A resonant, intimate, unexpectedly reverent night at the Austrian Cultural Forum this past May 2nd. This was the sixth event in the series I’ve been lucky to do with the ACF, asking contemporary writers and artists to respond to a major figure of 20th century Austrian letters. This event was different as it aimed to illuminate seven Austrians, bound together by the fact they lived in the UK during the 20th, often fleeing Austria because of the Nazis, and all of whom are absolutely remarkable humans whose work is not known here as it should be. This sense of the artists being advocates for the forgotten permeating through the evening, powerfully so. It was impossible not to feel that the vagaries of history and thought and literature are random and strange throughout the works witnessed, as each of the authors celebrated seemed obviously important in their thinking and output. / All the performances are now available here http://www.theenemiesproject.com/illuminations
The event owes itself entirely to my dear friend, Stephen Watts. His knowledge stems from decades reading, attending readings, developing friendships with authors from around the world who have populated London. I had come across some of the authors we celebrated but Stella Rotenberg, Franz Baermann Steiner, Theodor Kramer and Alfred Marnau were new to me.