What a great way to end my working week. We ventured out to Wapping on Maundy Thursday evening to attend a reading in a greenhouse. A clear, cold evening, and after a couple of wrong turns we eventually arrived at our destination: The Wapping Project Bookshop – yes, a bookshop in a greenhouse, located in the grounds of the old Wapping Hydraulic Power Station.
Around twenty people squeezed into the greenhouse for one of the most intimate readings I’ve ever attended. And we were treated to two contrasting and revelatory readings, both from recent CB editions publications. First up, the Slovenian writer Miha Mazzini talking about and reading from his novel The German Lottery, set in 1950s Yugoslavia and narrated by a resolutely unperceptive postman. The extract Mazzini read was funny and engaging and playful. I’m really looking forward to reading the novel and discovering a new writer (for me – Mazzini is, apparently, the author of twenty-three books).
Then Beverley Bie Brahic read from her translations of Apollinaire poems, The Little Auto. Many of the poems were written during the First World War and came out of Apollinaire’s experiences of the trenches. It was fascinating to hear these French war poems, as we all huddled in a confined space with a helicopter thrumming briefly overhead; and to find the poems so fresh and challenging, still, a century on.
Then out, into the cold night, under a nearly full moon, clutching our handsome CB editions books, both signed.
P.S. I just love the sound of the word ‘Maundy’. And the fact it heralds Good Friday and a very welcome few days’ downtime.