Having had the chance to visit this year’s Leipziger Buchmesse as an accredited blogger and journalist on behalf of our site Edge and Back, after a general overview of most of the exhibitors, I was very curious to go and find my country’s stand, to see what publishing houses would be present and how it would all look.
I have to confess, I had a bit of a heavy heart as my steps were taking me to Halle 4, where Romania’s representatives were. I discovered instead a very simple but classy corner, full of books in Romanian and translated in other languages too and also 3 persons from the Romanian Ministry of Culture. I introduced myself, took photos of the stand and of the books and started chatting with my fellow Romanians, who I thought wouldn’t be interested in me, since I was not part of any official institution. But what do you know? I was so pleasantly surprised by their kindness, interest and politeness, as well as by the fact that they knew what books they were having on display, they were people with culture, as appropriate as this pun might be. My city of birth is Timisoara, therefore I noticed with great joy the presence of books printed by Brumar Publishing House, them being actually the only printing house from Western Romania, Timis county, present at the Book Fair.
One of the most interesting and intriguing aspects of my conversation with the gentleman and the two ladies from the Ministry of Culture was about the way this Romanian public institution is being seen by the greater public and especially about the young Romanian people. Seems like the image of middle-aged and senior desk clerks with no interest whatsoever in the people’s opinion is just a cliché and so, since recently the Ministry of Culture has started to undergo an image change, to become more popular and appealing to all ages, not only to the senior citizens of the country. To my great surprise, they told me that they appreciated not only Romanian literature and poetry, but also Romanian comics (such as Harap Alb Continua, https://www.harapalbcontinua.ro/) and they think that there is a lot of valuable and precious talent still unexploited and unnoticed in the country. Their opinion coincides with ours, as Ioana and myself also believe that Romania has a lot to offer for and to the younger generations.
I had the pleasure and unique experience to assist at the public lecture in German and Romanian sustained by the three invited authors of this edition of the Leipziger Buchmesse, Ștefan Baghiu, Daniel Bănulescu and last but not least, Ioan Groșan. Mr. Groșan is known and appreciated for his smooth irony and subtle humour, with which he has presented in his works the Romanian reality. He read an extract from his book “Caravana Cinematografică’’ which was then read in German for the non-Romanian audience who was gathering around our stand. The whole issue of the Romani population in Romania was gracefully addressed in his writings, where he used metaphors to describe the idea of Socialism and Communism and ,as he pointed out, to sketch that whole era which was prone to be satirical. Mr. Groșan also discussed about how the book as an entity has lost its readers because of the increasing reign of technology, but he underlined that he was still part of the old generation, loving to discovery with the turn of every page what a book has in store . Ioan Luca Caragiale ‘s name was mentioned, as everyone agreed that our country would need someone with Mr.Caragiale’s genius again. The German and international audience there also bought Mr.Groșan’s books and asked for his autograph, proof that the very fine Romanian irony was being tasted and enjoyed by foreigners too.
Our Romanian representatives did us proud and they were kind enough to offer me some gifts,in which our great rum chocolate was included, but also a compilation of contemporary Romanian Writers, where it is stated that“ (…) it is pointless to discuss the literature being written in Romania today in terms of different generations. However, the genres currently being tackled might paint a livelier, more dynamic portrait of Romanian letters. (…)The poetry being written in Romanian today is so dense, so varied and so difficult to label that only multiple well-focused anthologies could provide any idea of its thematic range. (…)In Romanian literature today, the essay is the specialty of the Timisoara school (…), the most European in its outlook.’’ (extracts from Contemporary Romanian Writers,Ministry of Culture,Romania,2014, all rights reserved).
After having chatted a little bit with other Romanians present and having introduced myself and our projects, Fort Knox PR and Edge and Back and after receiving a lot of positive feedback and encouragements, we parted ways with the promise of a collaboration and the joy and pleasure of having cleaned up even a little bit Romania’s image abroad.
Our most sincere congratulations to the team present in Leipzig,who are true knights of Romanian Culture!