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Kaite Welsh writes high-quality arts and lifestyle journalism and award-nominated fiction, including the Sarah Gilchrist mysteries (Headline). Her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Independent and the New Statesman, and she covers LGBT issues for the Telegraph’s Women’s section. She is the Books Editor of DIVA magazine, the UK’s biggest lifestyle magazine for LGBT women
When Kaite can be coaxed away from the laptop (usually with the promise of cats or cheese) she appears on TV and radio, including Daily Politics, Woman’s Hour and LBC, usually talking about feminism and LGBT issues but sometimes talking about books…that focus on feminism and LGBT issues.
An irresistible mystery set in 1890s Edinburgh, Kaite Welsh’s THE WAGES OF SIN features a female medical student-turned-detective, and will thrill fans of Sarah Waters and Antonia Hodgson. It’s the first in the Sarah Gilchrist series, to be followed by THE UNQUIET HEART and THE FATE OF EMPIRES.
Claire Polders is a Dutch author of five novels. Her latest, A Whale in Paris, (Atheneum, Simon&Schuster, 2018) is a historical novel for younger readers set in Paris during the Second World War. Her short fiction and nonfiction was published in a variety of literary magazines, such as TriQuarterly, Tin House, Electric Literature, Denver Quarterly, and Fiction International. She currently roams the world and writes whenever and wherever she can.
On the occasion of the Romanian presidency of the EU council, we invited two Romanian authors to join our incoherent Brussels bunch. We asked Claudiu M. Florian, who won the European Prize for Literature in 2016, to bring along an emerging author. And boy did he ever take that choice seriously. Claudiu M. Florian and Irina Dobrescu, folks. Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Tons of thank yous for being there!
Guillermo Erades was born in Malaga, Spain and has lived in Leeds, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Moscow, Berlin and Brussels thanks to a successful career in international relations. In what might seem an unusual move, he took a two-year diplomatic posting in a high-security compound in Baghdad to find the time to focus on his writing. The result was his debut novel Back to Moscow (2017), a novel that draws on his experiences in Russia’s capital city.
Tadzio Koelb lives in Brooklyn. He is a graduate of the University of East Anglia, England’s oldest and most prestigious writing program. His novel Trenton Makes (2018), was short-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the Prix du roman PAGE des libraires/America, and long-listed for the Grand Prix de littérature américaine.
In addition to writing fiction he is an active reviewer and essayist for a variety of publications that include The New York Times and The Times Literary Supplement. Other publications include Morasses (a translation of André Gide’s novel Paludes), and a short critical biography of Lawrence Durrell for Jay Parini’s British Writers Retrospective.
Because there is no such thing as coincidence, this Snug Harbor was on World Poetry Day. New-Yorker-published Taymour Soomro opened with a brand new short story. Mimi Kunz brought some flash fiction and ended her reading with a series of poems, which eased us right into to the beautiful conclusion of this evening. For World Poetry Day we had asked both authors to bring a poem they love (read them underneath the pictures below). We had asked our Snug audience the same thing. One by one people climbed onstage, some bringing their own work, some bringing work by others. Poems were read in English, French, Arabic. Bliss. Gratitude. The kind of moment that makes it all worthwhile.
Our Authors’ Picks for World Poetry Day
Taymour Soomro’s Pick
TRY TO PRAISE THE MUTILATED WORLD by Adam Zagajewski
(Translation Clare Cavanagh)
Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June’s long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You’ve seen the refugees going nowhere,
you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
Mimi Kunz’s Pick
IF by Norman MacCaig
If your hand came, dead in the dead of night,
And touched my forehead, waking me to see
You standing dead there in the dead of night,
I who fear ghosts would have no fear at all.
I’d greet you with the tenderest hello
And you would smile, though sad. And then you’d go.
There would be nothing deathly in your death
For your love always was the laughing sort
That quickened life and would not die with death.
And when you’d gone, I would not want to weep —
That loving gaiety would still be there
Filling with its own peace the quickened air.
Claudiu M. Florian was born in 1969 in Rupea, Braşov County, Romania. He is an author and a translator. In 2016 he won the European Union Prize for Literature for his novel Vârstele jocului: Strada Cetăţii (The Ages of the Game: Citadel Street).
Florian received a degree in German Studies from the Bucharest University in 1994, an MA in Humanistic Interdisciplinary Studies in the German Language from the same university in 1996, and went on to obtain another MA in Contemporary History at Bielefeld University, in Germany. From 2002, he worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, moving on to become Cultural and Press Attaché at the Romanian Embassy in Berlin from 2004 to 2009. Between 2010 and 2013 he held a key role at the Romanian Embassy in Bern, Switzerland. Since 2014 he is working at the Romanian Cultural Institute in Berlin.
Irina Dobrescu, born in 1980, is, besides other things, a National University of Art graduate, a founding member of the Ilustrator’s Club in Romania, an illustrator for children and adults books, and an author.
NordSüd Verlag in Switzerland is among the most important publishing houses she has collaborated with. For NordSüd she illustrated Konig Drosselbart by the Grimm brothers. She was invited to give several workshops and presentations about this book, in cities such as Berlin, Frankfurt, Graz, Leipzig and Mannheim.
She was nominated several times for her activity as an illustrator at the Most Beautiful books contest in Romania and for the Astrid Lindgren competition. In 2018 King-Dwarf, written by Radu Vancu, was chosen as a White Raven by the International Youth Library.
Lately she has started to express her stories through words as well. In 2017 she published the story “The Poker Player Wolf,” whose manuscript won the Arthur Grand Trophey prize.
