By Corina Ciobanu
The “Gaudeamus” International Book Fair, the largest of its kind in Romania, closed on Sunday with an impressive record: over 100,000 visitors, 450 participants (Romanian and foreign publishers, book distribution agencies, cultural institutions and seats of learning), over 600 book launches of Romanian and foreign publications and, last, but not least, enhanced visibility on the international map.
Italy lived up to its status as the guest of honour in this year’s edition. The main highlight on the list of events hosted by the Italian Embassy’s bookstall was the conference offered by the actor, director and philosopher Luciano de Crescenzo, who was also paid due homage by being nominated to honorary president of the fair. The introduction of his latest work, “Tutti santi me compreso” (All the Saints, Myself Included) offered the public a perfect opportunity to get acquainted with the Italian author’s original ideas. Covering topics ranging from Giulianna and Isabella, his first lovers, to Saint Augustine and Purgatory, from the difference between love and lust and that between the Stoics and the Epicureans, all the way to the parable of time which can be lived in two ways – horizontally and vertically – and the idea men ultimately fall into two categories – “uomini d’amore” and “uomini di liberta” -, Luciano de Crescenzo astonished his listeners through his eloquence and his original ideas, presented live or through impeccably selected excerpts from his films, beamed onto a screen.
In the past three days, the Italian bookstand hosted a true marathon of meetings with first-rank Italian writers: Valerio Massimo Manfredi, Stefano Zecchi, Francesco Guida, Maurizio Crema, Giorgio Montefoschi, the ever surprising Andrea G. Pinketts, who the Romanian public is already acquainted with, Stenio Solinas and others. It is also worth mentioning the highly interesting presentation of the Italian Publishers Association (AIE) chairman Marco Polilo, another distinguished guest of the fair, titled “L’Editoria in Italia oggi”, as well as the conference of the tireless Italian culture scholar Smaranda Bratu Elian, who presented the “Biblioteca Italiana” collection she is personally coordinating at Humanitas, a cultural action meant to restore classical Italian literature to its rightful place.
Suffice it to mention the presence of several representatives of the national Italian television RAI at Gaudeamus, to get a sense of the importance the prestigious, by now traditional, manifestation in Bucharest is beginning to acquire abroad.
Launches on the last day of the fair included: “Erudita pietate: Poeme alese” by Cezar Ivanescu, “Reflexii si reflexe. Aforisme vesele si triste” de Cornel Regman, at Curtea Veche Publishing, with the participation of Stele Gulea and Emil Hurezeanu, and “Rumanii fericiti” by Cristian Preda, at Polirom.
The fair closed on Sunday with the awarding of the “Gaudeamus Trophies” and the “Most sought-after book of the Fair” title, based on the public’s choice, as reflected in the poll organized among visitors; the Press Trophies, the Education Award and the “Miss Lectura” award, meant to honour the most beautiful visitor of this year’s edition.