The 6th edition of the International Festival of Literature and Translation was held between October 3 and 7.
The 6th International Festival of Literature and Translation hosted by the city of Iasi, in northeastern Romania, between October 3 and 7, brought together authors boasting millions of copies sold all over the world, authors nominated for or winners of prizes such as National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, Goncourt, the EU Prize for Literature, or the Nordic Council Literature Prize. The list of guests included Jonathan Franzen (USA), Jón Kalman Stefánsson (Iceland), Kamila Shamsie (Great Britain), Sylvie Germain (France), Iuri Andruhovici (Ukraine), Eduardo Caballero (Spain), Evald Flisar (Slovenia), Catherine Lovey (Switzerland), Lluis-Anton Baulenas (Spai), Goce Smilevski (Macedonia), Roland Orcsik (Hungary), Sveta Dorosheva (Ukraine/Israel), Lorenzo Silva (Spain), Yannick Haenel (France), Tomas Zmeskal (the Czech Republic), Carl Frode Tiller (Norway), Catherine Gucher (France).
Here is writer and screenwriter Florin Lazarescu, one of the founders and organizers of the most important festival of literature in Romania: “FILIT is a very big project, it’s actually a synthesis of several projects, and each of them is so complex, that it could be described as a festival in itself. It includes the FILIT evenings, hosted by the National Theatre, events hosted in the central tent, and some 40 events unfolding in five days. I would like to mention some of the events such as those at the Childhood Home, at the Fantasy House, and the much appreciated ‘Writers in high-schools’ project. But, as I said, these are events that are so different from one another, each with their own structure. We are talking about 130 events organized in five days. FILIT is actually a show of literature. If I were to speak of the Poetry Night alone, we organized a marathon, with 50 of today’s best poets participating. They are not as famous as those participating in the FILIT nights, such as Jonathan Franzen of the US, Sylvie Germain of France or Eric Vuillard, the winner of Prix Goncourt. But they too attract a large audience. And I think this is one of FILIT’s successes, to attract an extremely large audience. For instance, we had a guest who told us he knew about FILIT from the famous Russian writer Evgeny Vodolazkin, who characterized the festival as extraordinary.”
Besides writers, FILIT brings together hundreds of professionals from the cultural environment: translators, editors, festival organizers, literary critics, booksellers, book distributors, managers and journalists. Florica Ciodaru-Courriol has translated from Romanian into French and had books by Hortensia Papadat-Bengescu, Rodica Draghincescu, Marta Petreu, Iulian Ciocan, Ioan Popa, Catalin Pavel, Horia Ursu, published at such publishers as Jacqueline Chambon, Non Lieu, l’Age d’Homme, Autre Temps, Autrement and Didier Jeunesse.
We asked her to tell us about the events she participated in at this year’s edition of the festival: “I came to FILIT to present a Francophone writer, Catherine Lovey, who was published by an important publishing house in France, and whose books I have translated from French into Romanian. At FILIT I ran several translation workshops, one titled ArsTraducendi, for students with the National College in Iasi. I understand that top students of the best high-schools will be attending. I met part of them last year as well at FILIT, when I had a very interesting workshop which I jointly ran with my husband, translator Jean Louis Curriol. Together we’ll also take part in a conference staged by the Department of French language of the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, a conference moderated by translator and Professor Cristina Modreanu. For that meeting I picked a short fragment from “The Bunker” a novel by an upcoming young writer Tudor Ganea, so we will be working on that book. Another event I’m participating in is a meeting with French and Romanian publishers, a meeting themed ‘Who cares about Romanian literature’ because I do care about Romanian literature.“
A novelty of this edition is the launch of the collection ‘Legendary writers’, which seeks to bring center-stage such Romanian writers as Ion Creangă, Mihai Eminescu or Mihail Sadoveanu to whom museums are dedicated, that are part of the network of the Iasi National Museum of Romanian Literature.
Jointly with 10 other contemporary Romanian writers, writer and journalist Adela Greceanu took the challenge of participating in the project themed Legendary writers, and wrote Vasile Alecsandri’s Story.
Speaking about that, here is Adela Greceanu herself: ”Vasile Alecsandri’s story cannot be taken out of the context of his generation, the generation of 1848, a generation that was extremely important for our modern history, in fact everything began with that generation. It is from them that everything began and from their parents, those far-sighted Moldavian and Wallachian boyars, who, despite their propensity for Eastern clothes as seen in the epoch’s paintings, decided to send their children to study in Paris and in other European capitals. So Vasile Alecsandri went to Paris where he learnt of progress and modernity, and of how to make a revolution. They subsequently returned to the Romanian principalities, trying to apply what they had learnt from the French revolutionaries. Also in Paris they learnt about the idea of nation-state which they wanted to bring to the Romania principalities, and eventually they succeeded to make that dream come true. Those were some great times in Romania’s history.”
The FILIT International Festival of Literature and Translation in Iasi is a project financed by the Iasi County Council through the Iasi National Museum of Romanian Literature. This year’s edition is also run under the aegis of the European Commission.