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Brussels Writers’ Circle publishes new book of short stories

14:13 17/11/2019

“My doctor told me to write stuff down, said it would help me. Something about ‘gaining a locus of control over unresolved past experiences related to infantile psychosexual impulses and behaviours’. She said I should find a spot where I feel comfortable and can ‘maintain a positive reinforcement of my legitimate needs’. Whatever that means. I suppose she meant somewhere quiet. So, no quieter place than the library. No one ever goes in there.”

And so begins the third anthology of short stories and poetry by members of the Brussels Writers’ Circle (BWC). Already available at Waterstones, the group is hosting a launch party next week.

The 40 stories and poems in The Circle ’19: A Brussels Anthology are by turns amusing, heart-wrenching and harrowing. Sometimes, as in the opener ‘Remember, Remember’, all in one story.

What they all have in common is that they are in English and were written by a Brussels expat. Many of them are British, but contributors come from across the planet, including Greece, Bangladesh, Russia and Canada.

Home away from home

“Though their chosen profession may be doctor, engineer, translator, teacher or diplomat,” says BWC in a statement, “each has captured a little slice of the charm and sophistication, art, culture and architecture, history and humanity inspired by their home-away-from-home city of Brussels.”

Not all the stories are necessarily set in the capital; the settings and subjects are as diverse as the styles. “It was a pleasure to curate this collection,” says Cynthia Huijgens, editor of the new anthology. “The poems and stories of both emerging and very experienced writers blend seamlessly in this contemporary, genre-spanning book. There is literally something for everyone.”

Indeed, there are no limits as to the theme or feel of the story. “If you like science fiction, you’ll love Zoheb Mashiur’s ‘Brand New Me’,” says Huijgens, “romance with a twist, check out Katja Knezveic’s ‘The Dinner’. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, you should definitely read Larisa Doctorow’s ‘The Immortal Regiment’.”

Every piece has been through the BWC’s usual process of writing, presenting to the group, receiving feedback and rewriting. The pieces in the anthology have received extra editorial guidance and attention. Many of the contributors do not speak English as a first language, a fact readers will be hard pressed to notice.

The Circle ’19 launch: 26 November 17.30-19.00, Waterstones, Boulevard Adolphe Max 71; 30 November 19.00, Muntpunt Café, Rue Léopold 2

Written by Lisa Bradshaw