Special event The European Camarade: Manchester will bring together “some of the finest modern poets of the thriving Manchester scene” (or so I’m told – I’m one of them, so make of that what you will!) with writers visiting the newest UNESCO City of Literature from further afield. This special one-off puts the auteurs together in collaborative pairs to present dynamic new duets of live literature made especially for the night. The European Camarade: Manchester is part of the European Poetry Festival, which proffers nine events on a whirlwind tour of the country between 5 and 14 April, and which will, in all, showcase the talents of over 50 poets from 24 European nations.
Back at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, meanwhile, 23 writers will be taking to the stage, including tour organiser SJ Fowler, teamed with long-time co-creator Tom Jenks, one of the organisers of The Other Room experimental poetry reading series. Ted Hughes Award shortlistee Harry Man also represents this green and pleasant land, as does renowned flash fiction aficionado, author and graphic novel writer David Gaffney, while one of Poetry Ireland’s ‘Rising Generation’ names and poetry editor of gorse magazine Christodoulos Makris bobs over from the Emerald Isle. France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway are all present and correct, the latter’s flag flown by three writers, Jon Ståle Ritland, Endre Ruset and Silje Ree, the latter performing with Yvonne Litschel, whose latest pamphlet, Moth Dust, has just been published.
From Germany, there’s Goethe Institut-supported Berlin-based artist Rike Scheffler, teamed with Livia Franchini, a writer and translator originally from Tuscany and now studying at Goldsmiths. Published in everything from The Quietus to The White Review, she is one of the founding members of FILL, the Festival of Italian Literature in London, which has seen one of the other guests – poet, writer, performer and voice practitioner Serena Braida – grace its microphone. Serena will be collaborating with Iris Colomb, a French poet, artist, translator and curator also based in London. Poet and short story writer Inge Pizane is here from Riga, Latvia, supported by the International Writers’ and Translators’ House, and she will perform alongside Scott Thurston (another third of The Other Room and lecturer at the University of Salford).
As if that weren’t enough, the event will also play host to some special launch readings of Twitters For A Lark: Poetry of The European Union of Imaginary Authors by Robert Sheppard, from the likes of Patricia Farrell and Knives Forks and Spoons-published Joanne Ashcroft, and from Sandeep Parmar, Co-Director of the Centre for New and International Writing at the University of Liverpool, appearing with Rimas Uzgiris from Vilnius – one of two Lithuanian poets featured. The other is Marius Burokas, teamed with James Byrne, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University. Do not worry – there will not be a test of everyone’s names at the end…