Housmans is very pleased to host the launch of independent publishers Comma Press's latest instalment of their Reading the City series. Comma Press bring The Book of Riga to UK readers, featuring some of Latvia's best known and most exciting short story writers. This launch coincides with the Baltic States Market Focus at London Book Fair.
Located on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, Riga is not just the capital of Latvia, but the largest city in the Baltic region.
In the year in which Latvia celebrates a centenary as an independent state, we bring you stories which demonstrate how Riga has established itself as a vibrant creative centre, attracting artists, performers and writers from across the region and beyond.
This rare showcase of contemporary Latvian writing gathers together stories by some of the country's finest writers, chronicling the city's continuing growth and transformation after centuries of foreign rule.
Reflecting on the past, and looking to the future of the city once dubbed 'the Paris of the North', these stories are told with dark humour, cynicism, and compare what was and what can become reality if it's citizens aspire to greatness.
Readings by special guest authors (all the way from Riga) Svens Kuzmins and Dace Ruksane.
The foreword of the collection is written by Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of the Republic of Latvia (1999-2007).
"Latvian poet Aleksandrs Čaks described Riga as 'gold swallow and swing of happiness'. The Book of Riga takes us on a magical journey to this Baltic city on the Daugava river. The storytellers in this collection show an extraordinary love for their hometown, from the hearts of natives of Riga and from the depths of language." -Nora Ikstena, Market Focus Author of the Day at the London Book Fair 2018
About the Authors and Host
Sven Kuzmins (1985) is a Latvian writer, artist and actor. He mainly writes prose fiction, critical articles, and journalism, but also experiments with various forms of visual arts and literature.
He is actively involved in other media projects, and is known to the wider public as one of the initiators and authors behind the NERTEN sketch theatre project. Pilsetas šamani/ Urban Shamans (Dienas Gramata, 2016) is Kuzmins' first collection of stories, complimented by his own graphic drawings. His works have been translated into English, Russian and Lithuanian, and published in various printed and online platforms.
Dace Rukšane-Ščipčinska (born 1969) is a Latvian writer and jounalist. After finishing high school she studied Medicine and Biology and additionally participated in the SOURCES 2 Script Development Workshop in Vienna. Rukšane became known in 2002 for her novel Romaninš/The Little Affair that touched upon the subjects of feminine sexuality gained great popularity. It was followed by books Beatrises gultas stasti/ Bedtime Stories of Beatrice, and Kapec tu raudaji?/ Why were you crying?, as well as several articles and columns devoted to intimate subject matters and relationships.
During the 1990's Rukšane wrote poetry, and in early 2000's several of her plays were staged in various theatres in Latvia. Her novels have been published in Germany and Denmark. In 2002, Rukšane became a regular contributor to a weekly column in Sestdiena magazine. From 2004 until 2012 she was editor-in-chief of Lilit magazine.
West Camel is a writer, reviewer and editor. He currently edits literary fiction for Orenda Books and writes about literature for a variety of organisations, including the European Literature Network. He is editor of The Riveter magazine. www.westcamel.net.
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