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08/06/2018 @ Romanian Cultural Institute, 1 Belgrave Square, SW1X8PH
Renowned poet, star chef and TV personality Mircea Dinescu is our guest at 1 Belgrave Square for the launch of his most recent poetry collection in English, “The Barbarians’ Return”, published by the prestigious Bloodaxe Books.
The famous author, admired for his brilliant poetry as well as his corrosive wit, will be joined by editor and writer Neil Astley, in a conversation about words, flavours and passions. The discussion will be illustrated by readings and sung recitations offered in Romanian by the great man himself and echoed in English by actress Cristina Catalina. The spirits will be lifted by some of Dinescu’s trademark dishes, washed down with his equally tasty wines.
Mircea Dinescu (b. 1950) is a poet, journalist, TV personality, restaurateur and entrepreneur. He first published at the age of 16, and by 21 he won the Romanian Writers’ Union Debut Prize. He soon became the “enfant terrible of Romanian literature”. By the late 1980s, his activism brought him on a collision course with the communist authorities and in the spring of 1989 he was placed under house arrest for denouncing, in the French newspaper Libération, the horrors of Ceaușescu’s Romania. He was the first man who, in December 1989, announced the fall of communism on the Romanian Television. In the aftermath of the Romanian Revolution, Dinescu published his most important work, “O beție cu Marx” [A Drink with Marx], translated into several languages. In 1991, he founded the satirical review “Academia Cațavencu” [Catavencu Academy], followed by the monthly magazine “Plai cu boi” [Land of Bulls] and the satirical weekly “Aspirina Săracului” [The Poor Man’s Aspirin]. In May 2005, he founded the newspaper “Gândul” [Pensiero]. His literary work is acclaimed both at home and abroad, and in 1991 he became an honorary member of the University of Augusta. In 1999, he is awarded the Herder prize for his literary works by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation and in 2003 Time magazine nominated him “hero of the year” in the Hate Busters category. In Britain, Forest Books published “Exile on a Peppercorn” (translated by Andrea Deletant and Brenda Walker) in 1985. Further publications include Brendan Kennelly’s translation in John Fairleigh’s anthology “When the Tunnels Meet: Contemporary Romanian Poetry” (Bloodaxe Books, 1996) and “The Barbarian’s Return: Selected Poems”, translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Lidia Vianu (Bloodaxe, 2018).
Neil Astley is editor of Bloodaxe Books, which he founded in 1978. His books include novels, poetry collections and anthologies, most notably the Bloodaxe “Staying Alive” trilogy: “Staying Alive” (2002), “Being Alive” (2004) and “Being Human” (2011), which were followed by “Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy” (2012). He has published two novels, “The End of My Tether” (Flambard, 2002; Scribner, 2003), which was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award, and “The Sheep Who Changed the World” (Flambard, 2005). In 2012 Candlestick Press published his selection of “Ten Poems About Sheep” in its renowned pamphlet series. He received an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry and was given a D.Litt from Newcastle University for his work with Bloodaxe Books. He serves on the board of Ledbury Poetry Festival as a trustee. He was formerly an organiser of Newcastle Literary Festival, and as a director for three years of the Poetry Book Society he was responsible for the addition of poetry in translation to the book club's remit; he was also a member of the development committee of Cúirt International Literature Festival in Galway, Ireland. Most recently, he guest-edited the Spring 2015 issue of the American literary journal Ploughshares, the first all-poetry issue in its 44-year history.
When: Friday 8 June 2018, 7pm
Where: RCI London, 1 Belgrave Square. Free entry, please book your tickets on Eventbrite.