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February 6, 2023

Gaudeamus Book Fair closed its doors after five days of book launches, debates, discussions between authors and readers

A heaven for book lovers, the 29th edition of the Gaudeamus Book Fair in Bucharest, organised by Radio Romania with the support of the Culture Ministry, having been resumed after a two-year break , closed its doors on Sunday at Romexpo, with the books by Mircea Cartarescu, Radu Paraschivescu, Gabriel Liiceanu, Gabriela Adamesteanu, or Florin Chirculescu among the top sellers of the 2022 edition.

Over 200 publishing houses took part in the fair, which hosted more than 600 events. Every day, readers visited the book stands which came with a varied offer of new titles and also with reedited books, which reflected in the huge book sales. Children also had a lot of books to pick from.

“ It was a joy for many people the fact that the largest Romanian book fair was finally held in a physical format, after two years of pandemic. The fair’s president of honor, poet Ana Blandiana, said on the opening day that Gaudeamus helps authors and readers discover each other. „Book fairs are generally organized by publishers and publishers’ associations who want to sell their books. Well, the Radio does not have such interest. It is, in a large sense, the most candid of fairs,” Blandiana said. ”Gaudeamus is a book fair which does not have any material interest, because the Radio is only a culture institution and culture is founded on culture. So the Radio’s only interest is for people to read,” the poet also said.

“Teodoros”, the novel of the renowned Romanian writer Mircea Cartarescu has been elected the most wanted book of the fair, following readers’ vote. Cartarescu said that the novel, an old project of his, is a book written with a lot of love, the first one having readers at heart. Cartarescu said that it is only now that he has had the necessary maturity to write such novel. ”It would have been useless to start writing it when I was 25 or 30. Nothing good would have come of it. I had not yet read, at the time, the essential books which are vital in order to be able to write and especially to understand them. I did not have, before, a good understanding of the Bible, which is an essential book. I did not even know about the existence of the so-called Ethiopian Bible, of rare beauty. It is called Kebra Nagast and it corresponds to the traditional Ethiopian Church, which is thousand years old,” Mircea Cartarescu explained.

Gaudeamus also hosted the launch of the book “The First World War and the Great Union of Romanians”, released by Universitaria Publishers, in 6 volumes. It is a project which started in 2016 and has ended this year. Over 120 researchers from various fields, such as history, religion, law, geography as well as army generals, war veterans, professors and priests participated in the writing of these volumes.

* The best-selling titles at Humanitas are Mircea Cartarescu, with “Theodoros”, followed by Radu Paraschivescu, “Devil’s Bridge”.

* Humanitas Fiction sold best Genki Kawamura, “If cats disappeared from the world” and Anthony Doerr, “Cloud Cuckoo Land”.

The best-selling Humanitas Junior tiltes are “The Invisibles” by Ioana Parvulescu and “Tales of the Owl: The Liberty Island” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt.

* General Polirom bestsellers at Gaudeamus 2022 are “The Dawn of All Things: A New History of Mankind”, David Graeber, David Wengrow and “Putin, obsesia imperiului”/Putin, the Imperial Obsession, Armand Goshu.

* The best-selling titles at Nemira and Nemi Publishing Houses were “Solomonarul” by Florin Chirculescu, published in the n’autor collection, with readers also directing their attention to “Friends, Loves and the Great Terrible Thing” (Yorick collection), by Matthew Perry, and another point of interest being “Chemistry Lessons” by Bonnie Garmus, from the Damen Tango collection.

* Corint Editorial Group sold best “Romania de totdeauna. Simona Preda în dialog cu Georgeta Filitti”/Romania always. Simona Preda in dialogue with acad. Georgeta Filitti and “Razboiul spionilor: actiunile secrete ale exilului romanesc la începutul comunismului”/The spies’ war: The secret actions of the Romanian exile at the beginning of communism”, by Lucian Vasile, but also “Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor” by Tina Brown.

* The best-sold title of Art Editorial Group was “Courage”, Raina Telgemeier, translated from English by Lavinia Mihok, miniGrafic collection, Grafic publisher, but also “The Winners”, Fredrik Backman, translated from Swedish by Andreea Caleman, Musai (By all means) collection, ART Publishing House.

