Bookfest 2017 kicks off: One million books, 400 events, Sweden – Honorary Guest

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About 400 events – book launches, children’s activities, shows, plays and concerts – will be held at the 12th edition of the Bookfest International Book Fair, which opened on Wednesday in Bucharest at Romexpo’s C1, C2, C4 and C5 pavilions and lasts until Sunday.

Anneli Lindhal Kenny (photo), ambassador of Sweden (Honorary Guest at this edition),  Tamar Samash, Ambassador of Israel  (Honorary Guest at Bookfest 2016)  and Hans Klemm, ambassador of the United States of America (due to be Honorary Guest at Bookfest 2018), were present at the opening ceremony.

The event was also attended by the presidential advisor, Sergiu Nistor, who conferred for the second consecutive time the High Patronage of the President of Romania for the Bookfest International Fair, the Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Culture, Irina Cajal, and Grigore Arsene, the President of the Romanian Publishers Association (AER), the organiser of the event.

Well known writers, such as Gabriel Liiceanu, Andrei Plesu and Mircea Cartarescu, Gabriela Adamesteanu, Lucian Dan Teodorovici , Florin Iaru, Nicolae Breban, Radu Paraschivescu, Nicolae Manolescu, Cornel Ungureanu, Mircea Mihaies will launch books. During the five days of the Fair, some of the most well-known and appreciated journalists will introduce books at Bookfest, alongside Attorney General Augustin Lazar and former Deputy Prime Minister Vasile Dancu.

Children will be spoiled at the 2017 Bookfest edition, the participating publishing houses preparing for them for a number of surprises, contests, scientific workshops, asphalt drawings, or theater plays.

Sweden, the honorary guest of this year’s edition of the Fair participates with the slogan “Sweden: Creating Stories” and it will have its stall located in C4 Pavilion.

Sweden’s guests to Bookfest are book illustrators and children’s books writers Stina Wirsen and Marten Sanden, poetesses Athena Farrokhzad and Cecilia Hansson, writers Majgull Axelsson and Aris Fioretos, as well as editor Jacob Dalborg, general manager of Bonnierförlagsgrupp, one of the most important publishing houses trusts in the world, Johannes Klenell, editor of one of the oldest European comics magazine in the world, ‘Galago’, and Romanian-born Pioneer Press editor, cultural manager and illustrator, Arina Stoenescu.

According to the Swedish Embassy in Bucharest, the Swedish exhibition “Where are children growing” will be inaugurated and a children’s workshop entitled “Respect for Diversity” will take place on Wednesday, at 15:00 hrs; the “Swedish Crime Scenes” exhibition will be inaugurated on Thursday, at 17:00 hrs and also an event will be held on the mysteries of the success of Nordic Noir literature, led by Virginia Costeschi as host and helped by Andreea Chebac and George Arion, Crime Scene Press editor.

At the same time, publishers and authors interested in seeing the works published in Swedish could learn more about the translation support strategies in Romania and Sweden during an event that was held on the very first day from 16:00 hrs in Sweden’s stall attended by Bogdan Popescu, director of the the Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR) Book Centre, and Mihai Leontescu, Projects and Communication Officer at the Swedish Embassy.

Event of the editorial industry with a significant international dimension, the Bookfest International Book Fair, is organized by the Romanian Publishers’ Association, under the aegis of the Romanian Publishers Federation, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and National Identity.

 

CultMin Vulpescu at Bookfest opening: Culture, a daily matter; democratising access to culture, very important

 

Culture is a daily matter, and a book festival helps raise awareness over the importance of reading, Minister of Culture and National Identity Ionut Vulpescu told the opening on Wednesday of the 12th edition of the Bookfest Bucharest International Book Fair.

He also mentioned the tax incentives for culture he adopted during his previous ministerial tenure.

“I am very happy to remember me here on this stage, the Agora Hall, two years ago, when I also was in office, unveiling a cut in the Value-Added Tax (VAT for books, an initiative that I had promoted as an amendment to the Tax Code, which came into force in the meantime; and so, since January 1, 2016, the VAT for books and printed materials in Romania has been five percent, one of the lowest in the entire European Union,” said Vulpescu.

He also stated himself in favour of “access to culture being democratised.”

“I believe we should continue to encourage such trade fairs through reading campaigns. (…) Democratising access to culture is indeed a highly important thing we should be doing. Easing up the tax burden was an important thing that became visible in a larger number of books having been sold. Yet, problems persist with distribution, and I believe encouraging a nationwide acquisition system would be very important. There are things in the government programme that regard our identity and the charm of Romanian literature that should have been done if they were not in there. We are under an obligation, and there is a responsibility incumbent on us to the children who are here right from the start. And I remember a very important writer says reading makes people smart and happy,” Vulpescu concluded.

 

Ambassador Anneli Lindahl Kenny: Sweden’s main objective at the trade fair is to build several bridges with Romania

 

Ambassador Anneli Lindahl Kenny (photo) said her country will be displaying under the motto “Sweden: Creating Stories,” because stories inspire and by sharing stories people understand each other.

According to the ambassador, Sweden’s main objective at the trade fair is to build several bridges with Romania.

Kenny added that Sweden’s various events at Bookfest are designed to highlight and promote the importance of education, gender equality, social inclusion and diversity.

She said there will be two Swedish exhibitions at the fair, one promoting children’s literature and the other the Nordic noir genre.

As far as children’s events are concerned, the ambassador voiced satisfaction with having invited about 120 institutionalised children from Bucharest orphanages, adding that many Romanian families with children are expected at the fair at the weekend.

Presidential adviser Sergiu Nistor awarded for the second time, the high aegis of Romania’s President to the Bookfest fair, remaking that the event has become “a public service, a public commodity,” with the guests of honour having become Romania’s guests of honour.

The host, Chairman of the Association of Romania’s Publishers Grigore Arsene revealed the findings of a study by the Federation of Europe’s Publishers indicating that Romania has a lot to do as far as written culture is concerned.

“Although Romania is the sixth largest country in the EU in terms of population size after the UK exits, all reading parameters place Romania quite bad. There is a parameter that I find very relevant, even if not many people agree, although I think they should: when you count those reading about ten books a year, let us call them the average elite, Romania is the last by far, at just 2.8 percent, against an average of 20-25 percent and even 30 percent,” said Arsene.

 

Photo: Agerpres