Diversity and Unity
Olga Tokarczuk
Jaan Kross
Steve sem-sandberg and dagmar hartlova photo  zuzana dittrichiva1
Steve Sem-Sandberg (photo Zuzana Dittrichiva)

Welcome to Transcript, the new internet review of books and writing in Europe. Our aim is to bring the best writing from countries whose internal markets are small to countries which constitute a large market.

In this the first issue, we introduce readers of French, German and English to, among others, Jaan Kross of Estonia, Drago Jancar of Slovenia, Olga Tokarczuk of Poland, Steve Sem-Sandberg of Sweden, Rhea Galanaki of Greece, and Wiliam Owen Roberts of Wales.

The ideas which have given rise to Transcript are essential to the future of the European Union as it prepares to welcome ten new members. The enlarged Union of tomorrow will know cultural prosperity only if a pattern of mutual enrichment is established between its members. In economic terms, the West offers much to new members in the East. But there are dangers. As the European Union expands, shall it confuse democracy with marketing, contributing ultimately to cultural impoverishment? In human terms, the East holds much for its Western neighbours. It offers the distinct and varied voices of an older Europe. The West must listen to and assimilate these voices.

Not all countries whose voices Transcript hopes to amplify are in the East. Some are peripheral in their own regional context, microcosms reflecting the structure of the macrocosm: Portugal and Catalonia in Iberia; Scotland, Wales in Britain; Norway, Sweden and Iceland in the Germanic world.

Transcript, while providing a forum for many, shall work primarily to promote excellence. Irish or Greek, Finnish or Hungarian: a troubled history alone is not enough to merit patronage. Writers need time: given this they must hone their own idiom and take the initiative.

Transcript invites you now to cross frontiers new and old, and to consolidate the diversity which will define the Europe of tomorrow.

Diarmuid Johnson, editor

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