224th edition of the Gaudeamus International Book Fair opens its gates with lots of surprises for the reading aficionados

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Visniec: Romania, extremely competitive in culture. Cristea: It is a world first for the European Union to be honoured at an international book fair

 

Honourary chairman of the Gaudeamus 2017 book trade fair in Bucharest, playwright and journalist Matei Visniec, said on Wednesday, at the opening of event, that Romania is extremely competitive on a cultural level, adding that creativity, along with books and culture make up the mental binder of Europe.

“Romania is extremely competitive, first and foremost on a cultural level. I am delighted to be here, surrounded by people who believe, like me, that Romania’s gigantic, enormous asset is Romanian culture, Romanian creativity. Currently, it is the Romanian artists, more than any other professionals, that make Romania exist in the world imagination,” said Visniec.

He pointed out that his message comes at a moment of “frailty” in Europe. “I have come bearing this message at a time when Europe is frail. We are here in a temple of books, in a laboratory of imagination, and it is happens that imagination is precisely what we just need now to restart Europe. Because it is the only boat that contains us all. There is no other alternative, ideology or utopia, but this common house. When I pronounce Europe, this name to me conjures primarily the birthplace of this fantastic object that is the book. If we were to choose one word to describe Europe, we could use the word ‘book’ or ‘culture.’ (…) The true identity of this space that Romania has joined is culture. The book is Europe’s mental binder and, first of all, creativity,” Visniec said.

In her turn, the head of the European Commission Representation in Romania, Angela Cristea, who spoke on behalf of the guest of honour of this edition of Gaudeamus, the European Union, whose stand is titled “Home in Europe,” said that this is a world first.

“I think it is a world first for the European Union to be honoured at an international book fair, and so we have tried to prepare for you, the reading aficionados, a stand that will make you feel at home. We will discuss at this stand, in many events, issues of the workplace and personal life, because one of our preoccupations in the European Union is to help the citizen find the best balance between professional life and personal life,” said Cristea.

She mentioned workshops that talk about the Erasmus programme, the EU’s investment plan, the future of the European Union, and about “how to read, eat healthy or enjoy the present.”

Pointing to the tradition of the 24 editions of the Gaudeamus Fair, Culture and National Identity Minister Lucian Romascanu announced that a series of “very concrete plans to encourage reading” had been set at a meeting with representatives of the Association of Romania’s Book Publishers and Distributors.

“One of them will also include Gaudeamus, so that in partnership, because it is already the owner of an extremely important savoir faire, we can make the Gaudeamus Traveller event a meeting place not only for Radio Romania’s local offices but also in all the county capitals, so that people, young people, students and children may have the opportunity to get their hands on a printed book, because there is no equal experience to reading a printed book,” said Romascanu.

President and CEO of the Romanian National Radio Broadcasting Corporation (SRR) Georgica Severin said that “perhaps the most successful cultural form in which SRR has manifested itself in the last quarter of a century is Gaudeamus, proof that when you love culture, when you love books and above all when you are not willing to compromise, this phenomenon may exist.”

Chair of the Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR), a Gaudeamus – Radio Romania partner, Liliana Turoiu, remarked that, just like at all trade fairs it has organised abroad, ICR at Gaudeamus speaks about the same thing, the publishing market of Romania.

About 300 exhibitors, more than 800 around-the-clock publishing and professional events, personalities of the Romanian national cultural landscape, numerous workshops and events for the youngest visitors are the highlights of the 24th edition of the Gaudeamus International Educational Book Trade Fair, unfolding Wednesday through Sunday at the Romexpo central pavilion in Bucharest, open hours: 10:00hrs-20:00hrs.