Gabriela Adamesteanu, the recipient of the Gheorghe Craciun Opera Omnia award at the Awards Gala of the Observatorul Cultural Magazine
The Gheorghe Craciun lifetime achievement award of the Observatorul Cultural magazine this year went to prose writer and essayist Gabriela Adamesteanu. Gabriela Adamesteanu’s novels “Wasted Morning”, “The Equal Way of Every Day”, “The Encounter”, “Provisional” and her short story collections, “Give Yourself a Holiday” and “Summer Spring” have been translated into 15 languages and have received prestigious awards.
The novel “The Equal Way of Every Day” was nominated for the Jean Monnet European Literature Prize, “Wasted Morning” was nominated for the Latin Union literary prize, while “Provisional” was a bestseller at the Paris Book Fair in 2013. Her novel “Wasted Morning”, published in 1975, was described by Alan Brownjohn in The Times Literary Supplement as follows: “In part it is a wonderfully strange and original study of lost promises and unfulfilled dreams, but the book can also be read as a daring, late-modernist take on the whole society. An extraordinary overview of Romanian modern life”.
The Romanian literary critic Alex Goldis describes the novel “Provisional” as the most representative from this author, who is freer than ever to mix individuality and politics. “Provisional proves that Gabriela Adamesteanu has definitively returned to literature and is working on the disturbing odyssey of depicting ‘Man in time’”, Alex Goldis also writes.
The collections “The Obsession of Politics” (published in 1995) and “The Two Romanias” (published in 2000) are part of the author’s editorial activity. Gabriela Adamesteanu ran the “22” magazine for 13 years and its cultural supplement “Bucurestiul Cultural” for another seven years. For her journalistic career, Gabriela Adamesteanu received the Hellman/Hammett grant by the Human Rights Watch in 2002. She was also the vice-president of the PEN Romanian Centre between 2000 and 2004 and a president of this organisation between 2004 and 2006, as well as an honorary president of the first edition of the Romanian Goncourt Prize in 2013. In 2014, Gabriela Adamesteanu received the French distinction Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.
Carmen Musat, the editor-in-chief of the Observatorul Cultural magazine, told us more about this year’s winner of the lifetime achievement award, Gabriela Adamesteanu: “She is a formidable writer whose novels and short stories published before 1989 gained the approval of critics and readers alike. Today, faced with a different readership, her works are just as fresh. Her fiction depicts the ordinary world, people at various stages in their lives, highlighting the tiniest details of human existence. She is comfortable both with the short format of the short story and the broader format of the novel, managing to create entire worlds, possible and fictional alike, that have the power to draw you in. She is the author of novels such as ‘Wasted Morning’, ‘The Equal Way of Every Day’, ‘Summer-Spring’, ‘The Encounter’, ‘Provisional’, but not only. She is also the author of high quality and exquisite journalistic writing, and she has interviewed people from various walks of life, from very different social and cultural circles. She is an author who has built not only a literary opus, but a magazine as well, which, after she left, was never the same again.”
In her acceptance speech of the Gheorghe Craciun award, Gabriela Adamesteanu recollected a meeting with the late writer Gheorghe Craciun. It happened in 2005, when, alongside other Romanian writers, they participated in the Les Belles Etrangeres Festival in France, a moment that marked the beginning of a process of translating Romanian literature into foreign languages and its opening towards other cultures.
In her speech, Gabriela Adamesteanu thanked those who supported her in her early days as a writer: “I see Mircea Martin is here, one of the critics who read my debut book. The first book you write is extremely important. After that, you can either continue or give up. I would also like to thank different people, with whom I’ve sometimes parted way but who are always in my heart, such as Nora Iuga and Paul Goma, as well as my publishers, because whenever I travel abroad they always ask me: ‘You come from Ceausescu’s Romania, how did you manage to get these books published?’. I cannot explain, but we had literature back then and my books were actually published by the best publishing house in the country, Cartea Romaneasca, which was run by two great prose writers, Marin Preda and George Balaita, who are no longer with us. I’d also like to thank my current publisher, Silviu Lupescu, who has supported new literature since 2003. Many thanks also to Catalina Buzoianu, who has created a magical play based on my novel and a performance that has become iconic. She is a great artist, in a country where being a woman and an artist is sometimes difficult. And, of course, I’d like to thank my family who have instilled in me some very high intellectual standards, as well as everyone who has stood by me, in a profession which, as I’ve said before, is not recommended for a woman, and yet look how many great female writers we have.”