'Eternity Ceaselessly Before Us': Romania at the London Book Fair 2017

14 - 16/03/2017 @ Romanian Cultural Institute, 1 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PH

For a decade this year, Romania has been a constant presence at the London Book Fair through programmes showcasing the vibrancy of a diverse literature. This year’s participation, translated into a series of illuminating events, ranging from book launches and dialogues to theatre and exhibitions, honours the legacy of poet and philosopher B. Fundoianu / Benjamin Fondane (1898-1944), one of Romania’s most prominent writers and thinkers whose work is making a much-deserved comeback thanks to two new translations published by New York Review of Books.

The protagonists of the Romanian programme at the London Book Fair 2017 are writers and academics Mircea Martin, Ramona Fotiade and Claudiu Turcuș, authors Gabriela Adameșteanu, Alexandru Vakulovski and Carmen-Francesca Banciujournalist and critic Nicholas Lezard, writer and editor Peter Forbes, academic and translator Jozefina Komporaly, translators Andrew Rubens and Alistair Ian Blythand actress Maia Morgenstern.

As in previous years, the Romanian programme unfolds at Olympia Exhibition Centre as well as at the Romanian Cultural Institute (1 Belgrave Square), and Waterstones Piccadilly.

The Romanian participation at the LBF 2017 is organised by the Romanian Cultural Institute's National Book Centre and the Romanian Cultural Institute in London, with the support of the Romanian Embassy, Waterstones Piccadilly, the Romanian Publishers Association, New York Review of Books, the Jewish State Theatre in Bucharest, TVR Iași and the National Museum of Romanian Literature. Editorial partners: Dalkey Archive Press, Bloomsbury Publishing, Peter Lang Publishing, Intellect Books, Palm Art Press and Vremea Publishing House. The project is funded by the Romanian Cultural Institute.

 

TUESDAY, 14 MARCH

12:30pm/ Stand 5C126/ Olympia Exhibition Centre, Hammersmith Road
The Opening of the Romanian Stand at the London Book Fair 2017

The opening event at Romania’s stand at Olympia Exhibition Centre brings together Romanian and British authors, publishers and other professionals from both sides of the English Channel. Opening remarks will be given by HE Mr Dan Mihalache, the Romanian Ambassador to the Court of St James’s, Mihaly Nagy, Vice President of the Romanian Cultural Institute, and Dorian Branea, Director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in London. Followed by a vin d’honneur.

The stand was designed by Romanian graphic artist Radu Manelici.

 

5:30 – 6:30pm/ English PEN Literary Salon/ Olympia Exhibition Centre, Hammersmith Road
EUNIC London’s European Literature Reception

EUNIC London and English PEN are joining forces towards the promotion of translation of European literature. British publishers working with literature in translation, European publishing houses and translators are invited to a networking event where they can meet European writers, discuss translation and publishing grants with several European country representatives, and most importantly, applaud literature. All around a glass of wine.

 

7 pm/ Waterstones Bookshop / 203-206 Piccadilly, W1J9HD
Encounters: New Romanian Books in English

The latest Romanian books in English are presented in a special event hosted by Waterstones Piccadilly, the flagship bookshop set in the heart of London. The event brings together authors Gabriela Adameşteanu ('The Encounter', Dalkey Archive Press, 2016), Alexandru Vakulovski ('The Review of Contemporary Fiction. Moldovan Literature Issue', Dalkey Archive Press, 2016) and Carmen-Francesca Banciu ('Berlin is My Paris', Palm Art Press, 2016), writer and academic Claudiu Turcuş ('Norman Manea: Aesthetics as East Ethics', Peter Lang, 2016), editors Peter Forbes ('Poetry and Science. An Anthology of Contemporary Authors from Romania', Vremea Publishing House, 2016) and Jozefina Komporaly ('Andras Visky’s Barrack Dramaturgy: Memories of the Body', Intellect Books, 2017), as well as translator Alistair Ian Blyth.

Other publications presented on this occasion are Florin Abraham’s 'Romania since the Second World War. A Political, Social and Economic History' (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016) and Dan Lungu’s 'I’m an Old Commie!' (Dalkey Archive Press, 2017).

Tickets: £5 (redeemable against purchase of one of the books on the evening). Available in store, by telephone: 020 7851 2400, by email: piccadilly@waterstones.com or at https://www.waterstones.com/events/romanian-literature-today/london-piccadilly

 

WEDNESDAY, 15 MARCH

7 pm/ RCI London/ 1 Belgrave Square
Benjamin Fondane: The Existential Ulysses

B. Fundoianu / Benjamin Fondane, the Jewish Romanian avant-garde icon turned French poet and philosopher, is this year’s focus of the Romanian programme at the London Book Fair. With a poetic reputation well established in the literary milieu of interwar Romania, Fundoianu moved to Paris where he was known as Benjamin Fondane, a redoubtable existentialist thinker and an emblematic figure of the literary establishment. In 1944, in a heroic gesture that would seal a tragic destiny, he refused to be saved and perished in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. To mark his fabulous editorial comeback in the English-speaking world with two volumes published by New York Review of Books (the poetry collection 'Cinepoems and Others' and a volume of philosophical essays - 'Existential Monday'), professors Mircea Martin and Ramona Fotiade together with translator Andrew Rubens and literary critic Nick Lezard meditate on the cultural legacy and contemporary relevance of the legendary author. 

The discussions will be preceded by the screening of 'Benjamin Fondane - Iaşi, Paris, Auschwitz' (d. Andreea Știliuc, TVR Iaşi, 2013) and accompanied by an exhibition dedicated to the author’s life and work. The exhibition is realised in collaboration with the National Museum of Romanian Literature. Followed by a reception.

Free entry. Please book on Eventbrite if you wish to attend.

 

THURSDAY, 16 MARCH

7 pm/ RCI London/ 1 Belgrave Square
'Janka', the Story of a Holocaust Survivor

Based on the real-life story of Janka Festinger, a Jewish woman born in the Romanian town of Sighet who survived the death camps, Oscar Speace’s 'Janka', “a story of adversity, resilience and of the human spirit” (Donald Munro), is brought to London by beloved Romanian actress Maia Morgenstern. A production of the Jewish Theatre in Bucharest, the play is based on Janka’s 60-page frank and poignant letter sent to her uncle, in which she describes the horrors she had to live through. Performed in Romanian with English surtitles. Followed by a reception.

Free entry. Please book on Eventbrite if you wish to attend.

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