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European Literature Night 2014 (PART 1)

It’s that time of the year again! It’s our 6th annual ‘European Literature Night’ (ELN) at the British Library in London.


On the occasion of ‘European Literature Night’, London, May 14th 2014

It’s that time of the year again! It’s our 6th annual ‘European Literature Night’ (ELN) at the British Library in London.
Our 1st ELN was held in May 2009. We featured 6 writers from across Europe who discussed their country, their life and their literature on stage. They had been selected by a panel of judges (I am the chair) and nominated by European cultural organizations and publishers based in the UK. The selection criteria were that our authors were alive (!), wrote great books, excellently translated into English and that they could ‘perform’ in front of an audience.  Our aim – then and now – was to promote European literature of all genres in the UK.  My aim, as the host of ELN and as a BBC journalist who’d begun my career on a programme covering Europe, and very aware of the stigma attached to ‘Europe’, was not to let that stigma stick to its writers.
That 1st ‘Night’ in 2009 was a personal and professional milestone. These writers were gifted, witty and talented and I wanted to help make them better known in the UK. I decided to use what I had (media experience, extensive contacts and a passion for foreign language and literature) to boost what they had.  That ‘Night’ we heard from the superlative Mircea Cartarescu from Romania and Pawel Huelle from Poland.
Since that 1st ‘Night’ we’ve had 100’s of submissions and featured Italy’s Paolo Giordano and Diego Marani, both of whom have gone on to top British best-seller lists; Belgium’s brilliant Peter Terrin and Erwin Mortier; the Czech Republic’s charismatic Tomas Sedlacek and Jachym Topol;  Austria’s Paulus Hochgatterer, the child psychiatrist-cum-crime novelist, to Laurent Binet, winner of France’s Prix Goncourt. This year again we’ve got 6 stunning ‘winners’, including Germany’s National Book Prize Winner Julia Franck. (See my follow-up Blog to read the full list of all ELN’s 2014 authors.)
ELN (our affectionate acronym) is today an unmissable event for anyone in the trade, but most of all for readers, discovering that this is not alien literature from a continent of straight bananas but fiction in the footsteps of Kafka, Proust or Milosz. We don’t claim for a moment that their fame in English is only thanks to ELN – they have dedicated publishers, translators and cultural groups behind them –  but I do believe that ELN has played a small role in spotting and promoting their talents. The original idea for this annual event came from the Czech Centres, the Czech equivalent of the British Council.  ELN takes place simultaneously in cities across the continent with the support of the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) and, in the UK, the European Commission Representation, the British Library, the Arts Council and various arts organizations. And we’ve branched out. Since our London launch, ELN writers have guested at literature festivals round the UK.

Rosie Goldsmith

Rosie Goldsmith is a British multi-media journalist with specialist knowledge of arts and international affairs. She has worked across the world on some of BBC Radio’s flagship programmes, speaks several languages and chairs and presents public events. She is member of the ELit Literaturehouse Europe's board.

Rosie Goldsmith ist eine britische Multi-Media Journalistin. Sie ist im Bereich der Kunst und Internationalen Angelegenheiten spezialisiert und hat auf der ganzen Welt an führenden Sendungen von BBC Radio gearbeitet. Außerdem spricht sie mehrere Sprachen, präsentiert und sitzt diversen öffentlichen Veranstaltungen vor und ist Vorstandsmitglied bei ELit Literaturhaus Europa.

Rosie Goldsmith is a British multi-media journalist with specialist knowledge of arts and international affairs. She has worked across the world on some of BBC Radio’s flagship programmes, speaks several languages and chairs and presents public events. She is member of the ELit Literaturehouse Europe's board.

Rosie Goldsmith ist eine britische Multi-Media Journalistin. Sie ist im Bereich der Kunst und Internationalen Angelegenheiten spezialisiert und hat auf der ganzen Welt an führenden Sendungen von BBC Radio gearbeitet. Außerdem spricht sie mehrere Sprachen, präsentiert und sitzt diversen öffentlichen Veranstaltungen vor und ist Vorstandsmitglied bei ELit Literaturhaus Europa.

All entries by Rosie Goldsmith
Saturday Sa 10 10 May May 05 5 14 2014 May May 05 5 Saturday Sa 10 10 14 2014 12 12 0 00 00 h PM