Event Announcement: European Voices in Translation (05/10/14)

April 3rd, 2014 in Event Announcements, Featured

The Center for the Study of Europe, in collaboration with the Goethe Institut Boston and the literary journal AGNI, announces the first annual European Voices Festival: European Voices in Translation. Join us for a day of poems, prose, theater, and music in celebration of “Europe Day.”

Schedule of Events

1 PM – A Reading and Conversation with László Krasznahorkai and George Szirtes | Moderated by James Wood

051014KRASZNAHORKAIWidely recognized as one of the very best and important novelists of our time, László Krasznahorkai was born in Gyula, Hungary, in 1954. He worked for some years as an editor until 1984, when he became a freelance writer. He now lives in reclusiveness in the hills of Szentlászló. He has written five novels and won numerous prizes, including the 2013 Best Translated Book Award in Fiction for Satantango. Previously, he was best-known in the English-speaking world through the oeuvre of the film director Béla Tarr, with whom he has collaborated on several films over three decades, including the adaptation of several of his own novels. [Author website]

051014SZIRTESGeorge Szirtes was born in Budapest in 1948 and came to England as a refugee in 1956. He was brought up in London and studied Fine Art in London and Leeds. His poems began appearing in national magazines in 1973 and his first book, The Slant Door, was published in 1979. It won the Faber Memorial prize the following year. Szirtes has also worked extensively as a translator of poems, novels, plays and essays and has won various prizes and awards in this sphere, including the 2013 Best Translated Book Award for his translation of László Krasznahorkai’s Satantango. [Author website]

051014WOODJames Wood has been a staff writer and book critic at The New Yorker since 2007. He was the chief literary critic at the Guardian, in London, from 1992 to 1995, and a senior editor at The New Republic from 1995 to 2007. His critical essays have been collected in two volumes, “The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief” (1999) and “The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel” (2004), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is also the author of a novel, “The Book Against God” (2003), and a study of technique in the novel, “How Fiction Works” (2008). He lives in Boston, and teaches half time at Harvard University, where he is Professor of the Practice of Literary Criticism.

2:30 PM – Break

3 PM – Staged reading from German play Brandung/Abyss and Conversation with Playwright and Translator Maria Milisavljevic and German Stage Director Guy Ben-Aharon

Karla is missing. Vlado, Sophia, and Sophia’s sister – the play’s narrator – leave the safety of their apartment to search for their missing friend. As their story slowly unravels, it becomes clear that the narrator isn’t as reliable as she seems and Vlado has been keeping a secret.

TBorn in Arnsberg, Germany, Maria Milisavljevic is an award-winning playwright, theatre creator and director. Her latest play Brandung (Abyss) received the 2013 Kleist Promotional Award for Young Dramatists and is currently showing at the Deutsches Theater Berlin. Maria has worked with various theatres and companies across Germany and in London’s West End. She is currently the International Playwright-in-Residence at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto.

051014BEN-AHARONStage Director, Producer and Cultural Entrepreneur Guy Ben-Aharon was born in Israel. The founder of Israeli Stage and co-founder of German Stage, his passion and work is to promote international theatre and cultural bridges in the Greater Boston area.

3:45 PM – Break

4 PM – A Reading and Conversation with Semezdin Mehmedinovic and Ammiel Alcalay | Moderated by Ainsley Morse

051014MEHMEDINOVIC Semezdin Mehmedinovic is a Bosnian journalist, poet, editor, and filmmaker. His poetry collection Sarajevo Blues (published in English translation by Ammiel Alcalay in 1998) was praised by the Washington Post as one of the best literary documents of the Bosnian war. A later collection, Nine Alexandrias (translated by Alcalay and published by City Lights in 2003), was written in response to a cross-country train trip across post 9/11 America and to twenty-first century life in the heart of the empire. Soviet Computer (2011) is a diary of his migration from Sarajevo to Prague and eventually Washington, DC.

051014ALCALAYAmmiel Alcalay teaches at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of numerous books, including After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture (Minnesota) and an essay collection, Memories of Our Future (City Lights). Islanders, a novel, came out in 2010. His book length poem, from the warring factions, dedicated to the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, came out in a 2nd edition in 2012, followed by a little history in 2013. He has translated widely and, during the wars of ex-Yugoslavia, he was the main conduit in the US for material from Bosnia. He is the founder and General Editor of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, and Lost & Found Elsewhere, a series of student and guest edited archival texts now in its fifth year.

051014MORSEAinsley Morse’s major interest is twentieth-century Russian poetry, although since she started off with a master’s in Comparative Slavic literatures from UNC-Chapel Hill (where she focused on twentieth-century Serbian and Yugoslav literature), she does her best to keep a foot in the Yugoslav door. She has recently been having a fine time with the phenomenal Yugoslav avant-garde, with special attention to Miroslav Krleza. In studying poetry, Ainsley is partial to close readings combined with a literary-historical approach, with attention to social relations and genealogies, real and imagined.

