Dec 5, 2014 - Dec 6, 2014
Crossing Borders: Europe Through the Lens of Time
Join outstanding writers from nine European countries for this 11th Anniversary of the New Literature from Europe Festival which will be held at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York.
Join us for a celebration of the most exciting voices in European Literature today, guided by some of America’s top writers and critics. Come on a European journey through the lens of time that takes us on a murder mystery in France, to Italy on the brink of collapse during the end of the Second World War, to a love story in Germany, and asylum in Austria. Artistic decisions turn to a matter of life and death in the Czech Republic and survival skills are pushed to the limit in Poland’s Warsaw Ghetto. Go back in time to life in a Hungarian village, and visit Bulgaria in the aftermath of the collapse of communism, before ending our journey in Romania, during the reign of a totalitarian regime.
This year the festival is also pleased to host the
prize-giving ceremony for the annual Polish Government Found in Translation
Award, for best translation of Polish literature into English in the previous
year. This year’s winner is Philip Boehm, for his translation of Chasing the King of Hearts
by Hanna Krall (Peirene Press, 2013).
RSVP at www.acfny.org
Friday, Dec 5
Multilingual Readings and keynote
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
8:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Saturday, Dec 6
Love in a Time of War
Susanne Scholl, Nicol Ljubić and Philip Boehm
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
True Grit – Beating the Odds
Julia Deck, János Háy, Davide Longo
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Magdaléna Platzová, Lucian Dan Teodorovici, Georgi Tenev
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Presentation of the Found in Translation Award to Philip
by Grzegorz Gauden, director of the Polish Book Institute
7:45 pm – 9:00 pm
Emma’s Silence (Emma schweigt)
tr. Isabel Adey
Emma’s Silence tells the story of an encounter between an elderly, small-minded Viennese woman and a woman who has fled to Austria from the violence in Chechnya with her son. For Sarema, everyday life distracts her from the reasons she left Grozny. But her future is thrown into doubt when deportation looms.
Susanne Scholl was born in 1949 in Vienna and studied Slavic Studies in Rome and Moscow. For many years she was a correspondent for ORF in Moscow. She has published numerous books and has received awards for her journalistic work and her social engagement, including the Concordia Prize and the Austrian Ehrenkreuz for Science and Art.
Party Headquarters (Партиен дом)
tr. Angela Rodel
Open Letter Books, forthcoming 2015
Party Headquarters takes place in the aftermath of the collapse of Communism in Bulgaria. K-shev, an old party chief, is dying of cancer in Hamburg. He asks his son-in-law, the book’s nameless protagonist, to deliver a suitcase filled with 1.5 million euros in ill-gotten gains. The mission throws him into a fit of depression and debauchery as he reflects on his life as a child of the Chernobyl generation. The book is written in a prose style that draws on the language and imagery of the Communist period, including slogans, songs, poems and other popular culture references and is an incisive critique of the “gangster era” that followed the end of Communism in Bulgaria.
Georgi Tenev is a novelist, short story writer and playwright. Party Headquarters (2006) brought him his first serious recognition, winning the VIC Bulgarian Novel of the Year Award. His award-winning plays have been produced by leading Bulgarian directors and he has also won prizes for his screenwriting.
Aaron’s Leap (Aaronův skok)
tr. Craig Cravens
Bellevue Literary Publishing, 2014
multigenerational saga inspired by Bauhaus artists and the impact of the
Holocaust’s lingering legacy on their children and protégés.
“A moving, humane tale of life lived in history’s long shadow.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Told in clear and beautiful prose, Aaron’s Leap is a deeply moving portrait of love, sacrifice, and the transformative power of art in a time of brutal uncertainty.”—SIMON VAN BOOY, author of The Illusion of Separateness
young author’s book immediately caught my interest for its narrative mastery
and remarkably skillful identification with the complex atmosphere of the
interbellum era . . . [A] brilliant novel.”
—IVAN KLÍMA, Franz Kafka
Prize-winning author of Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light and My
Based on the real-life story of Bauhaus artist Friedl
Dicker-Brandeis, Aaron’s Leap is
framed by the lens of a twenty first-century Israeli film crew delving into the
extraordinary life of a woman who taught art to children in the Nazi transport
camp of Terezín and died in Auschwitz. Aided by the granddaughter of one of the
artist’s pupils, the filmmakers begin to uncover buried secrets from a time
when personal and artistic decisions became matters of life-and-death.
Spanning a century of Central European history, the novel evokes the founding impulses, theories, and personalities of the European Modernist movement (with characters modeled after Oskar Kokoschka, Alma Mahler and Franz Werfel) and shows what it takes to grapple with a troubled history, “leap” into the unknown, and dare to be oneself.
