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Issue 81 – September 2011

Wednesday 28 September 2011 by Diyana Yosifova

European Literature Days 2011

Readme is an (JPG) online platform for literature whose goal is to become a pan-European multilingual readers’ community and a virtual library of contemporary authors. It also goes “offline” from time to time, organizing events such as the European Literature Days. This year, the third edition of the Days took place in the region of Wachau – mainly known for its quality wines.

Focused around the topic literature & the digital, this year the forum gathered around 60 writers, academics, publishers and other people from the book sector, mainly from the German-speaking world, with the objective of discussing what literary publishing might look like 20 years from now. The day-time discussions were enhanced by multilingual readings by authors from various backgrounds: Jurij Andruchowytsch, Gwendoline Riley, Peter Turrini, Silke Hassler, Sjón, and “Das Beckwerk”.

Yana Genova of Next Page took part in the panel on diversity, translations and digital opportunities, along with writer Barbie Markovitch (Serbia) and online bookseller and book reviewer Alexander Drakulic (Serbia); the discussion was moderated by the researcher Ruediger Wischenbart (Austria). Perhaps the most inspiring presentations came from Max Kaiser of the Austrian National Library on their cooperation with Google on digitalization, as well as from Miha Kovac, the publisher of Mladinska knjiga from Ljubljana.

The entire program of the European Literature Days is available here.

New Book Published

Drakulic, Slavenka, Café Europa, transl. from English into Arabic by Ahmed Schalaby, (Sphinx Agency, Cairo 2011), published within Next Page Foundation’s South-South Translations Project Framework.

In Café Europa, a collection of essays first published in (JPG) 1996, Slavenka Drakulic gives a raw, unpolished take on the realities of post-communist Eastern Europe. The author makes compelling associations and draws connections that provide the reader with authentic insight about how the people have in many ways stayed the same, yet how the changes in government impact daily life in the tiniest and most intimate ways. Thus, many of the essays deal with Eastern Europeans’ peculiar talent for forgetting the past too soon and too easily, thereby evading responsibility and missing the opportunity to learn from it. The publishers expect the essays to be of a great interest to Arab readers – slightly provocative, at places humorous, sometimes a warning sign. It should be borne in mind that the essays reveal Eastern Europe’s reality in the beginning of the 90’s. Yet, it still remains to be seen how this author, so emblematic of post-1989 Europe, will be received in the Arab world today.