Baltic literature events in the UK | 8-15 April 2018

The three Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, are the Market Focus at London Book Fair in 2018 and we have prepared a feast of literary delights for you to get to know some Baltic writers

British Council Market Focus Cultural Programme – public events


Luize Pastore at Moon Lane Ink
Luize Pastore
Moon Lane Ink
Monday 9 April, 14:30 – 15:30

Latvian writer Luize Pastore joins us at Moon Lane Ink to introduce us to Jacob Bird and his grumpy cousin Mimi. Strange things are afoot in the run-down Maskatchaka district of Riga, where Jacob lives. Evil Skylar Scraper’s scheme to transform it into a concrete jungle is being fought tooth and paw by stray dogs, lead by their fierce commander Boss, his mate Bianca and their twin puppies. Luize will tell us all about her gang of talking dogs, the evil plots they foil and how Jacob’s fight against Skylar goes much further than he ever imagined.


Being Baltic: at the crossroads of influence
Kristina Sabaliauskaitė, Nora Ikstena, Mihkel Mutt
Chair: Rosie Goldsmith
British Library
Monday 9 April, 19.30 – 21.00

Explore the literary influences of European, Russian and Nordic cultures on contemporary Baltic authors Three leading Baltic writers - Mihkel Mutt (Estonia), Nora Ikstena (Latvia) and Kristina Sabaliauskaitė (Lithuania) - join us to discuss the literary influences of European, Russian and Nordic cultures on their work. Mikhel Mutt is an Estonian writer and versatile columnist, writing about domestic and world politics. Prose writer and essayist Nora Ikstena is considered one of the most influential prose writers in Latvia, known for her elaborate style and detailed approach to language. She is also an active participant in Latvia's cultural and political life. London-based Kristina Sabaliauskaitė is the most widely read Lithuanian author, and her Silva Rerum historical saga is considered to be the most important Lithuanian literary event of the last decade.


Re-writing Europe: Rein Raud in conversation with David Szalay
Rein Raud
UK writer: David Szalay
Daunt Books, Hampstead
Tuesday 10 April, 18.30 – 19.30  

Booker prize shortlisted novelist David Szalay joins us to talk to acclaimed Estonian writer Rein Raud. David Szalay’s 2016 book All That Man Is deals with European masculinity in crisis. In it, nine different men in scattered parts of Europe try to understand what it means to be alive. Rein Raud’s work engages with, among other things, Europe as a cultural and political ideal - and as a utopia. His most recent novel in English, The Death of the Perfect Sentence, speaks about “little people” caught in the wheels of history, during the fall of the Soviet power. They will discuss the ways that literature is shaping and reflecting the changes in Europe, and whether fiction can build bridges across the divides that history has created.


Children of history
Nora Ikstena, Alvydas Šlepikas
UK writer: Sara Taylor
Chair: Carolyn Jess-Cooke
Free Word Centre
Thursday 12 April, 19.00 – 20.15

How does a country’s history or identity affect its ideas of family and family life? The Baltic countries of Lithuania and Latvia have lived through some tumultuous 20th century history. Two writers from these countries, Nora Ikstena (Latvia) and Alvydas Slepikas (Lithuania) join Sara Taylor to unpick the thorny connections between national history and the intimate relationship of the family. Chaired by Carolyn Jess-Cooke.

In partnership with English PEN.


World Poets Series: Poets from the Baltics
Tomas Venclova, Kārlis Vērdiņš, Maarja Kangro
UK writer: Clare Pollard
The National Poetry Library, Southbank Centre
Thursday 12 April, 20.00 – 21.30

Join us for this one-off event with visiting Baltic poets. The evening will showcase three of the most celebrated poets from the Baltic states, Maarja Kangro (Estonia), Kārlis Vērdiņš (Latvia) and Tomas Venclova (Lithuania). The poets will read from their work and then discuss the poetry scene in their respective countries with a Q&A that will open up to the audience. The event will be hosted by Clare Pollard, UK poet and editor of Modern Poetry in Translation. In recent years the National Poetry Library has hosted readings from poets from South Korea, Mexico, Syria and Poland. This year the focus is on Baltic poetry in this special event in partnership with the British Council and Modern Poetry in Translation, celebrating the Baltic focus of this year’s London Book Fair.


Writing from the edge of Europe: what’s the future for Baltic literature?
Andrei Ivanov
UK writer: Erica Lastovskyte
Chair: Nadia Beard
Calvert 22
Thursday 12 April, 19:00 – 20:00

Miscast variously as Nordic neighbours, former Soviet states and "the East", the Baltic countries continue to fight against a case of mistaken identity on the world's stage. So how do Baltic authors engage with their real heritage – individually and nationally – and how do they move beyond it to create something new? Estonian author Andrei Ivanov's recent historical novel The Harbin Moths explores his country's interwar years through the lives of the local Russian intelligentsia. He joins translator and publicist Erica Lastovskyte in an event chaired by Nadia Beard to discuss the past, present and future of the Baltic literary identity.


Literary worlds with Undinė Radzevičiūtė
Undinė Radzevičiūtė
Chair: Erica Wagner
Europe House
Friday 13 April, 18:30 – 20:30

Join us at Europe House for an evening with Lithuanian writer Undinė Radzevičiūtė. Undinė Radzevičiūtė is an internationally acclaimed writer, the author of five novels and a collection of short stories and winner of the European Union Prize for Literature. The novel that won this prize, Fishes and Dragons, is a story about civilisations, of Chinese traditions and Western religion. Undinė Radzevičiūtė will discuss her work and her theory of literature. Followed by a wine reception.


Story Café: Baltic writers
Inga Abele, Maarja Kangro
Chair: Donna Moore
Glasgow Women’s Library
Friday 13 April, 14.00 – 15.30

It's not often we get to experience writers from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, so we're thrilled that, with support from the British Council, two writers from the Baltic States will be joining us to read from their work, talk about their own writing, and explore the position of women writers in their own countries. A not-to-be-missed Story Cafe Special.


Hit the Ode
Kārlis Vērdiņš
UK writer: Dylema Collective and Oakley Flanagan
Patrick Centre at Birmingham Hippodrome
Friday 13 April, 19.45 – 22.30

Apples and Snakes presents Hit the Ode, Birmingham’s premier poetry night. Every month, Hit the Ode brings the most exciting poets from the region, the country and the world to the heart of Birmingham. Join us at our new home, The Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome for poems from all across the world. We have poems and lots of them. Poems to ruffle feathers and caress your heart strings. Poems that will challenge your nan to a hip-hop cypher. Poems that taste like hot cocoa. Good poems. Great poems. Come and get them. 


Click here for more info on the Estonian Literature Festival | 13-14 April.

Click here for more Latvian events during London Book & Screen Week.

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