Celebrating Literary Week in London: A Journey Through Words and Stories

Maria Bregman, a journalist, writer and contemporary art researcher

In a grand showcase of the richness and diversity of contemporary literature, the prestigious London Salon set the stage for an enchanting Literary Week. The event, held in June, brought together literary enthusiasts, poets, writers, and folklore aficionados in a vibrant celebration of the written word. As attendees stepped into this immersive literary experience, they embarked on a captivating journey that transcended borders and cultural boundaries, weaving together stories that spoke to the universal human experience.

At the heart of Literary Week was the exploration of the influential group known as the “New Amazons.” Nadezhda Azhgikhina, the compiler of the collection “The Girl on the Ball, or Letters from Childhood,” shed light on the history and significance of this group. The collection was published by the Union of Russian Writers with the participation of Svetlana Vasilenko, a well-known writer and co-founder of the literary group of women writers New Amazons. The Union of Russian Writers has been at the forefront of promoting women’s prose, publishing several impactful collections such as “I Have Taught Women to Speak” in two volumes, “Daughter-Mothers,” “Russian Women’s Decameron,” and “Women’s World News.” Currently, the Union is preparing for the publication of “Memory of a Woman’s Kind,” a collection dedicated to the fate of women against the backdrop of history. Through their powerful narratives, the “New Amazons” comprising talented female writers have actively shaped contemporary literary landscapes by challenging societal norms and offering compelling perspectives that deeply resonate with readers.

The presentation of the collection served as a collaborative platform, bringing together a myriad of creative minds, including poets, artists, critics, and journalists. This collective effort enriched “The Girl on the Ball, or Letters from Childhood,” offering readers a multidimensional exploration of the complexities of childhood. Through the curated selection of stories, readers were transported back to the innocence and wonder of youth, prompting reflections on their own personal experiences and the intricacies of human existence.

Bijan Badi, an accomplished performer and a beacon of cultural expression, presented new books dedicated to his mother’s remarkable poetic legacy. Jale Khanum, the celebrated Iranian poet, found her voice immortalized through Badi’s writings, ensuring that her contributions to literature continued to inspire and captivate readers. Badi’s tribute to his mother served as a testament to the enduring power of literary heritage and the profound impact it can have on future generations.

The audience was spellbound by the evocative readings of poets Boris Fabrikant and Margarita Markova. With words that flowed like a river, they crafted verses that intimately reflected the human experience with raw honesty and delicate vulnerability. Through their performances, poetry transcended linguistic barriers, touching the hearts and souls of listeners, and reminding us of the universal language that lies within the written word.

Lidia Grigorieva unveiled new texts from the groundbreaking literary project called “Termitary.” This bold endeavor defied categorization, merging prose, poetry, philosophical essays, and sketches into a symphony of artistic expression. Grigorieva’s readings challenged conventional norms, expanding the horizons of creativity and pushing the boundaries of literary form. Within the sanctuary of the salon, attendees witnessed the birth of a new wave of artistic exploration that blurred the lines between genres and embraced the limitless possibilities of storytelling.

Adding an element of cultural heritage to the Literary Week, Zinaida Petrucheniya enraptured the audience with enchanting performances of Russian and Ukrainian folk songs. Her melodious voice carried the richness of centuries-old traditions, reminding all present of the enduring power of oral storytelling and the deep connection we share with our collective past. Petrucheniya’s performances were a poignant reminder of the intrinsic link between literature, culture, and the preservation of our shared heritage.

As the week unfolded, the international spirit of Literary Week became increasingly evident. Attendees from diverse backgrounds and nationalities filled the salon, forming a vibrant tapestry of cultures and perspectives. Prominent figures such as Milica Pesic, Director of the Media Diversity Institute, and Berkeley University Professor David Tuller highlighted the global significance of the event. They emphasized the role of literature as a bridge that transcends geographical and cultural boundaries, fostering understanding and unity among people. Journalists, readers, and literary enthusiasts from various corners of the world converged in London, proving that the love for words knows no borders.

As Literary Week in London drew to a close, its impact reverberated within the hearts of those who had experienced this exceptional celebration. The event had left an indelible mark on the literary landscape of London and beyond, serving as a reminder of the transformative power of words, the resilience of literary heritage, and the ability of literature to connect people from all walks of life. Literary Week had provided a platform for the convergence of diverse voices, amplifying the importance of storytelling and its capacity to inspire, provoke, and unite us all. It had been an immersive journey through the realms of imagination, reaffirming that the written word remains an unparalleled force in shaping our world.