Variations on a Theme:

Carolina Schutti and Joanna Walsh discuss poetic prose

Joanna Walsh, Carolina Schutti, Jen Calleja Photo: Marta Dziurosz
As part of my role as translator in residence at the Austrian Cultural Forum London, I’ve curated a new miniseries of events entitled Variations on a Theme where Austrian and British authors come together to discuss a theme or subject they share in their work. At the end of February, authors Carolina Schutti and Joanna Walsh joined me in the ACF London’s Salon to discuss their work in the context of the evening’s theme of ‘poetic prose’.

Schutti, whose novel einmal muss ich über weiches gras gelaufen sein (‘once I must have trodden on soft grass’, reviewed in the previous issue of NBG) won the European Prize for Literature in 2015, talked about how rhythm, repetition and music are vital in her work. The stories that make up Joanna Walsh’s new collection Vertigo have been described as being poem-like, and she told us how the poets she admires share her interest in the mundane and the writing of private consciousness. It was a pleasure to talk with these authors and hear about their shared value for precision, of every word counting, and of writing condensed prose that leaves space for the reader’s imagination.

The next Variations on a Theme evening will take place in September. See for details.

By Jen Calleja