Barcelona will be the guest city at France’s most important book fair

The Catalan capital will be the guest city in the 2013 edition of the ‘Salon du livre’ in Paris, the most important book fair in France. Barcelona is the stage where narrations take place and it is a centre of literary production, the capital of Catalan literature and of the most important editorial centres of books in Spanish.


April 18, 2012 12:43 AM

Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan capital will be the guest city in the next edition of the ‘Salon du Livre’ in Paris, which will be held in 2013 between March 22nd and 25th. This is the most important book fair in France and brings together more than 20,000 visitors and professionals, as well as 2,000 French and foreign authors. In the last two editions, the book fair has also included a guest city added to the guest country. Buenos Aires in 2011 and Moscow in 2012 have been the guest cities so far, to which Barcelona will be added. Barcelona will be thus presented as the stage where many narrations are located, and also as a centre of literary production, being the capital of Catalan literature and of the most important editorial centres of books published in Spanish. Barcelona will be allowed to invite twenty authors, who are still to be decided upon and will have its own pavilion and other spaces available to organise activities.

Catalan literature and the francophone market are going through a period of mutual admiration. On average, each year 20 new titles of Catalan literature are translated into French. In fact, French has become the second language that Catalan is most translated into after Spanish, both including classical and contemporary authors. For instance, Jaume Cabré, Jordi Puntí, Imma Monzó, Miquel de Palol, Francesc Serés, Mercè Ivars, Carme Riera, Sergi Pàmies, Núria Amat, Baltasar Porcel, Mercè Rodoreda, Francesc Trabal or Joan Brossa are some of the Catalan authors who have books translated into French. Furthermore, this year, two classics of Catalan literature will be included in this list: ‘El Quadern Gris’ (translated into English as ‘The Grey Notebook’) by Josep Pla and ‘Solitud’ (‘Solitude’ in English) by Víctor Català.

The news was announced on Tuesday; just two days after many Catalan writers came back from Quebec, where Catalan literature was the guest of honour in the Canadian city’s ‘Salon du livre’ (from April 11th to 15th). Furthermore, it was announced that in the coming editions, two or three Catalan authors will attend the Quebecois fair every year to present their books recently translated into French.

A “natural selection” of authors

An expert commission will choose the twenty authors that will travel to Paris to participate in the 2013 ‘Salon du livre’ and their names will be announced during the last quarter of the year. The Institut Ramon Llull (IRL), in charge of promoting Catalan culture and language abroad, stated that the twenty authors selected will all have books translated into French, and they might write in Catalan or in Spanish. Furthermore, in the list French authors living in Barcelona might also be included, since the Catalan capital hosts many foreigners.

Catalan literature, in its “best moment in history”

The Director of the IRL, Vicenç Villatoro, said that Catalan literature is going through a golden period, in terms of “quality, visibility, and variety” he said. “It is the best moment in history”, he affirmed. According to him, never before has Catalan literature had so many books “translated”, and books that “play in different leagues”, explaining the variety of genres, topics and styles. “We have never been as good as now”, he added. It needs to be reminded that, despite the golden age of Catalan literature in medieval times, over the last 300 years, books in Catalan had been most of the time forbidden by the Spanish Government. However, since the end of the Franco dictatorship and the return of democracy (in 1977), Catalan literature has left behind its clandestine forced status and it has gradually developed over the last 35 years and shown its potential.