Lucy Popescu
Lucy Popescu is a writer, editor and arts critic with a background in literature, theatre and human rights. She worked with the English Centre of PEN, the international association of writers, for over 20 years and was Director of its Writers in Prison Committee from 1991 to 2006. Lucy is currently a volunteer mentor for the creative writing programme of Freedom from Torture and edited its most recent anthology, Body Maps, published in June 2011. The Good Tourist, her book about human rights and ethical travel, was published by Arcadia Books in late 2008. She co-edited the PEN anthology Another Sky (Profile Books, 2007) featuring the work of writers that PEN has helped over the last 40 years. She was Granada’s youngest published author in 1982 with Pony Holiday Book. Lucy reviews books for various publications, including the Independent, Independent on Sunday and TLS. She also has a regular column in The Literary Review about persecuted writers. She is a Trustee of the JMK Award for Theatre Directors and co-director of the Sri Lanka Campaign. She is currently crowdfunding for A Country of Refuge, an anthology of writings about asylum seekers, including contributions from Monica Ali, Sebastian Barry, William Boyd and Marina Lewycka. Visit Unbound Books for more information.

Entries by Lucy Popescu

European Literature Days

(0) Comments | Posted 31 October 2015 | (20:50)

The European Literature Days (ELiT) festival held in the Wachau region of Austria encourages cultural exchange between European based writers, translators, publishers and readers. This year the overall theme was "The Migrants", a loaded term and geopolitically relevant given the refugee crisis currently being played out in central...

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Summer Reading - Literary Fiction in Translation

(0) Comments | Posted 4 August 2015 | (12:09)

If you love literary fiction in translation, travelling to different times and other worlds, three must reads for late summer include One Night, Markovitch by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck and The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud. All three embrace big themes - existentialism, identity, love,...

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European Literature Days - 2014

(0) Comments | Posted 27 October 2014 | (10:10)

I've just returned from the sixth meeting of European Literature Days (ELiT), a literary festival held in the small picturesque town of Spitz in Austria overlooking the River Danube. I always get to meet new authors, some not yet translated into English, like the prolific Marica...

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Autumn Reads - New Literary Fiction in Translation

(0) Comments | Posted 1 September 2014 | (18:42)

"Literary works stem from memories, whether recent or remote, whether our own or those of others...we are left to work with what already exists: recreating, reinventing, that is to say recalling it in all its horror and its harmony. It is our safeguard against death."

So remarks Colombian novelist...

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Theatre Review - The Roof

(0) Comments | Posted 13 June 2014 | (16:02)

For their latest show, The Roof, presented by Fuel as part of the London International Festival of Theatre, choreographer Frauke Requardt and David Rosenberg (co-founder of artist collective Shunt) have transformed the open air car park across the road from the National Theatre into...
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Film Review - Half Of A Yellow Sun

(0) Comments | Posted 9 April 2014 | (15:23)

Half Of A Yellow Sun takes its name from the flag of Biafra, the breakaway state which existed in Igbo-dominated south-east Nigeria from 1967 to 1970. The brutal civil war that followed the secession is the backdrop to Biyi Bandele's absorbing feature-film debut, adapted...
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Book Review - A Country Too Far

(0) Comments | Posted 10 February 2014 | (21:24)

A Country Too Far, co-edited by Rosie Scott and Tom Keneally, is a timely attempt to set the record straight about asylum seekers in Australia, to counter the negative media propaganda and to protest at the government's treatment of them. Featuring some of Australia's finest writers, it is an immensely...

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Book Review - The Assassin from Apricot City

(0) Comments | Posted 30 January 2014 | (19:31)

In The Assassin from Apricot City, Polish writer Witold Szablowski strikes an excellent balance between hard-hitting journalism, astute political analysis, and humorous observations. His reportage provides a fascinating insight into contemporary Turkey, its strengths and many contradictions.

Szablowski begins by exploring the diversity of opinion surrounding the demonstrations that...

