Sinera: Arenys de Mar and the literary myth of Salvador Espriu

May 11, 2017 11:13 AM | ACN / Laura Blancafort Benguerel

Salvador Espriu was one of Catalonia’s most significant writers of the 20th century. He was proposed as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in 1971 and 1983, and won the highest award of Catalan Literature in 1972. His works, of universal interest, have been translated into more than twenty languages. The literary myth of Sinera is one of the keys to Espriu’s work. The geographic and human substance to Sinera is inspired in the town of Arenys de Mar, just north of Barcelona. In his book Cementiri de Sinera Espriu recalls his childhood in a paradise destroyed by the construction industry and war.

14% of books released in Spain are in the Catalan language

September 1, 2016 12:21 PM | ACN

Publishers released 11,348 titles in Catalan in 2015, according to a new study by the publishing industry that also shows that sales for books in this language amounted to €230 million. The Catalan publishing industry is in good health, as 43% of all books released in Spanish are also published in Catalonia, but figures could be improved, said the coordinator of ‘Catalan Book Week’, Joan Sala. In fact, the Association of Publishers in Catalan Language is “worried” because of a decline in child and teenage books sales. Its president, Montse Ayats, said that it is very important to attract young readers because reading improves a child’s school performance.

Thousands participate in Catalan activities at the Warsaw Book Fair

May 24, 2016 07:11 PM | ACN

At this year’s edition of the Warsaw Book Fair, where Barcelona along with Catalan culture and literature were guests of honour, 1,700 people attended activities meant to promote the culture of the region. The activities were organised by the Institut Ramon Llull (IRL), which is a public institution in charge of promoting Catalan culture and language. A total of 72,000 visitors attended the Book Fair, which was held from the 19th to the 22nd of May. 800 booths from 25 different countries participated in the cultural event, and the booth specifically dedicated to Catalan literature saw the participation of 580 people in its activities. The activities were led by a coalition of Catalan writers composed of Sebastià Alzamora, Blanca Busquets, Jaume Cabré, Jenn Díaz, Rafel Nadal, Marc Pastor, Jordi Puntí, Care Santos, Màrius Serra and Jordi Sierra i Fabra, whose goal was to promote Catalan literature and contemporary creation. 

Barcelona and Catalan literature, guests of honour at the 2016 Warsaw Book Fair

May 19, 2016 07:04 PM | ACN

Catalonia and Barcelona are guests of honour at the 2016 Warsaw Book Fair in the Polish capital. Catalan literature is to be represented by ten Catalan authors, who will attend the 6th edition of the book fair along with 800 booths representing 25 different countries. The Catalan presence at the book fair will consolidate existing relationships and create new ties with Polish literature circles as well as promote the translation of Catalan works into Polish. At the fair, Catalonia will be represented by a booth, a professional programme and a series of literary events. This year will be the 6th edition of the Warsaw Book Fair, which last year saw 860 exhibitors from 29 different countries, gathering up to 800 authors from around the world and more than 72,000 visitors.

Filming of 'Uncertain Glory' kicks off

May 10, 2016 06:34 PM | ACN / Julia Matinniemi

The filming of award-winning director Agustí Villarongas' new movie, a cinematic adaption of the classic novel by Catalan author Joan Sales about the Spanish Civil War, has already started in Aragon in north-eastern Spain. Written in 1956, 'Uncertain Glory' is considered to be one of the most important works in Catalan literature of the twentieth century, and its English translation by Peter Bush was chosen on the list of 10 best novels of 2014 by The Economist. It is the first Catalan novel portraying the Civil War through the losing Republicans’ eyes, and for many it is the greatest depiction of the whole war. The film is scheduled to arrive in cinemas in 2017. 

Huge crowds celebrate love and culture in Catalonia

April 23, 2016 08:27 PM | ACN

The festivity of Sant Jordi, one of the most romantic and anticipated days of the year for many Catalans, was a success. Hundreds of thousands of people headed to the streets this Saturday in search of a book and a rose for their loved ones. Barcelona was particularly crowded, but so were the other capitals of Catalonia, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona, and all the small towns and villages of the country. Late in the afternoon, the rain slightly hampered the celebration in parts of the country, especially in the north. Book sellers and florists, however, were satisfied with expected sales of about 1.5 million books and around 5.5 million roses. Sant Jordi was also a great occasion for readers to meet their favourite authors, who took part in different book signings. In Barcelona, where the most famous authors were, but also in other cities, there were long queues for a signature. The bestseller in Catalan was 'La filla del capità Groc', by Víctor Amela.

Sant Jordi's Day: Book recommendations

April 21, 2016 07:47 PM | ACN

Sant Jordi’s Day is not only a huge festival for Catalonia, but for the printing and publishing industry as well. Annually, book sales during the festival weekend contribute between 5 and 8 percent of yearly profits. In 2015, the Catalan Booksellers Guild reported that 1.5 million books had been sold in Catalonia during the Sant Jordi festival, bringing in roughly €19.2 million. If last year’s trends where buyers bought more than one book during the festival continue, sales could be even higher for printed books of varying topics and genres. This year’s predicted top-selling books for Sant Jordi cover everything from ways to tidy up and organise your home to psychological thrillers and island mysteries.

Catalan literature consolidates its international status at the London Book Fair 2016

April 14, 2016 07:06 PM | Sara Prim

Nearly 20 Catalan literary agencies presented their authors and sealed some important deals at the London Book Fair 2016. “Presenting Catalan literature to the world is normal”, stated the director of the literary agency Pontas, Anna Soler-Pont. “There are translators from Catalan into almost every language”, she added. Indeed, in the last two years there have been more than 250 translations of Catalan books and although most of them are into Spanish and French, English is a growing market. “Barcelona and the Spanish Civil War are amongst the hottest topics”, stated English translator, Peter Bush. Translations into Polish have also rocketed in 2015, due to Catalonia’s special invitation to Warsaw’s Book Fair in May. To cap it all, both classic and contemporary Catalan authors will be available in Chinese this year.

Iconic priest and writer Mossèn Ballarín dies at 96

March 18, 2016 02:55 PM | ACN

Josep Maria Ballarín, popularly known as ‘Mossèn Ballarín’, was a Catalan priest, writer and intellectual. Regarded as a symbol of Catalanism and defined by some as an atypical priest, he represented one of the most heterodox branches of the Catalan church. Ballarín published more than 40 books and achieved great popularity with ‘Mossèn Tronxo’ (‘Tronxo Priest’) in 1989, which sold more than 100,000 copies. His novel ‘Santa María, pa de cada dia’ (‘Saint Maria, daily bread’) won the Ramon Llull prize in 1996, one of the most prestigious awards in the field of Catalan literature. In 1995 he was awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi, a prize given by the Catalan government to those individuals or institutions whose work in the political, social, economic, cultural or scientific field has been outstanding. Ballarín died this Friday at the age of 96.

Barcelona becomes a UNESCO City of Literature

December 11, 2015 07:02 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

Barcelona's candidacy has convinced UNESCO's directors, international experts and the Creative Cities Network and has this Friday joined the list of UNESCO Cities of Literature. From now on, the Catalan capital will have to promote literature, integrate culture into its economic and social development plans and collaborate with the other Creative Cities. The Catalan capital presented the richness of its literary heritage in both the Catalan and Spanish languages and the international power of its editorial sector as some of its main assets. However, the celebration of Saint Jordi, Catalonia's patron day, when Catalans exchange books and roses with their loved ones, has been the focus of the candidacy. In fact, UNESCO's World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated on the 23rd of April, the same day as the Saint Jordi celebrations.