Programme

Sunday, 8 April

Baltic Poetry Evening – Eeva Park, Veronika Kivisilla & Adam Cullen from Estonia

Baltic poetry and beer-tasting evening to celebrate the launch of Parthian Baltic

An evening of poetry and beer-tasting to celebrate the launch of Parthian Baltic, a series showcasing the best writing from Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. Featuring readings from Eeva Park & Veronika Kivisilla (Estonia), Aušra Kaziliūnaitė, Marius Burokas & Giedrė Kazlauskaitė (Lithuania), Madara Gruntmane, Eduards Aivars & Krišjānis Zeļģis (Latvia) and translations and discussion from Jayde Will, Rimas Uzgiris & Adam Cullen.

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Monday, 9 April

Mihkel Mutt, Nora Ikstena and Kristina Sabaliauskaitė

Being Baltic: At the Crossroads of Influence

Explore the literary influences of European, Russian and Nordic cultures on contemporary Baltic authors. Three leading Baltic writers – Mihkel Mutt, Nora Ikstena, and Kristina Sabaliauskaitė – join us to discuss the literary influences of European, Russian and Nordic cultures on their work.

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Tuesday, 10 April

Maarja Kangro, Kārlis Vērdiņš and Tomas Venclova. Chaired by Ellen Hinsey

A dialogue between poets: Baltic and UK poets explore memory and history

Maarja Kangro (Estonia) has published five collections of poetry, revolving around themes of ephemerality, desire, and redemption. Kārlis Vērdiņš (Latvia) is the author of six collections of poetry for adults and children, containing work that is gentle, vivid and intimate as it explores ideas of coming to terms with one’s self. Tomas Venclova (Lithuania) is Professor Emeritus of Slavonic Literature at Yale University, and his poems have been translated into many languages. They will discuss the political and aesthetic dimension of memory and history, chaired by Ellen Hinsey.

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Andrei Ivanov in conversation with Tim Marshall

Estonian-born, Russian-speaking Andrei Ivanov is the author of seven novels and winner of several high-profile awards, shortlisted for the Russian Booker Prize twice.

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Rein Raud and Kristina Sabaliauskaitė

Writing History as Fiction: The Baltics and Beyond

Why are writers drawn to the past, and why do readers follow them there? What do historical novels tell us about the past, or the present? Which universal themes occur in any time period? Kristina Sabaliauskaitė, whose Silva Rerum saga – set in the years 1659-1795 across England, France, the Netherlands and Germany – is considered Lithuania’s most important literary event of the past decade, and Rein Raud, whose recently-translated novel The Death of the Perfect Sentence takes place in Soviet-occupied Estonia, discuss these questions.

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Maarja Kangro, Kārlis Vērdiņš, Romas Kinka and Christopher Moseley. Chaired by Daniel Hahn

Revealed or Lost in Translation: Literature from the Baltics

How much can be ‘lost’ or ‘revealed’ by translation? How does a translated work co-exist with the original? And how can we translate different genres such as poetry, folk songs, and dialects? Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian are very different languages, and their idiosyncrasies make them undeniably challenging to translate. In this session Latvian writer Kārlis Vērdiņš and Estonian writer Maarja Kangro discuss their experiences of translating and being translated. With Romas Kinka and Christopher Moseley, chaired by Daniel Hahn.

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Piret Raud and Roger Thorp

Picture Books Like no Other. The Unique Vision of Piret Raud

This seminar is dedicated to Estonia’s most successful contemporary children’s writer and illustrator – Piret Raud. Piret Raud’s stories are characterized by unexpected plots and eccentric or downright bizarre characters. The author makes a conscious effort to avoid clichés and create something special, to wow young readers and broaden their horizons. In her books, an egg does yoga, a princess takes up an adventure with a skeleton hiding in the cupboard, and Mother has a cloud of tears in place of her head.

The Thames & Hudson publisher, Roger Thorp, and the Estonian author will focus primarily on picture books: what does an interesting picture book consist of? How has Raud’s work evolved in response to this? Is the author influenced by particular books, authors or illustrators? Are there trends that she consciously resists? Are there any distinctly Estonian characteristics in her work and how might these play out within the Estonian, Baltic States and wider Scandinavian and European traditions of book illustration? The discussion will also give a glimpse into Raud’s soon to be published picture book The Ear by Thames & Hudson.

