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CROSSING BORDER ANTWERP 4 + 6 NOV 2022

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Kies de taal

UNITED KINGDOM

NETHERLANDS

GESCHREVEN DOOR

Natasha Brown

(GB)

VERTAALD DOOR

Nevorice Matheu

(NL)

Natasha Brown - 5 - Back to normal

14 November 2021

“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.

It’s hard to say what normal is now. Since publishing my debut novel, I’ve travelled (both virtually and physically) across the world to speak and meet with other writers and readers. It’s strange, sometimes intimidating, but usually rewarding to have these conversations. There’s been the occasional downside: the aggressive journalist, a broken down train or a slimy photographer. Still, I’d say it’s worth it. I remain amazed at how words can foster understanding; how stories and dialogues can pass between people, across borders, and take on new meanings. Even when it feels tough, or the schedule is gruelling, I’m glad for the chance to build bridges with my words, rather than walls. My novel Assembly was born out of an investigation into language — and the question of whether our language can ever be neutral. These past few months have offered me many new avenues to consider.

This is my last post for The Chronicles. It’s sad to say goodbye. I felt nostalgic before I’d even boarded the plane, though I know it’s really more of a “see you later”. And we went out with a bang: at The Chronicles Live event, impeccably hosted by Jelko Arts on the last night of the festival, each writer-translator pair spoke about their experience of live-blogging/translating at Crossing Border, along with more general reflections on craft. A fitting end, I think.

My thanks to Anna Eble for arranging such a rewarding experience for us all, and to Nevorice Matheu for translating my words.

Very best,

Natasha

WAT HEEFT DIT VERHAAL GEÏNSPIREERD?

Natasha Brown

Meer van Natasha Brown en Nevorice Matheu

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 ...

4 November 2021

Natasha Brown – 1

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.

Zie The Chronicles live tijdens Crossing Border 2021