5:30 PM – Break

6:00 PM – A Reading from Bohumil Hrabal’s Harlequin’s Millions in English translation (Archipelago Books, May 2014) by Stacey Knecht.

051014HRABALBohumil Hrabal (1914 – 1997) was one of the most important Czech writers of the 20th century. He wrote in colloquial Czech and is famous for his acute observations and charismatic antiheros. His best-known works were I Served the King of England (1971) and Closely Observed Trains (1965), a film of which won an Oscar in 1968. Harlequin’s Millions (1981), soon to be published in English translation by Stacey Knecht, told from the point of view of an elderly woman coming to terms with the passing of time, gives us a glimpse into the changing landscape of Hrabal’s homeland. [Publisher's website]

051014KNECHTA native New Yorker, Stacey Knecht lives in the Netherlands. Her translations from the Dutch, including Hugo Claus’s Desire; Marcel Moring’s The Dream Room, The Great Longing, and In Babylon; Anke de Vries’s Bruises; Lieve Joris’s Back to the Congo; and Marga Minco’s The Glass Bridge have won awards in the US and the UK. She is currently translating an anthology of Hrabal’s short stories.

6:20 PM – A reading of selected poems by Ivan Blatný in English translation by Veronika Tuckerova

051014BLATNYLost to the world for decades, Ivan Blatný was, according to the Czech Ministry of Culture, “one of the most significant Czech poets of the twentieth century.” Blatný fled Czechoslovakia after the Communist coup in 1948, spending the rest of his life in England. The Drug of Art: Selected Poems, edited by Veronika Tukerova, spans fifty years of his career and is notable for being the first major collection of Blatný’s work in English.

051014TUCKEROVAVeronika Tuckerova grew up in Prague, and holds a Ph.D. in German and Comparative Literature from Columbia University in New York. Her research focuses on Franz Kafka and Prague German Literature, bilingualism, and translation. Among her translations from German to Czech is Gershom Scholem’s memoir, From Berlin to Jerusalem. She is working on a book, Reading Kafka in Prague during Communism.

6:45 PM – Break

7 PM – Intertwined Musical Voices: Biber, Buxtehude, and Bach | A concert performance by Cambridge Concentus

Early-music ensemble Cambridge Concentus will perform a short program of works for soprano, bass, violins, and harpsichord by Baroque composers Heinrich Biber, Dietrich Buxtehude, and JS Bach. Biber and Buxtehude were highly revered in their time and profoundly contributed to the genres for which Bach is most known today. Concentus provides a tantalizing glimpse of these composers’ intertwined musical voices.

J.S. Bach
Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in Eb Major for Solo Harpsichord BWV998

D. Buxtehude (1637-1707)
“Herr, wenn ich nur dich hab” for Soprano, Violins, and Harpsichord, BuxWV38

H. Biber (1644-1704)
Passagalia in G Minor for Solo Violin
XVI from the Mystery Sonatas

D. Buxtehude
“Quemadmodum desiderat cervus: Chiaccona a3” for Bass, Violins, Harpsichord, BuxWV92

J.S. Bach (1685-1750)
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord in G Major, BWV1021

J.S. Bach
“Komm Mein Jesu und erquicke” for Soprano, Bass, and Harpsichord
from Ich hatte viel Berkümmernis, BWV21

Ulrike Präger, soprano
Elijah Blaisdell, bass
Dorian Komanoff Bandy, violin
Anna Griffis, violin
Dylan Sauerwald, harpsichord

8 PM – Reception

This event take place at the Goethe Institut Boston, 170 Beacon Street, Boston, MA.  The public is cordially invited. General Admission $10. Students free with university id. [Ticket info]


Event Announcement: Conversations with Spanish Author Andrés Neuman (04/23/14 – 04/24/14)

December 21st, 2013 in Event Announcements, Featured

Join us for two upcoming events with Spanish writer Andrés Neuman. On the afternoon of Wednesday, April 23, Neuman will take part in a seminar with the poet, scholar, and writer Gustavo Guerrero. The seminar, which will be conducted in Spanish, is geared to graduate students and faculty. On the evening of Thursday, April 24, he will give a public reading to be followed by a conversation with Alicia Borinsky. Please see details below!

Neuman, who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1977, the son of emigrant musicians, is widely regarded as one of the best young Spanish-language novelists. He is also an accomplished writer of short stories, an essayist, a poet, and a translator. He has a degree in Spanish philology from the University of Granada, where he worked as a teacher of Latin American literature.

