International book festival with Nordic focus in Budapest, 19-22 April 2012
After last year’s special Guest of Honour presence, when in honour of Hungary’s EU presidency, as the first among international book fairs, Hungary invited the other 26 member states of the European Union besides Hungary, their belles-lettres book publishing and one author from each country, this year the Guest of Honour will not be a single country either, but the cultural region of the Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, joined by Finland under the name Nordic Countries. Just like last year, the joint presentation of the Nordic countries involves a gesture of cultural diplomacy as well, as in the first half of 2012 Denmark that is organising this feature is in charge of the EU presidency. The scale and the diversity of the Nordic countries’ literary guest performance is comparable to that of last year’s EU presence: More than twenty reputed Scandinavian and Finnish authors will come to Budapest, and each of them is welcomed with at least one new volume in Hungarian. Hungarian readers will have the chance to meet noted Icelandic authors like Sjón and Andri Snær Magnússon.
Although the Book Festival will close one day before the World Book and Copyright Day, the opening of the Book Festival on 19 April will be held in the spirit of 23 April, the day commemorating the anniversary of the death of Shakespeare and Cervantes, with the gesture of giving flowers and books. The ladies visiting the Book Festival on the opening day will be presented with a red rose.
The Book Festival will be opened by Dr Miklós Réthelyi, Minister of the Ministry of National Resources. The welcome address on behalf of the Guest of Honour Nordic Countries will be given by Ms Gunn Karin Gjul, Member of the Norwegian Parliament and Chair of the Standing Committee on Family and Cultural Affairs and Katarina Mazetti Swedish author.
As a tradition reaching back nearly twenty years, the Festival’s Guest of Honour writer is featured on the opening day. World-famous Italian writer Claudio Magris is presented to the audience in Budapest in an on-stage conversation with Péter Esterházy hosted by József Mélyi. This is followed by a laudation by Krisztián Grecsó after which István Tarlós, Lord Mayor of Budapest, will present the Budapest Grand Prize to the Italian writer. Both Európa Book Publishing and Libri Book Publishing have scheduled several new editions for Magris’ visit to Budapest.
For the twelfth time now, the Budapest book fair hosts the European First Novel Festival, a joint presentation of the continent’s most talented young prose writers. It started out as an EU literary event, but by now is attended not only by authors from the Community, but, as this year, for example, by one first-volume writer each from Croatia, Switzerland and Turkey. At this literary festival of considerable international prestige Hungary is represented by Péter Gerőcs this year. As in the nearly twenty years of the Book Festival, the exhibiting countries and the Hungarian publishers, too, invite their authors so that writers from nearly all countries of Europe attend the event on the occasion of the publication of the Hungarian editions of their new books.
Apart from the Nordic countries with their imposing Guest of Honour stand, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, Spain, Slovakia, Italy, Brazil and, after several years of involuntary absence, Germany – as a cooperation of the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Budapest Goethe-Institut – will present a rich choice of its book production. Despite the crises hitting both the international and the Hungarian book market that has been lasting for years, the space rented by international, domestic and Hungarian publishers from the neighbouring countries has not decreased; the stands again occupy an area of more than 1500 m2.
The more than 300 novelties, the many international and Hungarian guest authors and the 350 cultural programmes presenting and promoting the works and their authors are more than enough reason to provide book lovers with the most comprehensive information possible.
Information on the participants and the programme: www.bookfestival.hu