Bookfest closes its gates

The fifth edition of the Bookfest International Book Salon, an event which took place between June 9 and 13, closed on Sunday, after five days of book launches, roundtables, meetings with writers, debates or music and poetry recitals at the Romexpo Exhibition Centre in the Capital.

Organised by the Romanian Editors’ Association (AER), under the aegis of the Romanian Editors’ Federation (FER), the manifestation, which, according to the AER chairman, Grigore Arsene, “became an important fair for the Romanian book market,” hosted over 250 launches of books, magazines, CDs and audio books, as well as other events.

During the five days of the Salon, to which the public’s access was free, most of the 150 publishing houses attending the event, among which, Humanitas, Polirom, Corint, Cartea Romaneasca, Paralela 45, RAO, Nemira, Curtea Veche Publishing, Editura ICR, Univers, Vremea, Univers Enciclopedic, Erc Press, All, awaited their readers with significant discounts, ranging between 20 and 70 per cent, so that, at many of the stands those who wished could buy a book at RON 5, 10 or 15.

The authors who launched freshly-published books at Bookfest include Mircea Cartarescu, Gabriel Liiceanu, Andrei Oisteanu, Vasile Dancu, Dumitru Popescu, Dinu C. Giurescu, Cristian Preda, Adrian Cioroianu, Ion Cristoiu, Grigore Cartianu, Oreste Teodorescu, some of whom gratified publishing houses with genuine best-sellers.

Although organisers had announced they would attend the fair, the president Traian Basescu and the Central Bank governor, Mugur Isarescu, did not make it. On the other hand, the former head of state Ion Iliescu came to launch his book, “20 Years Later – 1989, a turning-point in national history and international life”. In this edition, organisers took the step of turning the salon into an international manifestation, with Spain as its honorary guest, which presupposed not only its attending the fair by a major stand, in Pavilion 13, but also by a series of manifestations – book launches, debates, concerts, exhibitions – meant to give the event a fresh colouring.

“We’ve tried to turn the manifestation into a genuine salon, rather than a fair, so that it should not merely be a site for buying and selling books, but also host meetings between cultural figures, no matter which means of expression they use,” the executive director of AER, Cristina Poterasoiu, stated, for Agerpres, arguing that, “if, for five days, at Bookfest, the books had their say, after the closing of the fair, figures will have their say, for each publisher.”

The former head of the Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR) Madrid, Horia Barna, the director of the “Spain at Bookfest 2010” pilot project, argued that, by this initiative, Bucharest was set on the map of grand European international fairs. “We wish to start a tradition, in which we will invite an important country, around which other, smaller, guests should gravitate,” Barna said, adding that the Spanish Ministry of Culture and the Spanish Editors’ Federation had declared “most satisfied” with the results of their participation in Bookfest 2010.

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