The New Literature From Europe festival kicks off today in New York City with reading and discussions taking place at a variety of venues in Manhattan beginning at 6pm. The focus of this year’s festival is the meeting point between writing and art, asking “why European writers are writing about art, about artists, and about the art world today. What does this art about other arts reveal about the creative process? Why are contemporary novelists using painting or music as a link between present and past, or even as a means for conjuring the dead?” (among other questions).
Central European writers in attendance include Czech Monika Zgustová, whose novel Goya’s Glass has been noted on literalab before. Polish writer Agnieszka Taborska is described on the festival site as “reimagining the surreal for the postmodern era,” which sounds like a cool thing to do, though I thought the postmodern era was over (maybe that will be an added surreal moment when she finds that out). Here is part of a description of Taborska’s novel, Niedokończone życie Phoebe Hicks (The Unfinished Life of Phoebe Hicks):
“Phoebe Hicks is a mid-nineteenth century, Providence, Rhode Island woman who gains access to the spiritual plane after surviving a particularly violent bout of poisoning from clam fritters. An early photographer surreptitiously captures her image through a window as she seemingly lay dying.”
The Bulgarian Truck is a novel by Romanian writer Dumitru Tsepeneag about a love affair between the main character and a Slovak writer. I’ll bet he got some kind of Central European grant for that and that it probably won’t sell as well in Hungary or the Czech Republic.
Goya’s Glass is the only novel in the festival that has been published in translation. The festival schedule and locations can be seen here.
Miljenko Jergović: “A Death of the President’s Dog”
Archipelago Books just published Mama Leone by Croatian writer Miljenko Jergović (translated by David Williams) and now Electric Literature offers one of the collection’s stories in its Recommended Reading series: “A Death of the President’s Dog”
Archipelago previously published Jergović’s story collection Sarajevo Marlboro.
Photo – from New Literature from Europe