Cultural Events Summary 22 April 2018

Let’s face it, there was no attendance at cultural events in my life this past week, merely one out-of-control commute home, and frantic catching-up with work on both literary and day-job fronts. The warmer days caught us by surprise, as I still hadn’t packed away all the ski attire, but we are gradually discarding our duvets and jumpers and daring to bare our white arms and legs.

However, there is one event that I can boast about! The Spring 2018 Issue of Asymptote is now available online and it has a stellar collection of big names (Swiss writer Robert Walser, who celebrated 140 years since his birth on 15th April; Dubravka Ugrešić with her straight-talking, clever brand of non-fiction; an interview with Mario Vargas Llosa) and emerging writers who will become big names (Iya Kiva from the Ukraine, Lee Young-ju from South Korea, Lea Schneider from Germany and Shu Matsui from Japan). As always, there is a fantastic mix of languages, from the usual suspects of French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Norwegian, to a special feature on Korean fiction, and less widely translated languages, such as Burmese, Ukrainian, Hungarian and Persian.

The whole issue is worth exploring, but I have to admit I have some personal favourites. The essay by Fabrizio Coscia ‘All I ask is to finish my work‘ about poets struggling against violence and tyranny is outstanding (translated by Emma Mandley). The poetic piece of prose by Brazilian writer Jacques Fux about memory is unforgettable (translated by Hillary Auker). Lybian poet Ashur Etwebi’s poems are heartbreaking and I am forever grateful for discovering the poetry of Blanca Varela, considered one of the greatest Peruvian or even Latin American poets, but hitherto unknown to me.

I have also been blessed with the arrival of three more books I really, really look forward to reading: Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights (which is my favourite to win the Man Booker International Prize), the Vanguard #2 Poetry Anthology, which contains poems by a few poets I know either online or off – Polly Atkin, Clarissa Aykroyd, Roy Marshall, Kim Moore, Isabel Rogers, Tara Skurtu, Rebecca Perry; and a proof copy of The Retreat by Mark Edwards – because I have always thought that a writers’ retreat would make a perfect setting for a crime novel. While I am getting a little bored of covers featuring the brightly coloured backs of women in a dark setting – they are omnipresent in psychological thrillers at the moment – I hope the contents make up for that cliché.

[Incidentally, I was planning to go to a Vanguard Readings in Peckham this past week to celebrate Richard Skinner’s new poetry collection, but after some horrible commuting problems, I had to go home and actually see my children.]

I also made the mistake of taking a stroll on Netgalley yesterday. I’ve tried to avoid it lately, as I feel so guilty about my low review rate, but I found a few temptations that would have destroyed even St. Anthony: Lucy Mangan’s Bookworm, Derek B. Miller American by Day, a new Belinda Bauer Snap and a bit of an unusual choice Robert Edric’s Mercury Falling, which from the description sounds like it might do for the Fenlands what David Peace’s Red Riding quartet did for Yorkshire.

In terms of writing on the blog, I’ve managed three posts in addition to my habitual Friday Fun pictorial content: a poem about a perfume, or maybe a man, on Monday; a quick look at what books are currently on my bedside table on Wednesday and a post about some recent remarks which opened old wounds and reminded me to check my own privilege on Thursday.

What’s coming up next week? I have to finally write 4 reviews that I keep putting off – and that’s not counting any reviews I want to write for this blog. Plus another very busy week at work means no more cultural events for me. Just a meeting at the weekend with the wonderful poet, memoir writer and friend Carmen Bugan! I can’t wait!

 

10 thoughts on “Cultural Events Summary 22 April 2018”

  1. Ah, a Netgalley walk is fraught with danger, isn’t it, Marina Sofia? I am delighted to hear the new issue of Asymptote is out – well done to all. And it certainly sounds as though you’ve been awfully busy!

  2. Bauer has another one out? That was quick work – the last one was only last year I thought. Netgalley is far too tempting – I have had to steel myself not to even look at the site because I have far too many unread books from there already

    1. Yes, I have a big pile of physical books on my nighttable, so I keep stumbling over them, but if they are ‘hidden’ on my Kindle (even if that is prominently placed on my night table), out of sight is out of mind.

  3. Oh, definitely read American by Day, a really good book on so many levels. Just what I needed to read at the moment. And I wish there was a series based on Sigrid’s character and the New York sheriff.
    I don’t know of Flights.
    i am trying to read some of the long list for the Women’s Fiction Prize, but have only read two. Long wait at the library or some aren’t even carried. So, I’ll wait until Monday for the short list and then decide what to do. Any ideas on who will win that prize?

  4. Agree about the cliched covers – I guess they must work but they’re more likely to put me off (eg I loved Chris Brookmyre’s Black Widow, which wasn’t at all what I expected from the cover). Robert Edric sounds interesting – might have to head over to Netgalley myself…

    1. Ha, the answer is bad housekeeping and neglecting my health! But seriously, it might be worth writing a post about this. After all, my blog is called ‘findingtimetowrite’ and I struggle to find it.

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