European Writers on War and Conflict
In partnership with EUNIC, Flanders House, the Embassy of Sweden and the Cyprus High Commission
This evening we will explore how European writers deal with war and conflict. Swedish writer Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde’s novel What We Owe explores the aftereffects of the Iranian Revolution on one family’s life. Belgian writer Jeroen Olyslaegers’ novel Will, set during World War II, explores how we deal with evil, whether we act or don’t, how we are complicit. Cypriot writer Constantia Soteriou’s novel Bitter Country is about the events in Cyprus leading to the creation of the Green Line and uses women’s voices as a chorus talking about the impact of war and the disappearance of their sons.
The writers will be in conversation with our chair, Northern Irish writer Jan Carson.
This event will take place on YouTube. Please book in advance to receive a streaming link by email.
Read interviews with event speakers:
About the speakers
Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde is the author of two books in Swedish, Hon är inte jag (‘She’s not me’) and Det var vi (‘What we owe’). What we owe, translated into English by Elizabeth Clark Wessel and published by Fleet, was the winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in Fiction in 2019. The book offers a complex and diverse image of refugees and explores how identity is passed on from generation to generation.
Jan Carson is a writer and community arts facilitator based in East Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her debut novel Malcolm Orange Disappears and short story collection, Children’s Children, were published by Liberties Press, Dublin. A micro-fiction collection, Postcard Stories was published by the Emma Press in 2017. Jan’s novel The Fire Starters was published by Doubleday in April 2019 and subsequently won the EU Prize for Literature for Ireland 2019. She has been shortlisted for the Sean O’Faolain Short Story Prize and in 2016 won the Harper’s Bazaar Short Story Prize.
Jeroen Olyslaegers writes columns, plays and prose, including six novels. In 2014 he was awarded the Arkprijs van het Vrije Woord for his work and his social engagement. His international breakthrough came with the novel Will, an award-winning lyrical meditation on evil and guilt. This ambitious and multifaceted novel, translated into English by David Colmer and published by Pushkin Press, focuses on some dark pages of Belgian history.
‘Olyslaegers bravely explores moral compromise, betrayal and collaboration – and throws our polarised times into sharp relief.’ – Observer
Constantia Soteriou has written three novels. Aishe Goes on Vacation and Voices Made of Soil were shortlisted for the Greek and Cypriot National Book Awards. Her short story, Death Customs, translated into English by Lina Protopapa, was the winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Bitter Country, her most recent book, revolves around the final moments of the mother of an eighteen-year-old man who went missing in the 1974 coup d’état. Spasoula is accompanied by a chorus of women who narrate stories and tales, sing songs, and ease her passing by practising the death customs that have been handed down to them by earlier generations of Cypriot women.
Meet the World
Our Meet the World series aims to celebrate our ongoing connections with international writers and translators by sharing their writing and ideas with new readers.