Nathalie Azoulai | European Literature Night | 18 September 2020

European Literature Night 2020


Date: Friday 18 September, 21-23.00, De Brakke Grond.


Program and hosts: Margot Dijkgraaf and Guido Snel


A night of dialog


The European Literature Night, a EUNIC Netherlands project, brings together both celebrated authors and promising literary talents from all over Europe. The writers are invited to tackle a central theme in small panels, led by a moderator. There is room for debate, for the of reading excerpts, for monologues and key-notes. The Night is a space for exploration, for understanding differences and recognizing similarities, in this way reimagining ‘Europeanness’ for both authors and audience.


The European Literature Night is this year part of the Forum on European Culture, and paired with the State of European Literature, a key note co-organized by UvA (Faculty of Humanities, ACES, supported by OSL).


There will be a livestream of the event via the website of the Forum on European culture (link coming soon)




19.45 - 20.30    The State of European Literature – keynote by Philipp Blom – Aula UvA

21.00 – 23.00   The European Literature Night 2020 – De Brakke Grond


Literature, the Antidote


Never before have we been so connected, never before have we been so isolated. What will our world look like after the pandemic? The past response to this kind of catastrophe has always been to cling to a better future. What will our answer be now?

In trying to make sense of our present, we resort to words, stories, metaphors. Language is part of the world as we know it, language co-creates our world. We need a new language and new forms of literature about our here and now.

According to Arundhati Roy Covid-19 ‘is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next’, which ‘forces humans to break with the past and to imagine their world anew.’

How can we imagine this world? What can literature predict on the basis of the experience of the past months in Europe? Let’s listen to the European writers of today, antennas of our societies. Can literature be an antidote?

France will be represented by Nathalie Azoulai, an author who has long been observing the place and role of women in society, human relations through the prism of politics and the societal changes underway. Her novel Titus n'aimait pas Bérénice (2015, P.O.L.) focuses on the language of Jean Racine and won the Prix Médicis in France after being a finalist for the Prix Goncourt. This year she is publishing Juvenia (Stock), a "gynophilic" utopia full of humour.

The Authors:


Nathalie Azoulai (FR)

Juan Gómez Barcena (ES)

Abdelkader Benali (NL) 

Ngalle Charles (UK)

Paulus Hochgatterer (AT)

Pavla Horakova (CZE)

Pierre Jarawan (DE)

Nataša Kramberger (SLO)

Monique Schwitter (CH)

Tomas Vaiseta (LTU)

Margot Vanderstraeten (BE)


The European Literature Night is supported by the European commission and organized thank to the support of :

De Brakke Grond, British Council Netherlands, Dutch culture, Embassy of Austria, Embassy of Switzerland, Goethe Institut Niederlande, Institut français des Pays-Bas, Instituto Cervantes, Litouws Cultureel Centrum

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