Literary roundup: Risky reflections and a transatlantic choice between German and Jewish lit festivals

At  Slovakia’s Project Forum Salon there is a summary of a lengthy interview with Polish novelist, essayist and literary historian Stefan Chwin, who has recently written not only one but two books about Czesław Miłosz, so basically if he’s going to give an interview about him it’s going to be long. Just from the summary it sounds like a fascinating interview though, with insights such as “Miłosz [was] dangerous because he was prone to risky reflections on the darkest aspects of our being. His interlocutors could easily get hurt for life. In spite of the darkness at the bottom of his soul he had a sunny, greedy attitude to life.” (In other words, he was the opposite of the common run of humanity who are prone to safe reflections on the dullest, safest aspects of our being and have a fluorescent-lit, greedy [in a different sense] attitude to life).

Festival Neue Literatur

From February 22 to 24 six German-language authors will be in New York for the Festival Neue Literatur. The festival will present Clemens Setz, Cornelia Travnicek, Leif Randt, Silke Scheuermann, Ulrike Ulrich, and Tim Krohn from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, as well as U.S. authors Joshua Ferris and Justin Taylor under the moderation of translators Susan Bernofsky and Claudia Steinberg.

Jewish Book Week

If you’re not in New York but London (not that I’m in either place) then at the precise middle point of the German-language festival you can go to the opening of Jewish Book Week. Of literalab interest – I’m not going through the program for you – but a few events of interest (i.e. what I would go to if the festival organizers would have had the foresight to send me tickets, get me accommodation and, oh, get me off work for the week):

Yudit Kiss: The Summer My Father Died, a memoir by Hungarian economist Yudit Kiss about her Holocaust survivor father, in discussion with translator George Szirtes (who, coincidentally, I was in the same room with the last time the Pope left the scene, though that time it wasn’t voluntarily).

And Europe Will Be Stunned – Poland and the Loss or Return of the Jews, An evening dedicated to new interpretations of Poland’s Jewish past and the potential of art to imagine a different future. A discussion between Polish cultural activist Sławomir Sierakowski, Polish Jewish leader Stanisław Krajewski, novelist Eva Hoffman, scholar François Guesnet and art historian Tamar Garb follows a screening of the visionary trilogy by Yael Bartana And Europe Will Be Stunned (2011)

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One Comment on “Literary roundup: Risky reflections and a transatlantic choice between German and Jewish lit festivals”

  1. Kinia
    02/05/2014 at 12:14 pm #

    It’s Czeslaw Milosz in the picture. Here’s more, an interesting photo project about him:

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