In October 2014, authors Fatos Lubonja (Albania), Peter Kristufek (Slovakia) and Francesca Rhydderch (Wales) appeared at an event at Free Word Centre to discuss what it means to be an exile in your own country. All award-winning writers from countries on the edge of Europe, the panel shared readings and ideas raised in their latest works, all of which are variations on the theme of ‘internal exile’. The event was chaired by Rebecca Gould and hosted by English PEN as part of a tour organised by Literature Across Frontiers and the publishers Istros, Parthian and Seren.
Lubonja’s The False Apocalypse (published by Istros Books) is a unique and disturbing insight into post-communist Albania, while Kristufek’s House of the Deaf Man (published by Parthian) charts the fortunes of a Slovak family against the vagaries of central European politics. Rhydderch’s novel The Rice Paper Diaries (published by Seren), set between Wales and Hong Kong during the Second World War, has just won the Welsh Book of the Year fiction prize.
A spectacular reading by Lubonja’s translator John Hodgson, a compelling extract from The Rice Paper Diaries by Rhydderch and Richard of Parthian Books’ humorous reading from Kristufek’s work brought all the books to life for audience and authors alike.
Listen to the resulting discussing in an audio stream of the event below, as recorded by English PEN: