For a fifth year European Literature Night is taking place in cities throughout the continent. On May 15 work by writers dead and alive will be celebrated in a host of interesting locations, in both cosmopolitan locales whose names evoke a long cultural history – Florence, Bucharest, Vienna, London, Prague – all the way to a number of smaller cities in Bulgaria and Slovakia.
Just sticking to the living authors there is a terrific lineup of authors travelling around. To name some of the Central and Eastern European ones: Jáchym Topol will be among the authors appearing at London’s British Library, Jacek Dehnel and Răzvan Petrescu will be in Dublin, and Michał Witkowski in Prague.
Truthfully, it’s confusing trying to figure out which author is actually coming to the event in person. Of course, sometimes it’s obvious. The fascinating Bucharest lineup of authors includes Antonio Muñoz Molina, Dino Buzzati, Péter Esterházy, Paweł Huelle and James Joyce. Now it’s safe though unfortunate to say that neither Joyce nor Buzzati will actually be in attendance, but I don’t know about the others. Adding to the confusion is the fact that Péter Esterházy is also on the list for Prague. It’s possible only his work is being read, or that he’s attending one and not the other. Obviously the best alternative and use of the EU budget would be having him read in Bucharest and then whisking him into a helicopter and flown Prague but the way cultural budgets are being cut these days this might be viewed as wasteful and extravagant.
Prague’s Literature Night is typically focused in varied locations in a single neighborhood and this year it’s in an area of Prague 7 that has its own unique atmosphere and some lesser-known churches, cafes and buildings.
Photos – 1) Divus Prager Kabarett © Divus Prager Kabarett, 2) National Museum Lapidarium © Národní muzeum Lapidárium