Literary roundup: Akunin in London and reading to the void

On February 4 in London, Russian novelist Boris Akunin will deliver the annual Sebald lecture titled “Paradise Lost: Confessions of an Apostate Translator.”

Akunin, a pen name for Grigory Shalvovich Chkhartishvili, is known primarily for his historical mystery series such as the The Adventures of Erast Fandorin, but before becoming a famous writer was an accomplished translator from Japanese as well as English. Akunin will reportedly speak about “his love for translating, how translating both helped and hindered his work as a writer, and why he misses it now.”

More information on the event and tickets can be found here.

Perilous readings

And while there’s no doubt that there will be a good crowd to see the Russian writer speak that isn’t always the case when a writer makes a public appearance.  At Slovakia’s Project Forum Salon there is a summary of an article in Polish weekly Polityka about the often trying experience that writers such as Jerzy Pilch, Jacek Dehnel and others have of giving readings, including a brief but hilarious account by Janusz Głowacki about every writer’s nightmare reading:

“I once attended a reading where nobody turned up. So there I was, sitting with the librarian, sipping coffee as it was getting dark. Suddenly we heard steps in the street. Someone’s coming: the librarian cheered up. However, it was just a man who came to borrow a book, except that he’d forgotten the title. All he remembered was that it was ‘With something and something’. We managed to figure out that he meant With Fire and Sword [Henryk Sienkiewicz’s classic historical novel]. And that was the end of the reading.”

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