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11 guest authors from UK to celebrate diversity in literature at Bookfest 2019

Ten British authors and a Romanian writer living in the UK are coming to Bucharest at the end of May, as special guests of the project “The United Kingdom – guest of honour country at the Bookfest International Book Fair” (29 May – 2 June 2019, Romexpo), joining a programme designed to celebrate diversity in literature.

United under the “Culture is GREAT” motto, the 11 writers from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will take part in a rich series of events over the five fair days, from book launches and debates to workshops and industry seminars.

The presence of the United Kingdom at Bookfest is coordinated by the British Council in Romania and the British Embassy. Over 40 events organised by the British Council and its partners will be held throughout the fair days, both at the United Kingdom central stall, as well as at event venues within the pavilion or within the “Bookfest Junior” section.

The intersection between various ideas and identities lies at the core of contemporary British culture and literature, and has helped define a strong creative sector known to audiences all across the world. Cultural dialogue has an unparalleled power to transcend social, cultural and political differences, which is why the United Kingdom programme as Guest of Honour for the Bookfest International Book Fair will celebrate diversity and tolerance with rich, varied stories told through literature, but also other artistic means of expression,” said Nigel Bellingham, director of the British Council Romania.

„UK is the book market in Europe to which Romania is the best connected, at least if we consider the book production after 1989. It is thus obvious why inviting Great Britain as a guest of honour at Bookfest is already a celebration in itself, forthe audience will have direct access to a culture that the Romanian editors have already taken sustained efforts to promote,” stated in his turn Grigore Arsene, AER president, Bookfest organiser.

Who are the guest authors?

Half of the authors invited at Bookfest 2019 are already known to the Romanian readers, due to their books successfully translated in Romanian. The other writers will be introduced to the local audience as a first, bringing new perspectives over the British culture and literature and having the opportunity to create new connections.

Claire North is a British fantasy writer, winner of the World Fantasy Award 2017 and nominated for several other awards, including the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Two of her novels, ‘The first fifteen lives of Harry August’ and ‘Touch’, have been published in Romania at Palladin Publishing House (ART Group). Her most recent novel is ’84K’, nominated for the Phillip K. Dick Awards.

Sarah Perry is a British author passionate about medieval history and biblical writings. Her novel ‘The Essex Serpent’ reached the top of the Bestseller 2017 list and won Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. It was published in Romania at Nemira Publishing House in 2018. Her most recent novel is ‘Melmoth’.

Clare Mackintosh is the author of crime bestsellers ‘I let you go’, ‘I see you’ and ‘Let me lie’, also published in Romania at Trei Publishing House. Before becoming a writer, Clare worked in the police force for over 12 years.

Former TV journalist, children writer Ross Welford‘s most recent novel, ‘Time Travelling with a Hamster’, will soon be published in Romanian by Corint Publishing House.

Nikita Lalwani’s novels have been translated in over 16 languages, and her “Gifted” novel, also published in Romanian by Rao, is in the running for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. She is a human rights activist, a side also reflected in the social and political dimension of her works.

Arabella McIntyre-Brown is not only a British writer and journalist translated in Romanian, but also settled in Romania. Her novel ‘A stake in Transylvania (how I found happiness in the heart of the Carpathians)’ is a story of self-discovery describing her relocation to Romania with warmth and humour.

Mashuda Snaith’s is a British writer of Bangladeshi descent, author of ‘How to Find Home’. Her works explore the day-to-day lives of the less fortunate. She is involved in numerous social projects dedicated to children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Fiona Mozley is a British historical fiction writer with a background in medieval studies. Her debut novel, ‘Elmet’, was shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize in 2017.

Kirsty Logan is a professional daydreamer. She is the author of two novels, The Gloaming and The Gracekeepers, and two story collections, A Portable Shelter and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales. She lives in Glasgow with her wife and their rescue dog. She has tattooed toes.

Neal Layton is a children’s author and illustrator. His illustrations have sold in over 16 countries worldwide and have been included in more than 60 publications. At Bookfest, Neal will also hold an illustration workshop.

Romanian-born Eugen-Ovidiu Chirovici started his writing career in Romania, but has been living in the United Kingdom for almost ten years. The thriller writer is one of the most successful Romanian writers, having had his novels translated in over 25 languages.

The UK unique stall

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The UK stall will have a generous size of 120 metres and will be designed using the papier mâché technique, being theunique work of two Romanian artists. The stall concept imagined by architect Johannes Bertleff and sculptor Virgil Scripcariu, titled FIGURES, was the winning project of the design competition launched by the British Council in Romania and the Bucharest branch of the Romanian Order of Architects.

FIGURES creates an open environment for showcasing books. In the artists’ vision, the concept is translated into a series of characters made out of papier mâché by sculptor Virgil Scripcaru, which welcome visitors into the space.

The sculptures are surrounded by low furniture covered in papier mâché, which, while functional, are chromatically neutral, leaving books in the spotlight. Within the stall, the book is referenced as an object capable of helping us connect to others beyond any differences.

An urban living room and a dynamic space that combines function and symbolism, just as in its concept and execution, architecture and sculpture work together to create a perfect combination of art and utility.

The United Kingdom stall will be executed using, wherever possible, environmentally-friendly solutions, from repurposed old furniture to paper, and with the support of the local community from Piscu village.

The Romania Journal is supporting Bookfest 2019 as media partner.

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