* The most prestigious Literary awards – Nobel 2022 and Planeta 2021 – reference volumes in psychology, history, sciences, self help and lifestyle, together with titles loved by children and teenagers, made up the list of best-selling books in the stand of the publishing houses Trei, Pandora M and Lifestyle Publishing

Thus, the top of the best-selling fiction titles from Trei Publishing House is led by “The Alaska Sanders Case”, by Joel Dicker, and “Everyone in my family has killed someone”, by Benjamin Stevenson, the Fiction Connection collection.

The best sold psychology books in Trei’s stand were “Stolen Focus”, by Johann Hari, and “The Man Who Mistook His Job for His Life”, by Naomi Shragai, Psychology for All collection.

The non-fiction titles that aroused the greatest interest at this Gaudeamus edition were “Human History of Emotion: How the Way We Feel Built the World We Know”, by Richard Firth-Godbehere and “The Shortest History of England”, by James Hawes.

Pandora M delighted its readers with exceptional titles from the Anansi. World Fiction collection, in the top of preferences being “Simple passion”, by Annie Ernaux and “War”, by Louis-Ferdinand Celine.

Children and teenagers enjoyed the meetings with their favorite authors as well as the new releases, such as “The Book of Finnish Elves”, by Mauri Kunnas, or “Miko and the Christmas Night Adventure”, by Andreea Iatagan, the PanDA collection.

Lifestyle Publishing has brought to its readers the translations of the most interesting international titles in the field, among the top favorites being “Peak Mind”, by Dr. Amishi P. Jha and “Why We Get Sick,” by Dr. Benjamin Bikman.

* At the Niculescu Publishing House, readers preferred “Little Dancer”, by Melanie Leschallas and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini.


Ana Blandiana: PEN Romania has focused, in the past year, especially on supporting Ukrainian writers


The activity of PEN Romania has focused, in the past year, especially on supporting Ukrainian writers, the Romanian writers giving the measure of their “altruism, collegiality, solidarity,” poet and civic activist Ana Blandiana, the honorary president of the 2022 edition of the Gaudeamus Radio Romania Book Fair, said.

“The fact that in the past year the activity of the PEN Club was mainly focused on supporting the Ukrainian PEN and the writers was an extraordinarily impressive moment. The appeal to the Romanian writers who have houses and can make them available immediately had a whole series of answers, which gave the measure not only of altruism, collegiality, solidarity, but also the extent to which the writers had houses that they could make available. It was a truly extraordinary moment,” said Blandiana at the launch PEN Centenary Album, held at the stand of the Romanian Cultural Institute at Gaudeamus.

She showed that Romania, located in the proximity of the war in Ukraine, is, unfortunately, “on the front line” from this point of view.

“Unfortunately, this is the story: we are on the front line. Speaking of this front line, I was in Canada this fall, and when I left home, the next day Putin had announced that he would occupy Donetsk and Lugansk. As a result, when I got there, the first thing I did was turn on the TV to see if it had happened. And I couldn’t find any channel that I could find out, no channel that talked about Ukraine, what’s going on there, actually not even about Europe and, suddenly, I had the perspective that globalization is not something that has been achieved, that, in fact, we are really joining the war in Ukraine. And the fact that this joining can become a combination any day obviously gives us a different perspective than Canadians or Americans. So it’s wonderful that writers from Romania not only realize this, but also wrote and left proof that they understand it,” Blandiana underscored.

The poet revealed the fact that, in the years after 1990, the PEN Club was an organization in which “there were many struggles, in the sense of preserving the literary character, of preserving the status of an elite organization, made of writers.”

“Because the trend was to turn it into a mass organization. The last fight in which I was also involved was between the American and European PEN Clubs, on the idea – I didn’t know then what political correctness was, but probably it was the beginning of it – because what the Americans were advocating was that the PEN club should cease to be an elite organization and receive not only writers in its ranks, but also librarians and booksellers, which would obviously have transformed it in a mass organization. And even if, at least while I was present in the debates, this populist line did not win, this trend is obviously that of taking the writer down from a podium, on the idea that, if he’s above, he can’t be with the others anymore. Personally, as a writer, I think he needs to be a little above, to see what’s really around,” said Ana Blandiana.

The release of the PEN Centenary Album at the ICR Publishing House, coordinated by the writer Mariana Gorczyca, marks the completion of a century since the establishment of the Romanian PEN Centre. The work was presented at the launch by its coordinator, Ana Blandiana, and literary critic Radu Vancu, president of PEN Romania.


Compiled from Radio Romania International and Agerpres

Photo: Facebook/Humanitas

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