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Natasha Brown



Nevorice Matheu


Natasha Brown – 1

4 november 2021

Since about March 2020, unprecedented restrictions have been imposed on everyday life. The world, for many of us, shrunk down to our immediate physical area, a sort of hyper-locality that was completely unimaginable ... until it became reality. Border-crossing — even between close, neighbouring territories — now seems a strange and unfamiliar activity. Today, I’m writing from London, sitting at my little desk and occasionally looking through the window at the familiar gardens and roof tops surrounding me. In less than a week, I will make my way to The Hague, a city I’ve never visited before, for the Crossing Border festival.

Needless to say, I feel a complex mix of emotions at the prospect. Mostly excitement. Browsing the festival programme, knowing I can attend these events in person, feels surreal. Most of the culture I’ve consumed over this past year has been viewed out of context, filtered through a screen. Soon, though, I’ll be immersed in live music performances, poetry readings, and author conversations — I can’t wait to dive in. But beyond that, I’m excited for the metaphorical crossing of borders through literature and writing in translation, and celebrating the fascinating, hybrid art that translation creates.

I will chronicle my experience of the Crossing Border festival here, in tandem with Nevorice Matheu, hopefully extending a bridge to wherever you’re reading from. Thanks for joining us!


- Natasha Brown

Meer van Natasha Brown en Nevorice Matheu

14 november 2021

Natasha Brown - 5 - Back to normal

“Rail replacement bus” — three of the most depressing words in the English language. I heard them two days ago while on my way to Bridport, a lovely market town in the south of England, for the BridLit festival. Dutifully, the other passengers and I filed off the train to wait in the drizzle for the promised bus. It was more than worth it in the end; I arrived in time for my event, and thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere and conversation at the festival.

6 november 2021

Natasha Brown - 3 - Meetings

Illuminated in a cone of hazy blue light, Colson Whitehead appears ethereal, almost spectral. We’re in the Korzo Theatre Raven room again, the same place as last night, though now it’s reconfigured for a live band performance. The graduated rows of seating have disappeared in favour of a large dance flooresque area — standing room only, both of Whitehead’s events today have completely sold out — packed with people staring up at the double Pulitzer Prize winning author.

7 november 2021

Natasha Brown - 4 - Goodbyes

By 7:15pm, Juffrouw Idastraat is abuzz. A considerable queue of literary enthusiasts extends back from the Schuilkerk door, where security guys check wristbands and wave people through. We’re here to see the 2021 European Literature Prize awarded to Saša Stanišić and Annemarie Vlaming for the Dutch translation of Stanišić’s novel Herkomst, crowned “the best contemporary European novel translated into Dutch” of the last year.

5 november 2021

Natasha Brown - 2

Warren Ellis doesn’t need an interviewer, per se. He knows how to command a stage. By my count, host Roderik Six only squeezes in three questions during the hour-long talk. From those jumping off points Ellis riffs, amiably and interestingly, across years and cities, occasionally referring back to the titular piece of Nina Simone’s chewing gum ...

Zie The Chronicles live tijdens Crossing Border 2021