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Rein Raud and David Szalay

Re-writing Europe: Rein Raud in conversation with David Szalay

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, among other things, with 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 how literature is shaping and reflecting the changes in Europe, and whether fiction can build bridges across the divides that history has created.

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Wednesday, 11 April

Mihkel Mutt, Tomas Venclova, Kristina Sabaliauskaitė and Sathnam Sanghera. Chaired by Peter Pomerantsev

Sinking Europe? European Narratives in Times of Change

Is Europe sinking, rising, or just changing? We discuss this with Mihkel Mutt, author of several highly-praised books on Estonia’s transition from a Soviet republic to part of the free world; Lithuanian Kristina Sabaliauskaitė, whose historical novels look at the changing state of Europe across the 17th and 18th centuries; Tomas Venclova, whose poetry has explored the issues of life under totalitarian rule; and writer Sathnam Sanghera whose work as a journalist and a writer engages with a changing Europe.

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Maarja Kangro and Avianti Armand. Chaired by Peggy Hughes

Poetry panel: Women whose names were erased

Throughout millennia, the names of women and the significant roles that have played, have often been expunged from the historical and mythological records—either that or their lives and deeds have been twisted to accord with a patriarchy-centrist point of view.  Indonesian poet Avianti Arman examines this phenomenon in her prize-winning collection of poetry, “Women Whose Names Were Erased.” In one poem she points out that before there was Eve there was another woman, who was created from dust at the same time as Adam and NOT later, from Adam’s rib, yet two now remains nameless. Estonia’s Maarja Kangro’s work gives voice to the forgotten and the lost; her poems are feats of empathy and imagination. In a joint-reading and discussion moderated by Peggy Hughes of the Writers’ Center Norwich, Avianti Armand explores this theme with her soulmate from half way around the world.

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LBF Author of the Day: Mihkel Mutt

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Rein Raud, Andrei Ivanov, Sergejs Timofejevs and Menna Elfyn. Chaired by Sasha Dugdale

Interpreting Cultures through Language: Russia, Europe and the West

Estonian-born Andrei Ivanov grew up in a Russian proletarian family, and his novels, though set in Estonia, are written in Russian and focus on Russian characters. He has won several high-profile awards and been shortlisted for the Russian Booker Prize twice. Estonian writer Rein Raud combines prolific literary activities with a successful academic career as a cultural theorist and philosopher. Sergejs Timofejevs is a member of the Latvian Russian poetry collective Orbita. Orbita not only creates multimedia poetic work but actively seeks to create dialogues between Russian and Latvian speaking authors. Menna Elfyn’s poetry has been published in bilingual English and Welsh editions. In conversation with Sasha Dugdale, join us for a discussion on the opportunities and limitations of writing in-and-out of different languages.

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Thursday, 12 April

Krista Kaer and Christopher MacLehose

Publishing Literature in Translation

Why have Estonian publishers in recent decades translated and published such a large selection of literature from the United Kingdom? What sort of an impact has translated literature had on Estonian culture? The founder of MacLehose Press, the publisher Christopher MacLehose talks to Krista Kaer, the editor-in-chief of Estonia’s largest publishing house Varrak and the powerhouse behind the HeadRead literature festival. Krista Kaer has translated from English into Estonian nearly 100 works of fiction, and has brought dozens of celebrated British and Irish authors to speak at the festival.

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Friday, 13 April

Maarja Kangro and Inga Ābele. Chaired by Donna Moore

Story Café: Stories from the Baltic States

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.

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EstLitFest at Print Room at the Coronet

A weekend celebration of Estonian writing, EstLitFest brings together some of Estonia’s finest writers and familiar faces from the UK for a festival filled with words, food, drink, and live music.

EstLitFest is an extension of the London Book Fair to celebrate the centenary of Estonian Republic.

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Saturday, 14 April

EstLitFest at Print Room at the Coronet

A weekend celebration of Estonian writing, EstLitFest brings together some of Estonia’s finest writers and familiar faces from the UK for a festival filled with words, food, drink, and live music.

EstLitFest is an extension of the London Book Fair to celebrate the centenary of Estonian Republic.

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