Catalonia's annual book fair, the Setmana del Llibre en català, takes place from September 2-11 in Barcelona on the avinguda de la Catedral. The fair is aiming to break all records this year with a wide offer of books and publications in Catalan. The event will host 63 stands –17.5% more than last year– and 150 exhibitors (28% more), among whom will be bookshops, publishing houses and institutions.
“Last year was a year of consolidation and we had an increase of 24% in sales and audience, and this year we aim to grow even more,” says Joan Sala, director of the event.
Among the new exhibitors are big names, such as FNAC, but small bookshops will also be represented: “In all, we'll have four kilometres of shelves full of books, it will be the time in history with the most books in Catalan all concentrated at the same time and in the same place”, says Sala.
For the second consecutive year, the Setmana will present the autumn releases, with a series of international authors coming to present their new books, such as Grégoire Polet and Milo de Angelis, as well as local authors, such as Ramon Solsona, Carme Riera, Jordi Cussà and Sebastià Benassar.
After trying out various venues in previous years, the Setmana has now been given a commitment from the city council to keep the avinguda de la Catedral as a permanent venue in the future. This year, the event has come back with a new look inspired by the Santa Caterina market, with more modern and functional stands.
The event aims to promote and encourage reading, and there are some 230 activities organised, many of them addressed to children and young readers: “We know that low academic results are directly related to the number of books a family has at home, that's why it is important that children have their own personal library,” says Sala.
The Trajectòria award, given to a professional dedicated to the world of culture for the past 20 years, will go to the translator Anna Casassas, for the excellence of her work in a field not recognised enough. As a way to celebrate, the artist Jaume Plensa has designed a digital drawing of literary inspiration, and one of the three only copies made will be gifted to Casassas.
This year's increase in the fair's activities and the number of stands is also due to a higher budget, which has grown from €360,000 last year to €410,000 this year. This has been possible thanks to new sponsors, such as Coca Cola, Otbra Social La Caixa, and TMB, which will be running a special campaign promoting reading in Catalan on public transport.