PREVIEW: Georgia’s Fantastic Tavern: Where Europe Meets Asia

The online festival celebrating Georgian writers, with food and song inspired by the café culture of the first democratic republic of 1918-21, will take place between the 25th-28th February.

The festival is set to mark the centenary of Soviet invasion of Georgia and 30th anniversary of independence, taking place across four days and is virtual writers’ festival with an element of music and food.

Created by the festival’s Artistic Director, Maya Jaggi, and Writers’ House of Georgia in partnership with with the British Library in London and Words Without Borders in New York, some of the highlights of the festival include:

Welcome song specially recorded in Georgian by the British-Georgian singer songwriter Katie Melua in lockdown. The multiple platinum award-winner is later in conversation about her Georgian childhood and songwriting influences.

•      Opening ‘meet the author’ with Nino Haratischvili, multiple-award-winning novelist of the 900-page family sagaThe Eighth Life (a Georgian War and Peace or Tin Drum), whose characters include Stalin and his henchman Beria.

•      Georgian-born Russian crime writer Boris Akunin, who has sold 20 million books inspired by Sherlock Holmes in Russia alone, speaking about his Georgian roots, how Russians see his father’s country and how Georgians see Russia – with which the country fought a war in 2008.

•      Culinary demonstration in Tbilisi of one of the world’s fast-emerging cuisines by young innovator Luka Nachkebia, TV juror on national hit MasterChef Georgia, who speaks about feasting as therapy in time of pandemic.

The festival is also set to include talks from lifelong pro-democracy protester and TV book show host Dato Turashvili, whose new play The Republic of Georgia had a staged reading in New York, filmmaker Nana Ekvtimishvili, novelist Tamta Melashvili speak about creative women breaking out in the 1920s – and now and cartoonist and satirist Lasha Bugadze, whose writing so scandalised the Orthodox Church that they threatened him with excommunication in the 21st century, on how he turned the episode into an acclaimed novel in Georgian.

Georgia’s Fantastic Tavern: Where Europe Meets Asialive streamed for a global English-language audience, is a virtual sequel in the pandemic era to Where Europe Meets Asia: Georgia25, the UK’s first festival of Georgian writers. Curated by Maya Jaggi, this was held in London five years ago.

To find out more about the festival visit:

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