Sunday, September 13, 2009

European Writers in New York City

Having returned from two months in Europe I am excited to be back. There are so many great readings and literary events in New York City. Thursday’s book launch party for “Girl Mary” (Simon & Schuster) by Romanian author Petru Popescu at the Rumanian Cultural Institute was well attended. I can’t wait to start reading. The book promises to tell the story of Mary of Nazareth’s girlhood, her love for Joseph, her relationship with God and the events that led to God’s intervention in her pregnancy.
Saturday afternoon I headed downtown to the Bowery Poetry Club. Swiss author Christoph Keller's read from his memoir “The Best Dancer”, translated into English by Alison Gallup. Keller’s is a unique story. At age 14, he was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, a neuromuscular disorder. Ignoring his doctors’ advice to take it easy, he began living life to the fullest.
Fond of Russian literature, I will definitely be at the Housing Works Bookstore Café on 9/21 when Tin House Books launches Rasskazy’s “New Fiction from a New Russia.” Publishers Weekly said: “The current state of Russian identity — artistic, political, social and beyond — is vigorously examined in this anthology, offering readers a multifaceted portrait of the complex nation, from short, poetic pieces like Oleg Zobern's 'Bregovich's Sixth Journey,' to nearly journalistic narratives like Arkady Babchenko's powerful and harrowing remembrance of the Chechen war ('The Diesel Stop'). “
Maybe even better, I will treat myself to the bilingual reading of new Russian literature at The Russian Samovar on 9/22. Having a shot of ice-cold vodka and some delicious blini will make the listening so much more enjoyable.

Another promising event is the launch of “The Salt Smugglers” by Gérard de Nerval's on 9/24 at the Idlewild Bookstore. Alberte Manguel said : “Every intelligent English-speaking reader must be grateful to Richard Sireburth and Archipelago Books for rescuing from oblivion this gem of factual fiction, revealing a Nerval poised somewhere between the subversive Diderot and the vitriolic Voltaire.”
My calendar is filling up fast. It’s a great time to be in New York, a great time to catch up with European writers.

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