The New Literature from Europe Festival is an annual celebration of writing from across the European continent. Featuring readings and discussions between leading and emerging literary voices from Europe, and some of America’s foremost writers and critics, the Festival celebrates important new European literature in translation. Founded in 2003, the NLE Festival has quickly become one of New York City’s top literature in translation events, attracting award-winning, best-selling and new authors from many diverse European countries each year. The NLE Festival is jointly organized by the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) and New York-based European cultural institutes. Most Festival events are free and open to the public. 


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New Literature from Europe Festival: A Funny Thing About Writing...

Friday November 6, 2015
08:00 pm

Tags: Event



Part 2


Presented in partnership with the New Literature from Europe Festival.


The best books can make you laugh and cry — oftentimes on the same page! Albert Mobilio discussed using humor to raise forbidden topics, controversial opinions and contentious politics. We heard from Naja Marie Aidt, a Nordic Council Literature Prize winner and author of the upcoming Rock, Paper, Scissors; Alek Popov, winner of the Helicon Prize and author of some of Bulgaria’s funniest contemporary novels including the new Black Box; and Jordi Puntí, winner of the Serra d’Or Critics’ Prize for his first book of short stories, Pell d’armadillo and author of Lost Luggage, and they discussed the triumphs and pitfalls of using humor as a tool to explore the dark side of fiction with author and editor of Bookforum, Albert Mobilio.


This event was preceded by another Festival panel: The Calling: Writing with Responsibility at 6:30pm



Naja Marie Aidt was born in Greenland and raised in Copenhagen. She is the author of seven collections of poetry and five short story collections, including Baboon (Two Lines Press), which received the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize and the Danish Critics Prize for Literature. Her poetry has appeared in magazines in countries all over the world—Russia, Turkey, Greece, France, Italy, and the United States. Rock, Paper, Scissors is her first novel. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Alek Popov (born Sofia, Bulgaria, 1966) is one of the most popular contemporary Bulgarian writers, working not only as a novelist but also dramatist, essayist and short-story writer. His hugely successful first novel, the comic satire Mission London, based on his experiences as Bulgarian cultural attaché in London, has been translated in sixteen languages. The book was filmed in 2010, becoming the most popular Bulgarian film since the revolution of 1990 and being described by Variety as ‘a breakthrough phenomenon’. Alek Popov has won many literary awards, including the Elias Canetti Prize (for The Black Box), the Helkon Awardthe Chudomir Award for satirical prose, the Reading Man Prize and the Ivan Radoev National Prize for Drama. In 2012 he was elected corresponding member of the Bulgarian Academy of Science in the field of Arts, the youngest member of the Academy to date. He serves on the board of Bulgarian PEN and is part of the editorial body of the literary magazine Granta Bulgaria. Award-winning The Black Box, his second novel, has so far appeared in six languages, including English, and was a bestseller in German translation as well as the original Bulgarian edition. Palaveevi Sisters in the storm of History, his third novel, has won the Helikon Award for best prose book of 2013 and was translated in German under the title Schneeweißchen und Partisanenrot.


Jordi Puntí is an author, translator, and regular contributor to the Catalan and Spanish press. His first novel, Lost Luggage, was translated into sixteen languages and won the Spanish National Critics’ Award, the Catalan Booksellers Prize, and the Lletra d’Or. Punti has also published two collections of short stories and a memoir about his childhood in an industrial town in Spain in the 1970s. He was a fellow at The New York Public Library’s Cullman Center until June of this year, working on a novel inspired by the life of the musician Xavier Cugat.


Albert Mobilio is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and the National Book Critics Circle award for reviewing. His work has appeared in Harper’sBlack ClockBombCabinetOpen City and Tin House. Books of poetry include Bendable Siege,The GeographicsMe with Animal Towering and Touch Wood. He is an assistant professor of literary studies at the New School’s Eugene Lang College and is an editor of Bookforum.