Just above the buzz at Maison des Crêpes may be heard reflections from many a bard. Here, literati from far and wide congregate to read aloud, hold a mirror to each others’ metaphor, and occasionally drown it all in another glass of wine. Roughly a dozen writers from the 300-odd Brussels Writers Circle make the scene regularly to offer feedback on each others’ original prose and poetry.
Given the high percentage of expat intelligentsia in capital cities, it’s no surprise that Brussels has become the site of inspired intellectual ferment. With 48% of its population foreign-born according to StatBel’s official figures for 2017, Brussels is vitally cosmopolitan.
Letters are literally leaking from the woodwork, with an upcoming anthology of Brussels writers entitled The Circle, to be released by virtue of a launch party at Waterstones on November 22nd—what better way to engage with other artists on issues of importance and shape our evolutionary trajectory as sentient beings?
The Circle represents the writing of thirty-four authors from nineteen counties in fifty-five works. Promising hacks join prizewinners in this literary fusion, dedicating their cultural diversity to a common passion for the written word. The collection portrays our troubled and exciting times through fiction, poem, and script. This stunning anthology will not only appeal to those familiar with Brussels incognito, but also to those with an appreciation for divine inspiration, as international writers engage with a capital city and its unique way of life.
From January 6-15, Brussels authors presented advance release copies of The Circle at the New Delhi World Book Fair, with this year’s theme as Climate Change, and the European Union as guest of honour. ‘The EU Pavilion’ hosted dozens of presentations by European authors and climate experts, sponsoring international literary dialogue as an imperative for the survival of the species.
To a backdrop of India’s famous smog, Brussels authors read out their works and engaged with Indian audiences and other international writers. Jeanie Keogh, a contributor to The Circle, also read an excerpt of her play Baby Making, tackling overpopulation. JL Morin presented her current manuscript, Loveoid, which takes place this year. The wise choice to set this eco-thriller in the present day ‘immediates’ the bleak climate prognostications we tend to put off until tomorrow.
In addition to participating in ten days of panels related to Climate Change, Brussels authors animated the EU Pavilion at the New Delhi World Book Fair by hosting an Anthropocene Poetry Slam. With odes to nature and verse lamenting the follies of polluters, they succeeded in inspiring Indian poets out of the audience.
Back at the virtual ranch, the Brussels writers have been spinning a communal poem grappling with technology and evolution, in the comments of a post on the Brussels Writers Circle Facebook page, while a core group braved the Siberian freeze for the warm welcome upstairs at the Maison des Crêpes.
Good to know:
- Address: 13, rue du Midi – 1000 – Brussels
- Sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 19:00.