Latvia prepares to get London introverted

Take note – story published 7 years and 3 months ago

They have glasses, dark sweaters and are introverted -- but they don't like to talk about it!

Writers, scribblers, literary types, men of letters, wordsmiths, verbwrights: call them whatever you like, they write things. In Latvian! And hopefully soon in other languages too!

Latvia's preparations to deploy a crack unit of literary commandos at the London Book Fair next week are reportedly complete, with the elite quill-twitchers fully prepped to descend upon the international extravaganza alongside similar units from Estonia and Lithuania.

And here are some of the thoughts of these intelligent Indispensables, this diacritical Dirty Dozen, ahead of a series of events that aim to spread Latvian literature across London, the city of which Samuel Johnson so memorably said: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford."

Until now, without Latvian lit on the menu, that claim was clearly spurious. But with the English metropolis soon to be fully informed re: Baltic prosody and poetry, Johnson's assertion may finally be justified!

First we have novelist, critic, commentator, thinker -- sheesh, it's quicker to list what he is not rather than what he is -- Pauls Bankovskis. Carefully avoiding eye contact, he explains why Latvian letter-mongers are such a bunch of introverts.

"I sometimes find it hard to reply to the question 'How are you?'," Pauls admits, which may be something of an issue when it comes to meeting potential UK publishers. However, when he raises his eyes to the camera at he end of his musings, it is as a brand upon the soul!

Next up, and apparently wearing the same clothes and spectacles, is writer Oskars Zebris who uses his two minute YouTube video to caution against "vacuous babbling". By almost smiling on several occasions, Zebris gives the lie to the assumption that introverts are completely without a sense of humor. However, his final face-off to the camera is one of wordless and unending defiance! 

Next to the party is Artis Ostups. In a radical move he sports a dark shirt instead of a dark sweater and his glasses are only half-rimmed. 

In Ostups' opinion, being introverted means "seldom giving a categorical opinion in public" which again, makes YouTube a surprising choice of medium.

"Introverts also avoid speaking just for the sake of it," Ostups explains, before ending on a high when he describes how introverts can, on occasion when all the random factors and planetary alignments are in their favor, maintain eye contact. One can only admire the courage it took to say this on camera!

So keep an eye open for Latvia's detachment of introverted intellectuals in London next week. If you don't see the frontline frontispiece force on the joint Baltic stand, they can probably be located locked in the toilets with the lights off, rocking gently back and forth as they write something brilliant.

Follow all the fun using the #iamintrovert hashtag.

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