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U.S., ”Celebrating the South”, as Bookfest guest of honour this year

U.S., ”Celebrating the South”, as Bookfest guest of honour this year

The United States of America will be the guest of honour country at Bookfest International Book Salon this year, due at Romexpo in Bucharest from May 30 to June 3. Four American female authors are coming in the Romanian capital to attend Bookfest, with two of them having Romanian origins or links to Romania.

Ronald Hawkins, Public Affairs Counselor at the US Embassy in Romania, stated during the press conference announcing the Bookfest event that the U.S. Embassy ”is absolutely thrilled to be the country guest of honour this year to this terrific event”.

We are a sizeable country and so we wanted to to something a little bit more fun, more creative and always with the point of trying to share. We decided to focus on the South, to have a little bit of flavour of the South American literature, but also we wanted to focus  on the female authors, in an attempt to talk about the issues like gender equality,” Ronald Hawkins said, while announcing that events coordinated by the embassy will include book launching, from fiction and non-fiction to poetry and children books, but also film screenings that deal with the American South.

According to the US embassy counselor, the whole day of June 1st is dedicated to children, with American young author Sucheta Rawan introducing to the Romanian book lovers the character of her series of books for children, Beato the cat.

The writer worked with Romanian illustrators to illustrate her book. We hope Romanian children will really enjoy this and we hope we see a publication of Beato in Romanian in 2019. This particular example, illustrating the  the US-Romania collaboration, shows how deep the relation with Romania is,” said Hawkins, who added that highlighting strong bilateral ties during Romania centennial year is another focus of the U.S. presence at Bookfest.

This is your centennial year and we want to celebrate it with you. We are looking for ways incorporate these moments in our programme,” he pointed out.

Another author coming from US for the upcoming book fair is Domnica Radulescu, born in Romania but established in the US as of 1983, as a political refugee. Radulescu was granted the Outstanding Faculty Award of the higher education of Virginia state in 2011. She wrote three novels: ”Country of Azaleas (2016), ”Black Sea Twilight (2010), Train to Trieste (2008) and several theatre plays, while currently working on her fourth novel „My Father s Orchard” and on a memoirs volume ”Dream in a Suitcase”. She is teaching comparative literature at the Washington and Lee University in Virginia.

Sarah Kennedy is another American author coming to Bucharest. She is a poet and author of historical novels, among which there are ”The Cross and the Crown”, ”Self-Portrait with Ghost”, ”The Altarpiece”, „City of Ladies” or ”The King s Sisters.”

Tara Skurtu is also guest of honour ar Bookfest attending one of the ”Meet the Author” sections, she is a  Boston-based poet, professor and translator who currently lives in Romania. She is a two-time Fulbright grantee, and she has received two Academy of American Poets prizes, a Marcia Keach Poetry Prize, and a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship.

Tara has taught at Boston University as a lecturer in creative writing, was a lecturer in composition at BU’s Prison Education Program, and she served on the planning and teaching team for Robert Pinsky’s 2014 MOOC, “The Art of Poetry.”

The fourth American author coming to Bookfest is Sucheta Rawal, an award-winning food and travel writer, author, cooking instructor and philanthropist, whose mission is to raise awareness of global cultures through meaningful travel, good eating, and community interaction.

Sucheta is author of a series of children’s illustrative books on travel called „Beato Goes To”, whose stories are meant to inspire young readers to learn about different countries and cultures, as well as develop their own wanderlust.

Another highlight of the events prepared by the US Embassy at Bookfest is a debate on May 31 about Romanian literary critic Matei Calinescu, also attended by the US Ambassador in Bucharest, Hans Klemm, who was a student of Calinescu during college.

Renowned American auhtor Mark Twain will also have a special moment at Bookfest on June 2, when in ”an one man show” he will be recreated by a Romanian actor.

If you know Mark Twain s autobiography you know he is not able to be with us today,  (…) however, we are bringing him back, with the help of a great actor, Pavel Ulici,” announced Ronald Hawkins in good fun.

In his turn, Grigore Arsene, president of the Editors Association in Romania, announced that access to Bookfest will be free of any charge as well this year and that the book salon will be hosted for the first time in two new pavilions of Romexpo, which enables a more generous space of the publishing houses and implicitly for the visitors.

Speaking about the American literature that will be on display this year at Bookfest, Arsene stated that the US has created a fiction and non fiction literature genre which dominates the world culture and that, from this perspective, there will be an extensive programme at the US book stall.

Overall, there will be 150 participants at Bucharest and hundreds of events, book launches and film screenings.

Arsene also revealed that the country which will be the guest of honour at Bookfest next year will be UK.

About Alina Grigoras Butu