At the end of March, New Europeans Charlien and Tessa went to Brussels to attend the literary seminar Need and Necessity organized by the international house of literature Passa Porta. Passa Porta invited six established authors and eleven so-called “New Voices” (upcoming authors) from ten different countries to look into the issue of the need and necessity of literature over the course of four days.
The timing could not have been more strange. We arrived a day after the brutal attacks that took place at the Zaventem airport and the Maelbeek metro station in central Brussels. Wandering around the almost empty streets it felt like we were tourists that had come only to experience the disaster that had just happened. What made it even more unreal was the timing of the keynote speech, written by the Ukrainian writer and thinker Andrey Kurkov, one of the established authors that participated in the seminar. The day before we arrived, the day of the attacks, he publicized ‘Which Weapon Should The Writer Choose?‘, which discusses the topic of writing in times of terror.