European Literature Night to Land at Bohemian National Hall Next Month
European Literature Night (ELN) comes to Bohemian National Hall in New York City on June 2 from 7-10pm, with actors performing a curated selection of passages from fifteen exceptional literary works of fiction and poetry from across the European continent. The selected books will be available in a book fair along with other international titles.
New York audiences will move from room to room to hear literary work from prominent and up-and-coming European authors whose work allows for the exploration of parallels between European experiences and the current cultural and political climate in America. The event is modelled after its overseas counterpart, offering a European style atmosphere where audiences can listen to readings and exchange ideas while enjoying a beer or a glass of wine.
The evening will feature an in-person conversation with writer Marieke Nijkamp, a Dutch fiction writer whose first novel This is Where it Ends was a New York Times Young Adult Bestseller, followed by a Q&A and reception.
This special evening is free and open to the public, hosted by the Czech Center New York and the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York with the collaboration of fifteen partnering cultural institutions and consulates.
ELN is a decade-old tradition in many European countries. The inaugural New York edition is also the first in the U.S. and will be launched on the occasion of the 60th anniversary celebration of theTreaties of Rome - treaties that brought reconciliation, growth and security to millions of Europeans after WWII. The concept of the ELN is based in this spirit of unity, and on the belief that literature is a unique and creative medium that can help strengthen the dialogue between single voices and cultures, and that it is a tool of mutual understanding which helps to break down communication barriers.
The first ELN was created by the Czech Center Prague and featured readings in pubs and coffee shops throughout the city, creating the experience of a "pub crawl" enhanced by literary readings. The addition of literature and the presentation of new and evocative ideas in these traditionally communal spaces where people discuss ideas gave visitors the space and material to enjoy and then reflect upon what they had heard. The Czech Center New York hopes to provide a similar experience to those visiting the ELN in Bohemian National Hall.
The selected books come from countries representing a diverse and varied Europe: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain.
PROGRAM AND SCHEDULE FOR JUNE 2, 2017:
Simultaneous readings in seven venues throughout Bohemian National Hall
Book Fair in the Ballroom
In Conversation with Writer Marieke Nijkamp
Marieke Nijkamp discusses her New York Times Young Adult Bestseller book This is Where it Ends.
European Literature Night is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to reserve a space at europeanlitnight.eventbrite.com.
For the special event In Conversation with Writer Marieke Nijkamp, RSVP to reserve a complimentary seat at inconversationeln.eventbrite.com.
Bohemian National Hall is located at 321 East 73rd Street, New York, NY 10021 (between 1st and 2nd Ave. - Subway: Q to 72nd Street, 6 to 68th Street or 77th Street). For more information about the event, visit bit.ly/2quOUWf.
SELECTED BOOKS & AUTHORS:
War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans - Belgium
The life of Urbain Martien-artist, soldier, survivor of World War I-lies contained in two notebooks he left behind when he died in 1981. In War and Turpentine, his grandson, a writer, retells his grandfather's story, the notebooks providing a key to the locked chambers of Urbain's memory.
A masterly book about memory, art, love and war, War and Turpentine sold more than 200,000 copies and is translated into 15 languages. Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017, named a New York Times Top 10 Best Book of the Year and an Economist Best Book of the Year.
Wolf Hunt by Ivailo Petrov - Bulgaria
Published in the final years of communism, set in the beginning of the same era, Wolf Hunt is an iconic novel about the human price paid in times of shifting values and enforced transformationS. Petrov's narrative technique is reminiscent of Faulkner and Kurosawa's Roshomon, giving the reader access to the inner lives of the six main characters as they are inextricably pulled into further conflict with each other. A foremost work of Bulgarian literature from the past century, Wolf Hunt places the calamitous history of twentieth-century Bulgaria into a human context of helplessness and desperation.
Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century by Patrik Ou?edník - Czech Republic
Heir of Kafka, Ou?edník offers a burlesque vision of the history of contemporary Europe, combining tragic aspects of the situations with anecdotal facts that stress the absurdity of the twentieth century. Laughs guaranteed, uneasiness probable, strong impact: in short, a great book.
Ou?edník, recipient of the State Prize for Literature (2014) and the Tom Stoppard Prize (2013), demonstrates that nothing substantial has changed - humanity is still hopeful for the future and still mired in conflicts. Europeana has been published in more than 30 languages, making it the most translated post-1989 Czech book.
The Brother by Rein Raud - Estonia
Rein Raud's short novel of well-drawn characters and quick moving plot is, in his own words, a spaghetti western told in poetic prose, simultaneously paying tribute to such incompatible figures as Clint Eastwood and Alessandro Baricco. Touching upon ideas of identity and the ruthless way the world is divided into winners and losers, its themes are relevant in every corner of the world.
Rein Raud is the author of seven novels, five books of poetry, and several collections of short stories and essays. One of his short pieces appeared in Best European Fiction 2015. He is a professor of Japanese studies and has translated several works from Japanese into Estonian.
The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal - France
The Heart takes place over the 24 hours surrounding a fatal car crash and the subsequent heart transplant as life is taken from a young man and given to a dying woman. As stylistically audacious as it is emotionally explosive, the book examines the deepest emotions of everyone involved - grieving parents, doctors and nurses - as they navigate decisions of life and death.
The Heart is a finalist for the first Albertine Prize, recognizing American readers' favorite French language work of fiction from 2016. Kerangal has authored several novels, published a collection of short stories, a novella and a fiction tribute to Kate Bush and Blondie titled Dans les rapides.
Austerity Measures: The New Greek Poetry edited by Karen Van Dyck - Greece
This powerful bilingual anthology of poetry is a display of resilience and beauty, showcasing the richness and strength of contemporary Greek poetry. According to Kate Kellaway, writing for The Observer, the book provides "an uncommon chance to share Greek experience beyond the headlines-in a way that is fascinating, revelatory and only possible through poetry."
Karen Van Dyck is the Kimon A. Doukas Professor of Modern Greek Literature in the Classics Department at Columbia University. She writes on modern Greek and Greek diaspora literature, and gender and translation theory.
Dead Heat by Benedek Totth - Hungary
On a deserted bypass somewhere in the Hungarian countryside a sports car full of teenagers races through the pitch black night. Benedek Totth's first novel reflects today's youth, more or less abandoned teenagers, loitering mostly unhappily, sometimes sad but more often angry.
A translator of contemporary American and English literature, the author's work is packed with action, deadpan philosophy and psychedelia. Elements of teenage literature, the detective story and the psychological thriller mingle in this unique and often humorous book - one of the biggest recent success stories of Hungarian literature.