by Pandora Longstreth
Free Word and English PEN have come together to launch a new project, including an online essay series, addressing the question of “our future relationship with Europe and what might be the new narratives for Europe in an interdependent world”.
A current feature of the news revolves around Britain’s current and future involvement as a member of the European Union. In 2013, the President of the European Commission, José Barroso, said that the idea of Europe was in crisis and called for a “new narrative”.
He outlined the important role of culture and stories for this new narrative:
“At a time when culture is perceived as optional rather than essential, It has become difficult to tell each other the simplest of stories, let alone articulate compelling narratives about the values that underpin our society. Yet now is the moment for compelling narratives rather than simple number crunching.”
Following from this statement and initiative, Free Word and English PEN hosted an event on Tuesday 21st October at the Free Word Centre in London inviting key and influential European writers and thinkers Gabriel Gbadamosi, Xiaolu Guo, A.L.Kennedy, Can Yeginsu and Rosie Goldsmith to discuss the future of our relationship with Europe and what might be the new narratives for Europe in an interdependent world.
Following this event and discussion, a series of essays by Gabriel Gbadamosi, Xiaolu Guo, Elif Shafak and George Szirtes are being made available online from the 22nd October. To read and follow these essays on Europe, please visit the Free Word blog and the English PEN website.