“High Five!” builds on the work Black Fountain Press began in 2018 with the anthology “Fresh from the Fountain”, featuring works by 29 writers. “We asked five authors to submit longer pieces or we asked for cycles of poetry or a longer piece to basically give an insight into what these writers are doing and allow for greater intimacy between the reader and the author,” the publishing house's Anne-Marie Reuter told Delano.
Of the five contributors, the work of three was featured in the previous anthology: Joanna Easter (British-Luxembourger) Cecile Somers (Dutch-Luxembourger) and Wendy Winn (American-Luxembourger). The latter two had separately submitted works of poetry to the publishing house as had Fabienne Faust, author of the cycle "Journeys", who has previously published work in French with éditions Phi. “Her [Fabienne Faust's] poetry is quite stunning […] She sent a whole collection we would have loved to have published but it wasn’t possible. This now seems a very good way to combine these five authors,” Reuter said.
The five contributors, clockwise from top left: Fabienne Faust, Wendy Winn, Cecile Somers, Joanna Easter and Larisa Faber. Photo montage by Delano.
The fifth contributor is Luxembourg actress Larisa Faber whose monologue "stark bollock naked" she performed live in September as part of the Camden People's Theatre contest. “It’s quite a striking play as far as themes are concerned. It’s sort of unsettling, possibly shocking, definitely very innovative in style about the topic of motherhood and abortion,” the publisher explained.
The publishing house gave no prescribed topic for the contributors to draw from, so it is surprising that a theme establishes itself within the thread of memory, be it through illness or otherwise. Winn’s cycle, "thicker than water", for example, speaks about dementia and the illness of loved ones. “It’s still uplifting but maybe a bit more thoughtful and deeper, maybe slightly sadder also than most of her other poetry,” Reuter said.
In "Dr Alzheimer's Jukebox or The Randomness of Forgotten Thoughts" Cecile Somers, meanwhile, plays on the idea of forgetfulness and aging, in the aftermath of painful relationships. While it is not featured in the book, the first play Faber wrote and performed in Luxembourg, “Disco Dementia”, also touched on this theme. While Easter’s short story, “Driving Through My Home Town At Night,” remembers certain events and examines the idea of letting go. “In the end I think it’s a fascinating collection,” Reuter said.
The four founders of the English language publishing house from left: Laurent Fels, Anne-Marie Reuter, Jeff Thill and Nathalie Jacoby. Photo: Black Fountain Press
Black Fountain Press was founded in 2017 by a group of literature-loving friends who all had a close connection with the English language. The four founders, who run the publishing house alongside their full-time jobs, hoped to elevate English-language literature in Luxembourg and support local writers. Thusfar they have published three books “On the Edge”, a book of short stories by Reuter, “One day I will write a poem”, an anthology of Lambert Schlechter's poems translated into English, and “Fresh from the Fountain”. The latter is used in one of the University of Luxembourg’s courses.
In addition to publishing, the house also organises several events and a young writer’s contest. “We want the public to get to know the authors and we hope we keep the book alive,” Reuter said. In 2020, the young voices contest will be expanded to include a category for university students to submit their works. “The exciting bit is there’s going to be a book with the winning texts,” Reuter explained.
Attend the public launch for “High Five!” on 11 October, at 6:30pm Oekosoph, 6 rue Vauban, 2663 Luxembourg-Pfaffenthal.
"High Five!" can be purchased from most Luxembourg bookstores or directly from Black Fountain Press for €17.