Taymour Soomro is a British Pakistani writer. He read law at Cambridge University and Stanford Law School. He has worked as a corporate solicitor in Milan, a law lecturer at a university in Karachi, an agricultural estate manager in rural Pakistan and a publicist for a luxury fashion brand in London.
He has an MA in creative writing from UEA for which he received the Curtis Brown Prize in 2016. He is currently in the second year of a creative/critical writing PhD at UEA where he is a Chase doctoral fellow. He was a 2018 Sozopol Fellow. He has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize for short fiction and the Glimmer Train Prize. His short fiction has been published in The New Yorker. He has published a textbook on law with Oxford University Press and has written extensively for the Pakistani news media.
Mimi Kunz is an artist-writer who works with ink and paper. Her drawings, installations, and her writing link things in simple forms to open up poetic ambiguity. She moved to Brussels after a post MA at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe, Germany. Her poems and stories have been shown in performances, art book editions, and magazines. After writing a story set in a utopian future in Molenbeek (in The Circle, Harvard Square Editions) she started 2019 on a new project writing a monthly portrait of the city, while continuing to work on a novel about a time jumper and an angel, and a series of circle poems. Her visual practice has brought her to residencies and exhibitions in Scotland and Vietnam. For this year she is planning a group exhibition that brings together art and poetry, and will show works under the title “Leaf to Landscape” in Brussels and Sydney.
To find out more visit www.mimikunz.com
Pic by Maite Morren
Ernest De Clerck (1993) was born in Leuven and lives in Brussels. He graduated as Master in Western Literature in 2015 and as Master in Literary Theories in 2016. He is currently working on a PhD project on the translation and reception of foreign literatures in Late-Romantic British literary magazines (KULeuven). He is editor of the literary review Deus Ex Machina and drummer of Tin Man Tourettes. In his spare time he writes short texts. Like this one.
Pic by Andrew Snowball
Elisabeth Sennitt Clough is a poet and an editor of The Fenland Reed. She is the author of the poetry pamphlet Glass (Paper Swans Press, 2016), which won the Saboteur Award for Best Poetry Pamphlet in 2017, and of the full collection Sightings (Pindrop Press, 2016), winner of the Michael Schmidt Award for Best Portfolio. Her second full collection At or Below Sea Level is forthcoming in 2019 (Paper Swans Press) and is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
A poem from Sightings was published in the Forward Book of Poetry 2018. Other poems appear in The Rialto, New Welsh Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poem, Mslexia, Wasafiri, Magma, The Cannon’s Mouth and Stand. Her poems have won prizes in a number of competitions and her work is widely anthologised.
Elisabeth grew up in Cambridge, England, and has lived and worked in Jakarta, Indonesia; Panama City, Florida; Fresno, California; Reykjavik, Iceland; and Maastricht, Netherlands. She studied English and Sociology, obtained a PhD from the Open University (2010) and an MA in Creative Writing with Teaching from the Manchester Metropolitan University (2016). She counts Antjie Krog, Dorianne Laux, Corinne Clegg Hales and Les Murray among her poetic influences.
More on Elisabeth Sennitt Clough here.
Sarah Reader Harris was born in the south west of England but spent much of her childhood in Scotland. In 1982 she moved to Belgium to live with her Flemish-speaking husband, with whom she has three daughters. She has lived in Brussels for the last thirty years but returns regularly to Scotland.
She teaches English and runs poetry workshops in a refugee centre and is currently guardian to two unaccompanied Eritrean boys. Her new novel Plums Taste Different Here, about the friendship between a young Afghan asylum seeker and a middle-aged forester from Fort William, has recently been longlisted in the Novel category of the 2018 Yeovil Literary Prize.
Her poems and short stories have been shortlisted for the Bridport prize and published in Wild Cards, the Virago anthology of writing women and The Circle, a Brussels anthology, which is being launched in Waterstones on 22 November.
In Scotand she started writing children’s books after spending time with sheep on the Isle of Skye (more here). With her own company S&F she organizes storytelling sessions and educational projects around these stories. A Sheep called Skye is now into its third reprint and was taken up by the National Theatre of Scotland and adapted by Nicola McCartney into a stage production. Another children’s book, The Godmother, was turned into an educational pack for UK schools. She also produced a series of workshops for schools in Flanders around the story Vlieglessen van een Vlegel, and collaborated with Oxfam Belgium to create the book Het Mysterie van de Bienoboon.
Mark SaFranko is an American artist who was born in 1950 in Trenton (New Jersey). He started writing at the age of twenty-one. Today he is particularly successful in Europe, especially in France, Belgium and the UK. He has published ninety short stories, eight novels and many essays and plays. He is also a painter, an actor and a musician (his 10th album has just been released).
As a journalist he used to write for The Guardian and a number of American newspapers. Before becoming a full-time writer, he was, among other things, a landscaper’s assistant, political risk analyst, brewery worker, freight loader, deliveryman, teacher, fast food worker and cook, bank clerk, bar musician, chauffeur, stock clerk and telephone solicitor, all of which contributed significantly to his writing.
In 2005 he won the Frank O’Connor Award from descant magazine for his short fiction. He was cited in Best American Mystery Stories 2000 and has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize. His stories have appeared in more than seventy magazines and journals internationally, including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. The Suicide was named one of the best novels of 2014 by Foyles bookshops (UK). No Strings was named one of the best novels of 2014 by Blackheart Magazine.
His fiction is sometimes described as neo-beat or dirty realism. Inspired by such authors as Henry Miller, Georges Simenon and Patricia Highsmith, he shows us an American society in which the American Dream is a long way off.
Within the framework of ARIEL (Auteurs en Résidence Internationale En Lorraine), he is currently author in residence at the Université de Lorraine in France.
More on Mark SaFranko here.