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Book Review - A Meal in Winter

(0) Comments | Posted 10 December 2013 | (13:03)

2013-12-10-amealinwinter.jpgBefore "The Final Solution" around two million Jews were shot and buried in mass graves in Nazi-occupied Poland. The extent of popular anti-Semitism in Poland during World War II continues to be debated today. Both form the backdrop to Hubert Mingarelli's masterful novella.

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Film Review - The Act of Killing

(0) Comments | Posted 1 December 2013 | (18:36)

Although it does not make easy viewing, Joshua Oppenheimer's surreal and chilling documentary, The Act of Killing, recently released on DVD, is a must see. Oppenheimer looks back to 1960s Indonesia, a time of brutal bloodshed when more than a million alleged Communists, ethnic...
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Book Review - The Aziz Bey Incident

(0) Comments | Posted 9 November 2013 | (13:32)

Ayfer Tunç, an acclaimed novelist and short story writer in her native Turkey, is widely translated abroad but little known in English. In this engaging short story collection, we follow the fortunes of various characters, defeated by circumstances or forces outside their...

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European Literature Days 2013

(0) Comments | Posted 4 November 2013 | (12:37)

Every year I am invited to a charming and informative literary festival in Austria called European Literature Days (ELiT). It's held in the small town of Spitz, next to the River Danube in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wachau. During...
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Book Review - Write Against Impunity

(0) Comments | Posted 30 October 2013 | (21:48)

Freedom of expression is a noisy, uncomfortable, disorderly business. Emotional and intellectual discomfort is the characteristic of a healthy society. John Ralston Saul, President, PEN International, Write Against Impunity, 2012

The Day of the Dead (El Día de Muertos) is celebrated in Latin America from 31 October to 2...

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Book Review - All Dogs Are Blue

(0) Comments | Posted 26 September 2013 | (23:47)

Rodrigo de Souza Leão deliberately blurs the line between reality and fantasy in his heartbreaking portrayal of life in a Rio mental asylum. A poet and novelist, Souza Leão was himself confined to home and mental institutions for most of his life and died in a psychiatric clinic, aged just...

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Book Review - The Parrots

(0) Comments | Posted 25 September 2013 | (16:53)

Filippo Bologna's debut, How I won the War, was an entertaining and lively satire about land development in Tuscany. The Parrots focuses on the world of literary awards with the restless energy of Rome as its backdrop.

Three nameless authors are competing for a major prize. The Beginner's first and...

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Reykjavik International Literary Festival

(0) Comments | Posted 22 September 2013 | (13:48)

The weather was hostile but the welcome warm at the Reykjavik International Literary Festival. Many world renowned writers, including Margaret Atwood, J.M. Coetzee, Herta Muller and Haruki Murakami, have attended this festival since its inauguration in 1985 and this year was no exception....
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Book Review - Sefer by Ewa Lipska

(0) Comments | Posted 5 September 2013 | (17:39)

Ewa Lipska is an acclaimed Polish poet and a major figure in European literature. Hopefully, this new translation of her complex, haunting novella, Sefer, will widen her English readership.

Lipska's main protagonist is Jan Sefer, a psychotherapist, who enjoys a comfortable existence in...

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Book Review - The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls

(0) Comments | Posted 28 August 2013 | (23:37)

Horses are increasingly being used to help young offenders, troubled adults and difficult children. In Anton DiSclafani's debut novel, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, fifteen-year-old Thea is sent to an elite summer camp-cum-boarding school, ostensibly as a punishment for her sexually precocious behaviour...
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Film Review - Come As You Are (Hasta La Vista)

(0) Comments | Posted 4 June 2013 | (20:28)


Come As You Are (Hasta La Vista), a quirky, heart-warming film, may just become the surprise hit of the summer. It's in Flemish (with a Spanish sub-title just to confuse us) and is about three disabled young men trying to lose their virginity. In...

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Film Review - Alps

(0) Comments | Posted 11 March 2013 | (14:10)

Greek auteur Giorgos Lanthimos' latest venture, Alps, is out on DVD this week and proves as unsettling, bizarre and memorable as his acclaimed 2009 feature film Dogtooth.

A group of people hire themselves out to the newly bereaved. They are led by...

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