“Platzová’s prose is as sharp and effective as the angles of an expressionist monument. . . . [A] powerfully elegiac novel.” —Publishers Weekly
“A Czech novel about art, death and sex set against the backdrop of the Holocaust and never-ending war . . . The reader comes to connect with and care for [Platzová’s] characters as more than mouthpieces for history.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A powerful book that shows the continuous ebb and flow of human life and of self-discovery.” —Akashic Insider
Leap] must count among the best written [books] by contemporary Czech authors .
. . impressive not only for its story, but also for the scope of its
reflections.” —Frankfurter Allgemeine
“Aaron’s Leap takes you on an epic journey, which is also a very intimate and personal story—entertaining, touching and brutally honest. Her characters are full of compassion and tenderness, but are never sentimental. It’s a great book.” —AGNIESZKA HOLLAND, Academy Award-nominated writer and director of Europa Europa and HBO guest director of Treme and The Wire
“Beautifully written, absorbing, and impeccably researched.” —ZUZANA JUSTMAN, Emmy Award-winning writer and director of Voices of the Children
About the Author and Translator
Magdaléna Platzová is the author of a children’s book, two collections of short stories, and three novels, including Aaron’s Leap, her first book to be published in English.
Platzová grew up in Prague, studied in Washington, DC and England, and received her MA in Philosophy at Charles University in Prague. In her twenties, she was an actress in a Franco-Czech theater group and is now a freelance journalist who has worked as an editor and cultural journalist for the Prague-based weekly news magazines Literarni Noviny and Respekt. From 2009 to 2012, she lived in New York, where she taught a course on Franz Kafka at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Mother of three young children, she now lives in Lyon, France, where her husband works at the WHO Research Institute for Cancer.
Translator Craig Cravens is the author of The Customs and Cultures of the Czech Republic and Slovakia and his translations include My Crazy Century by Ivan Klíma (Grove/Atlantic) and Aaron’s Leap by Magdaléna Platzová (Bellevue Literary Press). A graduate of Amherst College and Princeton University, he is the president of the North Atlantic Cimrman Association and a Senior Lecturer in the Slavic department at Indiana University in Bloomington.
- Listen to the Two Voices podcast to hear Luc Sante introduce Magdaléna Platzová, reading a story with her translator Alex Zucker, for the Bridge Series at McNally Jackson in New York (beginning at the 43:55 minute mark): http://bit.ly/ykP9C6
- Read an excerpt from Aaron’s Leap in A Public Space magazine:http://apublicspace.org/magazine/issue_18
Viviane (Viviane Élisabeth Fauville)
tr. Linda Coverdale
The New Press, 2014
How can we say that we are who we say we are? What determines our actions, and are we really responsible for them? For Viviane Élisabeth Fauville, these are not abstract questions to be left for philosophers; they will decide whether she will get away with murder. Both an engrossing murder mystery and a gripping exploration of madness, Viviane takes us to the knife’s edge of sanity. This gem of a novel does what only great literature can do: turn us inside out.
Julia Deck became an overnight literary sensation when Viviane was published in France in 2012. Viviane is the first debut novel to come out of the major French publishing house Editions Minuit in “a generation.” Critics have praised the murder mystery for its gripping plot and compelling psychological analysis.
Stillness of the Sea (Meeresstille)
tr. Anna Paterson
Vagabond Voices, 2011
Robert loves Ana, and Ana loves Robert. But something stands between them that Ana cannot discuss. Something happened back then, in the Yugoslav wars, when she was still a girl. An unresolved charge against her father that follows her, far away from her home, all the way to Berlin. Can the love between two young people overcome guilt and trauma in the wake of the Balkan War?
Born in Zagreb in 1947 the son of an aeronautics engineer, Nicol Ljubić was brought up in Sweden, Greece, Russia and Germany, and studied politics at university. He now lives in Berlin and works as a writer and freelance journalist.
The Kid (A gyerek)
tr. Eugene Brogyanyi
Set in Hungary during the last half century, The Kid follows the life of its hero, who, born into a peasant village, goes off to study in the capital. At first his life seems full of promise, but he returns to his native village a failure, and little by little disintegrates there. Háy uses the kid’s story to anchor a kaleidoscopic array of riffs on the lives of others who cross his path, taking us backwards and forwards in time in a droll and mordant portrait of the modern era and our place in it.
János Háy’s books have been published in 14 languages. He is an award-winning poet, playwright and novelist. The Kid gave him recognition as one of the key prose writers of the younger generation. The book will be presented in a fresh translation while efforts are ongoing to secure an English-language publisher.
