European Literature Night

15 May is European Literature Night and events are happening across the continent – check out what’s going on where you are.

The  concept, according to the official European Literature Night website, is ‘One night – many experiences: public readings of contemporary literature performed by well known personalities at attractive and unusual venues in cities across Europe.’ In brief, it’s about capturing imaginations and new audiences by bringing individuals and societies together in creative ways.

For example, at the British Library in London, UK, there’s a free panel discussion on ‘Writing, Creativity and Translation‘, exploring the role of translation in European fiction. Then the main evening event sees eight exceptional writers, from groundbreaking new talent to leading names, joining BBC journalist and presenter Rosie Goldsmith for readings and conversation: Norbert Gstrein (Austria), Miha Mazzini (Slovenia), Erwin Mortier (Belgium/Flanders), Ece Temelkuran (Turkey), Jordi Punti (Spain/Catalonia) Jáchym Topol (Czech Republic) Birgit Vanderbeke (Germany) and Frank Westerman (Netherlands).

Literature in Focus with Svetlana Makarovič, Trubar Literature House in Ljubljana, CC-BY-ND

Readings of contemporary literature will be taking place across Europe on 15 May. Pictured – Literature in Focus event with Slovenian writer Svetlana Makarovič, Trubar Literature House in Ljubljana, 2010, Slovenian National E-Content Aggregator, CC-BY-ND

In Prague, Czech Republic, 18 locations play host to 18 new translations of contemporary European literature by renowned actors and celebrities, including Catalin Dorian Florescu from Switzerland and Wilhelm Genazino from Germany. Readings will take place at all locations in parallel. Venues include theatres, clubs, cinemas and coffee shops, institutes of architecture, museums, universities, industrial settings like Vltavská Metro Station and several other venues. More information

In Bulgaria, ten cities (Burgas, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Ruse, Sofia and Shumen) will hold European Literature Night events. A series of public readings will take place in unconventional urban spaces. Every half an hour, famous actors and other public figures will read excerpts from works of modern European literature. The night’s event is inspired by the assumption that literature is a tool for mutual understanding and cultural exchange that helps to overcome barriers in communication. More information

Other cities taking place include Dublin (works from 12 countries are read by Irish celebrities in 12 unusual venues), Lisbon (on 24 May), Bucharest (on 29 May – literature lovers travel between readings on donated bicycles!), Brussels (16 May), Slovakia (ten cities – Bratislava, Košice, Michalovce, Prešov, Rožňava, Trebišov, Trenčín, Trnava, Vranov nad Topľov and Žilina), Edinburgh, Florence, Malmo, Munich (7 June) and Vienna.

Vili Rezman (second from the left) presenting his awarded work in Konzorcij, at Mladinska knjiga Bookstores during Fabula Festival of Stories 2009. Slovenian National E-Content Aggregator,CC-NY-ND

Reading events like this one will be taking place all across Europe on 15 May. Pictured – ‘Vili Rezman (second from the left) presenting his awarded work in Konzorcij, at Mladinska knjiga Bookstores during Fabula Festival of Stories 2009’. Slovenian National E-Content Aggregator, CC-BY-ND

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