After a three-year pause, we were thrilled to resume our projects in India with a Literary Europe Live tour that took seven authors to Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram in late January and early February 2023. It was a pleasure to present the Icelandic novelist, poet and screenwriter Sjón to Indian audiences alongside playwright Rasa Bugavičute-Pēce (Latvia), novelists Niall Griffiths and Megan Angharad Hunter (Wales), Archil Kikodze (Georgia), and poets Beatriz Chvite Ezkieta (Basque Country) and Raquel Santanera (Catalonia).
In Delhi, the programme included visits to Ashoka University’s Creative Writing Department and Vedica Programme for Women Scholars, with debates and readings hosted by the students. A discussion on the subject of writing about disability as a gift was held at the Eureka Bookstore in cooperation with Bookaroo, the India-wide programme of events for young readers. The authors met with Indian literary professionals during two receptions held in their honour, and we are grateful to the hosts, publisher Neeta Gupta and the Ambassador of Iceland Gudni Bragason.
In Thiruvananthapuram the authors participated in the fourth edition of the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters with a programme of panel debates and readings, highlighting European linguistic and cultural diversity as well as shared themes in a series of events focused on Europe, Asia and Africa. Other panels discussed writing at a time of climate emergency and political turmoil, and translation as a bridge. This was our second cooperation with MBIFL after our visit in 2020 just before the breakout of the pandemic and this time, just as then we enjoyed the stimulating programme prepared by novelist, journalist and literary curator Sabin Iqbal and the MBIFL team.
The Welsh authors continued the tour with visits to two colleges in Kerala, while LAF director Alexandra Büchler met with representatives of higher education institutions to explore potential cooperation projects with support from Taith, Wales’ international learning exchange programme.
The tour was supported by Wales Arts International, Arts Council of Wales, the Basque Etxepare Institute, Institut Ramon Llull, the Icelandic Embassy in Delhi, Icelandic Literature Centre, Latvian Literature, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, and the Writers House of Georgia.
Photos: LAF, MBIFL, Archil Kikodze, Sreekanth Sasidharan