Last Man Standing (L’Uomo verticale)
tr. Silvester Mazzarella
Italy is on the brink of collapse. Borders are closed, banks withhold money, the postal service stalls. Armed gangs of drug-fuelled youths roam the countryside. Leonardo was a famous writer and professor before a sex scandal ended his marriage and career. Heading north in search of her new husband, his ex-wife leaves their daughter and her son in his care. If he is to take them to safety, he will need to find a quality he has never possessed: courage.
Davide Longo was born in 1971 in the Province of Torino. In addition to novels he writes books for children, short stories and articles, and his texts have been used in musical and theatre productions.
Chasing the King of Hearts (Król kier znów na wylocie)
Represented by translator Philip Boehm
Peirene Press, 2013
The Warsaw Ghetto 1942: When Izolda’s husband, Shayek, is imprisoned, she sets out to release him. She changes her name, her hair, her religion. Eventually she is captured and deported to Auschwitz. But even there, she trusts that her love will save them both.
Hanna Krall was born in 1935 in Poland and survived the Second World War hiding in a cupboard. She began her writing career as a prize-winning journalist. Since the early ‘80s she has worked as a novelist. She has received numerous Polish and international awards and been translated into 17 languages.
Philip Boehm is the author of more than two dozen translations of novels and plays by German and Polish writers, including Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller, Christoph Hein and Bertolt Brecht. He also works as a playwright and theater director. He is this year’s winner of the Polish government’s Found in Translation Award for his translation of Chasing the King of Hearts.
Lucian Dan Teodorovici
Matei the Brown (Matei Brunul)
tr. Alistair Ian Blyth
In 1959, Bruno Matei is suffering from partial amnesia following an accident and does not remember why a secret policeman is following him. The agent tells Matei an obviously invented past, designed to make him obedient in the present. But in a parallel narrative, we learn the truth: Matei was an inmate in four Communist prisons – a innocent man crushed by a totalitarian regime.
Lucian Dan Teodorovici is the former editor-in-chief of
the Polirom Publishing House and senior editor of the Suplimentul de Cultura
weekly. His novel Our
Circus Presents… was published by Dalkey Archive Press in 2009 (tr.
by Alistair Ian Blyth).
Spearkers and Moderators:
Barbara Epler joined New Directions as an editorial assistant after graduating from college in 1984. She became Editor in Chief in 1995 and in 2008 she was named Publisher and in 2011 the President. New Directions was founded by James Laughlin in 1936 and began by publishing anthologies of poetry and prose that featured authors such as Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and others. Today New Directions publishes about thirty books annually of poetry, fiction, and literature in translation, and is one of the most revered independent presses around.
Lorraine Adams is a novelist, critic and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. Her first novel, Harbor, was published by Alfred A. Knopf and was critically acclaimed in publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Esquire, The Guardian, The Times of London among others. Adams has been a regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review since 2005 specializing in reviewing foreign fiction, often from the Muslim world. She has also written for The New Republic, Bookforum and Slate.
Ian Buruma writes about a broad range of political and cultural subjects for major publications, most frequently for The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and NRC Handelsblad and was voted one of the Top 100 Public Intellectuals by the Foreign Policy/Prospect magazines in 2008, and in 2010. His latest book, Year Zero: A History of 1945, was published by Penguin (USA) and is a New York Times Notable Book of 2013 in the Los Angeles Times, the Economist, Amazon, and the Daily Beast.
Siri Hustvedt is an American novelist and essayist and the author of a book of poetry, five novels, two books of essays, and several works of non-fiction. Her books include: The Blindfold (1992), The Enchantment of Lily Dahl (1996), What I Loved (2003), for which she is best known, A Plea for Eros (2006), The Sorrows of an American (2008), The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves (2010), The Summer Without Men (2011), Living, Thinking, Looking (2012), and The Blazing World (2014). What I Loved and The Summer Without Men were international bestsellers. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.
This November Words without Borders presents an exciting new issue of writing from the Czech Republic guest edited by award-winning translator Alex Zucker.
The issue explores the less-known side of Czech literature, featuring work from the brightest stars in the Czech literary firmament, including Magdaléna Platzová, Tomáš Zmeškal, Petra Soukupová, Jan Balabán, Radka Denemarková, Petra Hůlová, Jakuba Katalpa, Jiří Kratochvil, Martin Ryšavý, and Marek Šindelka.
Read the issue at www.wordswithoutborders.org
Austrian Cultural Forum New York, 11 E 52nd St, NYC
From: Dec 5, 2014
To: Dec 6, 2014
Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event