European Literature Night 2021

The Courage of the Writer

Spin-off Forum on European Culture
Margot Dijkgraaf
Guido Snel
Organized by
Eunic Netherlands
During the European Literature Night 2021 we celebrate European literature in all its variety. A dozen writers and poets from across the continent explore this year’s central theme: The Courage of the Writer.  

How should a writer relate to the burning issues of European societies? What courage does Europe need from its writers? Get to know innovative and creative writers from all over Europe – from Spain to Lithuania, from Slovenia to the UK – in a literary feast of compelling fiction, poetry slam, short stories and discussions. The European Literature Night brings together a group of 12 writers who all relate to European issues from their own local context, and to local issues from a European context.

With Andrea Bajani (IT), Ramūnas Bogdanas (LT), Elia Barceló (ES), Maarja Kangro (EE), Laurent Petitmangin (FR), Monique Roffey (UK/TT), Christoph Schneeberger (CH), Jan Škrob (CZ), Moni Stanila (RO), Max Temmerman (BE), Boštjan Videmšek (SI), Olivia Wenzel (DE).

State of European Literature

Prior to the start of the European Literature Night, the renowned Dutch writer Nelleke Noordervliet will deliver the second edition of the State of European Literature in Spui25. Her ideas about the courage of the writer will be used as input for the European Literature Night.

Last year’s State of European Literature was written by the German writer and historian Philipp Blom.

Nelleke Noordervlietis one of the most renowned Dutch authors of today. She has written an impressive oeuvre, comprising novels and essays, for which she received amongst other awards the Constantijn Huygensprijs. Her most recent novel is De val van Thomas G. (Atlas Contact). She is a columnist for Dutch daily Trouw and radio program OVT.

The European Literature Night is organized by EUNIC Netherlands, the network of European national institutes of culture and national bodies engaged in cultural activities. This year British Council, Embassy of Slovenia, Goethe Institut, Institut Français des Pays-Bas, Embassy of Switzerland, Istituto Italiano di Cultura Amsterdam, Tsjechisch Centrum, Romanian Cultural Institute Brussels, Instituto Cervantes Utrecht, Litouws Cultureel CentrumEmbassy of Estonia, and Vlaams Cultuurhuis De Brakke Grond contributed to the event.

The State of European Literature is an initiative of the University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities and the Amsterdam Center for European Studies (ACES) in collaboration with OSL (Onderzoeksschool Literatuurwetenschap).

Both initiatives are developed in cooperation with the Forum on European Culture.

WORDS OF COURAGE | literary podcasts

WORDS OF COURAGE, 6 podcasts featuring interviews with 6 of the participating writers in the European Literature Night 2021: Boštjan Videmšek, Moni Stănilă, Maarja Kangro, Ramunas Bogdanas, Andrea Bajani, and Jan Škrob. The authors talk about the role of literature in Europe today, addressing climate change, the threat of Putin’s Russia, identity politics, feminism, but also poetry and spirituality, translation as a European mode of existence, and what it means to be part of the European literary web.

The truth will set us free only when we have the courage to speak it in public as resolutely as in solitude.

Moni Stănilă (Romania)


You can watch all our live programmes for free. Do you appreciate our (online) programmes and would you like to contribute?

Nelleke Noordervliet (c) Annaleen Louwes
Podcast with Andrea Bajani, Italian writer, poet and journalist
Podcast with Moni Stănilă, Romanian writer and journalist
Podcast with Jan Škrob, a Czech poet and translator
Podcast with Maarja Kangro, an Estonian poet, writer, essayist and librettist
Podcast with Ramunas Bogdanas, Lithuanian writer
Podcast with Boštjan Videmšek, Slovanian journalist and writer

The podcasts were made by undergraduate students from the program European Studies/Europese Studies, UvA, supported by Far Too Close podcast creators Iris Mathilde van der Werff, Laure Lambert, Maaike de Kleijn and Maartje van Bennekom.

Music: Hidde Boogaard

Interview with Monique Roffey & Elia Barceló