The British Council and its partners have announced the 12 writers taking part in this year’s Baltic Cultural Programme at The London Book Fair 2018, which will run from April 10–12th at London’s Olympia.
Now in its 47th year, the Book Fair is the epicentre of London Book Screen Week (running this year from April 9–15th), and provides a global marketplace for more than 25,000 publishing professionals.
Some of the biggest names in contemporary Baltic literature are set to feature at this year’s festival, where the delegation will hold public discussions with UK counterparts in front of an international audience at the British Library and the National Poetry Library.
This year’s programme will feature Mihkel Mutt, one of Estonia’s most prolific authors, Latvian writer Nora Ikstena, whose book Soviet Milk will be published by Peirene Press in March 2018, and Kristina Sabaliauskaitė, whose saga Silva Rerum is counted among Lithuania’s most important literary achievements of the 21st century.
Cortina Butler, the director for British Council Literature, spoke of the positive impact the festival will have on Britain’s long-standing relationship with the Baltic region: “The UK and the three Baltic countries have close historic ties and there are important Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian communities in the UK. We anticipate that the Baltic Countries Market Focus Cultural Programme will do much to strengthen these relationships – as well as having a lasting impact on appreciation in this country of the strength and depth of contemporary literature in the three countries.”
Dace Melbārde and Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson, the ministers for culture of Latvia and Lithuania respectively, both highlighted the historic ties between their countries and the UK, and expressed hope that this year’s festival will further increase cultural relations moving forward.
Meanwhile, Estonia’s culture minister, Indrek Saar, commented on the importance of literature within their national psyche: “Books and stories expand our consciousness and our world. They can entertain and excite us. Estonian identity is strongly rooted in language and culture. I am proud to say that today, Estonian literature is as varied and dynamic as ever. The cornerstone of a vivid literary life are, of course, the writers.”
Representing a wide variety of literary genres, the programme will also feature Maarja Kangro, Andrei Ivanov and Rein Raud from Estonia, Kārlis Vērdiņš, Luīze Pastore and Inga Ābele from Latvia, as well as Tomas Venclova, Undinė Radzevičiūtė and Alvydas Šlepikas from Lithuania.
More information on this year’s London Book Fair, including information on how to book tickets, can be found on their website.