“The roots of modern Europe belong to the Renaissance, not the single currency. Cervantes and Rabelais are the draughtsmen of our commonality, not the diligent men and women who composed the Treaty of Nice. When 70-odd years of cold war produced a gulf in Europe, as the Lithuanian poet Tomas Venclova noted, the west continued to exist for eastern Europe, by virtue of its writers. There is no Europe without literature, without poetry and that mongrel art of the Renaissance, the novel; without that landscape on which, in Eliot’s words, “All time is eternally present.” What are we as readers to make of the states joining today’s political map? What is their connection to us? What is there, above all, to enjoy?”
Saturday May 1, 2004.
New Europe Writers began in a café on Nowogrodzska where a Canadian-Polish journalist, with a connection to Radio Free Europe, ran a café as a cover for his catering business.
Open to the needs of the scribbler, Stash owned the only bar not to close when the G-whiz summit boarded-out the centre of town ahead of the global protesters. ‘Come and have a drink after the riot’ was painted across the plate glass.
There were no riots. But a poet, a playwright and a writer went and had a drink anyway. And what emerged was a creative partnership which continues to grow.
What Others Have To Say About New Europe Writers
It’s such a pleasure to find a piece of writing written by somebody you know (or knew) in an anthology you even didn’t hear about until now! This series of anthologies of the newest European writers is the outstanding “point des rencontres” for the travelling readers – and travelling writers as well.
President, World Literature Foundation, Poland
These volumes bring together truly wonderful pieces about Warsaw, Prague, and Budapest. They offer readers a sense of each place, and much more. Some are delightfully quirky, and different styles abound. All are good reads, absolutely entertaining, indeed riveting. They take you into life in three great cities, each of which is still evolving in the post-1989 world. Terrific stuff. Who could ask for more?
Charles Seymour Professor of History
I’m an American of Scotch-Irish background, who has become a successful publisher in a language very much not my own, here in Poland, in a part of the world struggling with new freedom. I look forward to each new issue of the New Europe Writers project, for wisdom, humor and insights into this strange, exciting, and rapidly changing area. I take comfort in the writers from the West who share my excitement and confusion, and the native writers who help me understand a bit more.
Robert Gamble, owner
Harbor Point, Sp. z o.o.
Media Rodzina publishing
Studio Kokon TV
A great advantage of the NEW project is that it not only links literatures of the so-called Central European countries but also invites a great number of authors coming from different cultures and writing in other languages. It’s essential for setting the Central European identity as it not only helps to define culture’s borders but also shows possibilities of crossing them.
Charles University, Prague
These anthologies provide yet another window into the diverse and exciting literary life of Middle Europe. One cannot help but to be impressed by the range of styles and genres presented in what are at once a travel companions in verse and prose and a psychic journey into the heart of darkness of a region known as the “other Europe.” Until recently, that is. And this in no small measure is due to the efforts of this Warsaw-based group.
Florida International University
What a splendid idea, to describe former communist capitals in tales. It brings back youth to those who once thought communism would be the end of them, and it also brings the wind of a new kind of youth, since they are written by many who never experienced the old system. It is a way of making literature say goodbye to journalism because in those days literature was journalism most of the time.
Prof. Lidia Vianu
Professor of Contemporary British Literature
Director of MTTLC
English Department, Bucharest University.