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NLE - Day 4


Now in its 13th consecutive year, The New Literature from Europe Festival is an annual celebration of writing from across the European continent. Featuring readings and discussions between leading and emerging literary voices from Europe, and some of America’s foremost writers and critics, the Festival celebrates important new European literature in translation. Founded in 2003, the NLE Festival has quickly become one of New York City’s top literature in translation events, attracting award-winning, best-selling and new authors from many diverse European countries each year. The NLE Festival is jointly organized by the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) and New York-based European cultural institutes. Most Festival events are free and open to the public. Join us on December 7-10 for this year’s Festival and follow NLE on Twitter or like NLE on Facebook for updates.

DAY 4 | December 10, 2016

1.00pm – 2.30pm
Scandinavia House | 58 Park Ave, New York

Join us as we celebrate the launch of Matei Visniec’s, How to Explain the History of Communism to Mental Patients and Other Plays, edited by Josefina Komporaly. Dramatist, poet, novelist, and journalist Matei Visniec, born in Romania and living in France since seeking political asylum in 1987, has been one of the most trenchant voices of Europe, condemning the atrocities of totalitarianism as well as excesses of consumer culture. This first anthology of his dramatic work made available in English, collects seven of his most impressive and outspoken plays: How to Explain the History of Communism to Mental Patients, Decomposed Theater, or The Human Trashcan, The Body of a Woman as a Battlefield in the Bosnian War, and Richard III Will Not Take Place, or Scenes from the Life of Meyerhold. The resulting collection is a bold and unflinching critique of politics and society. Today’s special launch features a performance of excerpts of his work, by acclaimed actors X + X (TBC).

Co-Presented by Seagull Books.

2.00pm – 3.00pm
Nuyorican Poets Café | 236 East Third Street, New York
Tickets: $8/$12

Who has the right to tell a story to a reader and how does that storyteller – the narrator - convince their reader that they are a credible source whether they're writing a novel or a short story? How does a writer instil the trust that's needed to make a reader take a huge leap of faith to believe the fictional tale they are being told is as real as life itself? Is narrative authority simply a sleight of hand, a writer's trick, or does it go much deeper than that? Today we talk to Stefan Hertmans, about his novel, War and Turpentine, which is largely based upon writings discovered in his grandfather's diaries, that the author then re-imagined to make a stunning work of fiction and short story writer, Cristian Crusat Schretzmeijer, whose A Brief Theory of Travel and the Desert, won the European Union Prize for Literature about the very special art of gaining their readers' trust.

3.00pm – 4.00pm
Scandinavia House | 54 Park Ave, New York

We carry some characters from books around with us like they’re trusted friends. We feel as close to them as we would to flesh and blood human beings we’ve known, loved, or loathed. We have strong feelings about them, we trust or distrust them, they make us laugh and cry. They’re as living and breathing as the reader. What’s the secret to making characters come to life, inhabit life-like bodies and feel life-changing emotions? What’s the magic that goes into making the description of a person in words spring to three-dimensional life? Join our guests from Europe, Szczepan Twardoch, Asle Skredderberget, and Tommy Wieringa, as they describe how they breathe life into the unforgettable characters.

3.30pm – 5.00pm
Nuyorican Poets Café | 236 East Third Street, New York
Tickets: $8/$12

What does it mean for a writer to translate the work of authors they admire? Is there ever a temptation to insert their own literary voice, and how much liberty does the translator really have with another’s words? Similarly, how does interpretation compare, where a writer is on their toes and doesn’t have the luxury of referring to a dictionary in the same way a translator can? Featuring our guests from Europe, Elena Alexia who often translates her own work from Bulgarian to English and also acts as an interpreter, and Yoko Tawada whose native language is Japanese, but who also writes in German and published Nur da wo du bist da ist nichts—Anata no iru tokoro dake nani mo nai (A Void Only Where You Are), a collection of poems in a German and Japanese bilingual edition. They’ll be joined by Cristian Crusat Schretzmeijer, who has translated the work of French writer Marcel Schwob into Spanish, and teaches Spanish language and literature abroad. 

Moderated by acclaimed translator from the Italian to English, Michael F. Moore.

Co-presented with ALTA.

4.30pm – 5.30pm
Scandinavia House | 54 Park Ave, New York

Join these masters of the short story form – Colin Barrett, a bright new voice with his first book, Young Skins, and two others – Mihkel Mutt and Immanuel Mifsud – with numerous collections and awards to their names. Together they discuss the special challenges and rewards of the short story form. How do you keep a fresh voice in such a condensed framework? How does experience shape the art? Our guests join us from Ireland, Estonia, and Malta respectively and we ask each of them who are their greatest influences and who do they most admire – both living and dead.
Moderated by Deborah Treisman from The New Yorker (TBC).

6.00pm – 7.30pm
Scandinavia House | 54 Park Ave, New York

Celebrate the close of the 13th New Literature from Europe Festival with a reading to end all readings. Travel across the European Continent with our guests Colin Barrett, Cristian Crusat Schretzmeijer, Susana Moreira Marques, Immanuel Mifsud, Mihkel Mutt, Asle Skredderberget, Yoko Tawada, and Szczepan Twardoch. Each of tonight’s special guests will read a short piece in their own language and we’ll project the english translation of the text as they speak, so you’ll be transported across the European continent in language. 

With remarks by Sean Bye, President of NLE and X Publisher of Foreign Fiction.

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