European Literature Night 2023
November 2, 2023 6-10 PM
The Ukrainian Institute of America | 2 East 79th Street, New York
A journey across cultures, languages, and stories: Europe’s leading literary voices converge at the Ukrainian Institute of America for a celebration of international literature
European Literature Night returns to New York on November 2nd with a celebration of stories, authors, and cultures from across the continent. Annually, the event is a brilliant and lively showcase of a diverse and wide range of contemporary writers across many genres, from fiction and poetry, to memoir and histories. Presented by members of EUNIC New York cluster in collaboration with PEN America, the evening will feature multilingual readings, a musical performance, panel discussions and Q&As, introducing the audience to the best of contemporary European literature.
Authors, translators, and performers representing 11 European countries will gather at the Ukrainian Institute of America for an evening of cultural exchanges and conversations exploring the way history has shaped the current crises facing Europe and the power of literature to unearth the truths about how we live and understand the role of writers in times of war and political upheavals. The program will feature two panel discussions:
CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE AND GLOBAL CRISES
Moderated by Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf, Chief Program Officer, Literary Programming at PEN America
The contemporary writer is a writer in a time of upheaval. Today, European writers write at a moment where instability looms and they are confronted with the human impact of global migration, the danger of the climate crisis, the long tail of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the devastating war in Ukraine. Readers turn to writers for a better understanding of the pivotal political and cultural moments that shape how European citizens live, dream of the future, and wrestle with their national identity and competing interests within the larger political and economic union. In this conversation, writers will discuss how they choose to speak to the current political moment in their work and reflect on how it may have affected their creative processes and approach to their craft. The panel will feature Kätlin Kaldmaa (Estonia), Anja Kampmann (Germany), Andrey Kurkov (Ukraine) Sanaé Lemoine (France), and Kat Mustatea (Romania).
THE PAST IS PRESENT
Moderated by Sabir Sultan, Associate Director, World Voices Festival and Literary Programs at PEN America
While the historian’s work of excavating the past offers invaluable revelations about the current political landscape of Europe, writers employ literary imagination to create insights into who we are, what happened, and what comes next. They dare to ask how we might build more prosperous and democratic futures. How are we shaped by the stories of the Holocaust? What is the role of traditional myths and folklore? What are the untold stories or subversive narratives created to critique autocratic regimes and societies? In this conversation the speakers will reflect on how they sometimes mine the national archives, historical narratives, and collective memory in their practice as writers and storytellers. The panel will feature Anna Frajlich-Zajac (Poland), Lore Segal (Austria), Laima Vincė Sruoginis (Lithuania), Kateřina Tučková (Czechia), and Kirmen Uribe (Spain – Basque Country).
“Our program brings together authors that write in at least ten languages,” says Jaanika Peerna, president of the EUNIC New York cluster. “Yet their voices traverse linguistic barriers and national boundaries. Literature enables us to understand the collective human experience, finding unity in our shared stories, on the page and in person.”
“PEN America is honored to partner with EUNIC-New York to present European Literature Night,” says Sabir Sultan, “In an era of great political and cultural divide, this gathering of writers from eleven countries is a powerful reminder that storytelling brings people together across language, racial, and geographical barriers, while elevating a common humanity and uniting us through the power of literature and free expression.”
The program will also include a special performance celebrating the 100th birth anniversary of Portuguese poets Natália Correia, Eugénio de Andrade, and Mário Cesariny, with readings of their poetry, accompanied by the Portuguese guitar played by Pedro Henriques da Silva.
Free and open to the public. Space is limited. Registration via Eventbrite is required.
More information available here.
The evening is organized by the Czech Center New York, EUNIC New York and Ukrainian Institute of America with the collaboration of partnering cultural institutions and consulates: Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Camōes Institute, Consulate General of Estonia in New York, Etxepare Basque Institute, The Embassy of France in the U.S., Goethe Institut New York, Lithuanian Cultural Institute, Polish Cultural Institute in New York, Romanian Cultural Institute, Consulate General of Portugal in New York, Ukrainian Institute of America, Villa Albertine, and PEN America, and the support of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations.
Select books will be available for sale and author signing. For those who can’t make it in person, an edited presentation of the evening will be available on Trafika Europe Radio.
About EUNIC New York
EUNIC – European Union National Institutes for Culture – is the European network of organizations working in 90 countries worldwide through a network of 125 clusters and acting as a platform for promoting European values, sharing knowledge, building capacity amongst its members and partners, and engaging local partners in dialogue and common cultural projects. Created in 2007, the New York cluster of EUNIC, bringing together around 40 cultural missions from the European Union, is working in partnership to strengthen the transatlantic dialogue and cultural cooperation and showcase European values and creativity.