In 1999, at the age of 22, Neuman published his first novel, Bariloche (Anagrama, 1999), a First Finalist for the prestigious Herralde Prize and one of the top ten of the year according to the literary supplement of El Mundo. His following novels were La vida en las ventanas (Espasa, 2002) and autobiographical Una vez Argentina (Anagrama, 2003), also a First Finalist for the Herralde Prize. His fourth novel, El viajero del siglo (Alfaguara, 2009; published in the the USA as Traveler of the Century, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), won the Alfaguara Prize and the National Critics Prize, awarded by the Spanish Literary Critics Association. It was also selected among the books of the year by the critics of El País, El Mundo, The Guardian, The Independent, Financial Times, and by the Dutch newspapers NRC Handelsblad and De Volkskrant. This novel was later short-listed for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Latino Book Award, the Rómulo Gallegos Prize (given to the best Spanish-language novel published during the two previous years), and also long-listed for the Best Translated Book Award. His most recent novel is Hablar solos (Talking to Ourselves, Alfaguara, 2012, to be published in English in April 2014), one of the best books of the year according to La Vanguardia.

The late Robert Bolaño had the following praise of Neuman in his essay collection, Between Parentheses:

Neuman has a gift. No good reader will fail to perceive in its pages something that can only be found in literature of the highest rank, the kind written by true poets who dare to penetrate into the darkness with their eyes open, and who keep them open no matter what. When I encounter these young writers it makes me want to cry. The literature of the 21st century will belong to Neuman and to a handful of his blood brothers.

This event takes place as part of our European Voices series—an ongoing series of conversations with artists and writers, activists and intellectuals exploring questions at the intersection of politics and culture. Cosponsored by the literary journal AGNI and the Department of Romance Studies at Boston University. Funded in part by the European Commission Delegation in Washington, DC.

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Event Announcement: Climate Wars: What People Will Be Killed For in the 21st Century (03/17/14)

December 20th, 2013 in Event Announcements, Featured

Join us for a lecture by Harald Welzer, sociologist and social psychologist, Professor for Transformation-design at the University of Flensburg, as well as Executive Director of the foundation FuturZwei. His main foci of research and teaching are memory, group violence and socio-cultural climate impact research. His books have been translated into 15 languages. Welzer is the author of the best-selling Climate Wars: What People Will be Killed for in the 21st Century.

Welzer-ClimateWars-Final-HiResStruggles over drinking water, new outbreaks of mass violence, ethnic cleansing, civil wars in the earth’s poorest countries, endless flows of refugees: these are the new conflicts and forces shaping the world of the 21st century. They no longer hinge on ideological rivalries between great powers but rather on issues of class, religion and resources. The genocides of the last century have taught us how quickly social problems can spill over into radical and deadly solutions. Rich countries are already developing strategies to garner resources and keep ‘climate refugees’ at bay.

Harald Welzer shows how climate change and violence go hand in hand. Climate change has far-reaching consequences for the living conditions of peoples around the world: inhabitable spaces shrink, scarce resources become scarcer, injustices grow deeper, not only between North and South but also between generations, storing up material for new social tensions and giving rise to violent conflicts, civil wars and massive refugee flows. Climate change poses major new challenges in terms of security, responsibility and justice, but as Welzer makes disturbingly clear, very little is being done to confront them.

This event will be moderated by Henrik Selin, Associate Professor of International Relations and an expert on environmental politics, sustainable development, global governance and international institutions.

Monday, March 17, 2014
5 – 7 PM
Boston University, Sargent College, 635 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 102
Reception and book-signing to follow

Co-sponsored by the Goethe Institut Boston, the Goethe Institut Washington DC, and Brandeis University Center for German and European Studies.


Event Announcement: Profiting Without Producing – How Finance Exploits Us All (02/25/14)

December 19th, 2013 in Event Announcements, Featured

Join us for a lecture by Costas Lapavitsas, professor of economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. This event celebrates the release by Verso Press of Profiting Without Producing: How Finance Exploits Us All.

In Profiting Without Producing, Lapavitsas explores the roots of the recent economic crisis in terms of “financialization,” the most salient feature of which is the rise of financial profit, in part extracted directly from households through financial expropriation, and discusses the options available for controlling finance and resolutions to the current crisis, in particular, in the Eurozone. Moderated by Cornel Ban, assistant professor of international relations at Boston University and a specialist in the political economy of crises and transitions.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014
6–7:30 PM
Boston University Photonics Center, 8 St. Mary’s Street, 9th Floor
Reception and book-signing to follow

Costas Lapavitsas’s research interests include the relationship of finance and development, the structure of financial systems, and the evolution and functioning of the Japanese financial system. He is member of the Research on Money and Finance (RMF) network at SOAS, the aim of which has been to produce synthetic work on the transformation of the capitalist economy, the rise of financialization, and the resulting intensification of crises, and the lead author of the new RMF report “Breaking Up? A Route Out of the Eurozone Crisis.” His previous publications include Social Foundations of Markets, Money, and Credit and Political Economy of Money and Finance.

The event is jointly sponsored by the Center for the Study of Europe, the Center for the Study of Asia, the Program in East Asian Studies, and the Undergraduate Economics Association at Boston University and is funded in part by the European Commission Delegation in Washington, DC.