne Radi Cor (Italy) & Iris Colomb (France), Ana Seferovic (Serbia) & Agnieszka Studzinka (Poland), Rufo Quintavalle (UK / France) & Ian Monk (UK / France), Niillas Holmberg (Sami) & Peter Sulej (Slovakia), Efe Duyan (Turkey) & Livia Franchini (Italy)

Rich Mix Arts Centre
35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA

european literature night

EUROPEAN LITERATURE NIGHT: THE WRITERS’ SHOWCASE
Writers from six countries in 
a literary feast of compelling fiction and short stories

WEDNESDAY 11 MAY, 6.30pm
The centrepiece of the Festival, the Writers’ Showcase follows a day of talks and translation clinics at the British Library, with novelist and playwright Kate Mosse to deliver an opening address before appearances by the six 2016 ELN Writers – each chosen from a pool of 65 writers submitted by publishers in November – who will be interviewed on stage by broadcaster and director of European Literature Network Rosie Goldsmith.

“Writing in translation offers us a way to understand our neighbours better and to shine a light on how the world fits together. At a time when the countless shared histories and stories from our many friends and strangers in Europe is danger of being lost in the politics of the EU debate, an initiative like the European Literature Festival is more important than ever. I’m delighted to be supporting it and taking part.” – Kate Mosse, novelist and playwright

The discussion will travel from the Turkish prison cells of Burhan Sönmez’s ‘Istanbul, Istanbul’ to the turned upside-down-lives in Dorthe Nors’ twisted and imaginatively-realised streets of Copenhagen; to Slovenian writer Gabriela Babnik’s seductive tale of forbidden love on the dusty plains of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; via Peter Verhelst’s deadpan Belgian humour in his Gorilla-narrated fable about the story of human civilisation (and its collapse). There is a tormented relationship unfolding between widow and son on Dutch-writer Jaap Robben’s remote and stormy island (located somewhere between Scotland and Norway); and we finish in Alek Popov’s strange and comic novel that moves between Bulgaria and New York, where two brothers question whether their long-deceased father is, in fact, dead.

“Since our first European Literature Night eight years ago the evening has gradually grown into a week, and now, quite thrillingly, it has become a Festival. As judge and host of ELN, it is the highlight of my year. We’ve had a record number of submissions and this year the judges all felt it was the strongest collection of writers we have had to choose from so far. I can assure you British audiences are in for a real treat. The best of contemporary European literature is coming their way.” – Rosie Goldsmith, director of European Literature Network

The event will be followed by a drinks reception.

SPEAKERS
BURHAN SÖNMEZ (TURKEY)
DORTHE NORS (DENMARK)
GABRIELA BABNIK (SLOVENIA)
PETER VERHELST (BELGIUM)
JAAP ROBBEN (NETHERLANDS)
ALEK POPOV (BULGARIA)
CHAIRED BY ROSIE GOLDSMITH
OPENING ADDRESS BY KATE MOSSE

programme the poetry periscope project

THE POETRY PERISCOPE ON TOUR
30 poems from 30 European cultures in a travelling sound installation on tour around the UK.

This bright yellow ‘poetry jukebox’ first appeared on the Piazza of the British Library in from 27 April-19 May, and is touring to other venues nationwide throughout 2016, including the Brighton Train Station, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Birmingham’s New Street station and finally, the Durham Book Festival.

A joint project by Piána na ulici (Pianos on the Street), The Poetry Society, and the European Literature Festival, the Poetry Periscope includes recordings of poems from 30 European cultures, placing poetry grandees such as Titos Patrikios (Greece) and Friederike Mayröcker (Austria) alongside upcoming names such as Irish-language poet Doireann Ni Ghriofa. Poems are each be available in their original language and a recorded English translation (see full list below).

“In the globalised 21st Century we need some means of speaking to ourselves and each other about our deepest hopes, desires and fears. Poetry can do that, in all its languages with all its rhythms and images, reminding us who we are and who we can become. The joy of the Poetry Periscope is that, like all periscopes, it lets us glimpse landscapes, in this case poetic landscapes, in a brand new way. It’s a great initiative and I’m proud to be associated with it.” – Ian McMillan, poet and broadcaster

The Poetry Periscope (known also as Poesiomat or Poetry Jukebox) originated in the Czech Republic and is now being introduced across the world. In 2016 it will be in UK, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, USA and Poland.

27 April – 19 May 2016 British Library Piazza
20 May – 29 June 2016 Brighton train Station
1 July – 10 July 2016 Burgage Hall, for the Ledbury Poetry Festival
12 July – 14 Sept 2016 New Street Station, Birmingham
16 Sept – 16 Oct 2016 Palace Green Library, for the Durham Book Festival
TOUR GALLERY
Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar
ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Join the conversation on Twitter via #PoetryPeriscope

FEATURED POETS
AUSTRIA, Friederike Mayröcker
BELGIUM (FLANDERS), Els Moors
BELGIUM (WALLONIA), William Cliff
BULGARIA, Ivan Hristov
CROATIA, Tatjana Gromaca
CYPRUS, Kyriakos Charalambides
CZECH REPUBLIC, Ondrej Buddeus
DENMARK, Pia Tafdrup
ESTONIA, Jürgen Rooste
FINLAND, Veera Antsalo
FRANCE, Valérie Rouzeau
GERMANY, Jan Wagner
GREECE, Títos Patríkios
HUNGARY, Krisztina Tóth
IRELAND, Doireann Ní Ghríofa
ITALY, Antonella Anedda
LATVIA, Arvis Viguls
LITHUANIA, Ildze Butkute
NETHERLANDS, Toon Tellegen
NORWAY, Hanne Bramness
POLAND, Jaroslaw Mikolajewski
PORTUGAL, Filipa Leal
ROMANIA, Ioan Es. Pop
SLOVAK REPUBLIC, Michal Habaj
SLOVENIA, Brane Mozetic
SPAIN, Mariano Peyrou
SPAIN (CATALONIA), Josep Lluís Aguiló
SWEDEN, Tomas Tranströmer
SWITZERLAND, Ilma Rakusa
UNITED KINGDOM, Jackie Kay

PREVIOUS EVENTS ->

POETRY PERISCOPE LAUNCH
Tuesday 3 May 2016, 6.30 pm, British Library

Hosted by poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan, our launch event featured dynamic live readings of poems from across Europe that are featured in the Periscope, read aloud by UK poets Richard Scott, Gabriel Akamo and Charlotte Higgins, and with special guest readings from Michal Habaj (Slovakia) .

‘I’d like to see your eyes
widened by knowledge of truth.
It’s just a moment, but an eternal one.’
~ Michal Habaj (Slovakia)

In partnership with The Poetry Society and Piana na ulici

~

THE STORY BEHIND THE POETRY PERISCOPE
Wednesday 11 May, 5pm, British Libary

A panel of poets with a passion for translation, discussed their thoughts on the Poetry Periscope project. The session asked how do you lift 30 European poems off the page and into the ear? And are some poems more translatable and transportable than others? Chaired by the Poetry Society’s Ed Doeger, the talk included poet and editor Kathryn Gray, poet and translator Jamie McKendrick, and Arvis Viguls, Latvian poet, literary critic and translator from English, Spanish, Russian and Serbo-Croatian.

‘ As a kid I liked knives.
In those days there were no other toys.’
– Arvis Viguls (Latvia)

In partnership with The Poetry Society