Sunday, April 14, 2013

We're delighted to celebrate the USA publication of The Finno-Ugrian Vampire by Noémi Szécsi. The author, the most prominent young Hungarian writing today, has been invited to join two events at Pen World Voices 2013, in New York. I shall be travelling there, along with the translator, Peter Sherwood.

Friday, 3 May 2013
A Literary Safari
Wesbeth Center for the Arts, 6.30pm
55 Bethune St New York, NY 10014
Explorers may discover a bedside reading, a dinner-table discussion, or a poet in the elevator at this event, where each participant is given a map and left to roam the halls of the city’s oldest and largest artist community; the notoriously labyrinthine Westbeth Artists’ Housing. The residents will again open their homes to PEN authors and the public for this intimate annual event, which ends with a reception and champagne toast in the gallery.
With Michal Ajvaz, Nadeem Aslam, Dror Burstein, Gillian Clarke, Mia Couto, Eduardo Halfon, Natalio Hernandez, Nick Holdstock, Randa Jarrar, Tararith Kho, Jaime Manrique, Margie Orford, Jordi Punti, Noémi Szécsi, Padma Venkatraman, and others

Saturday, 4 May 2013
Invisible Cities, Visible Cities
The Public Theater, 5.00pm
425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003
For many novelists, describing the city where a story takes place is as fundamental as providing a well-developed protagonist. The panel will look at how the city both limits and liberates, how it is informed by collective knowledge and individual exploration, and how, particularly in the era of globalization, it can be a place of imposing history and rapid reinvention. Moderated by Michael Miller. With Michal Ajvaz, Dror Burstein, Barbara Frischmuth, Noémi Szécsi

On another note, in March I was despairing at the news stories issuing forth from Syria - so many tales of bloodshed and lives in peril. In 2007, Riverbend, the anonymous blogger who wrote Baghdad Burning, which we published in 2003, moved to Syria, which at the time was a peaceful haven after the bombings in Baghdad.

I have not heard from her for a few years, so I emailed asking if she was safe.Then, this week, I received a reply. She is safe, living in the United Arab Emirates. Not everything in her life has gone to plan, but her email is of course confidential. She has added a post at the blog,, and it is worth looking at, as it is an angry post. She thinks her fellow Iraqis in exile, should not be living in the USA or in the UK, as they were invading nations. I can understand her reasoning - it is as if after the second world war, German Jews had decided to settle in Italy...or return immediately to Germany - which few did.