Barcelona’s Cathedral avenue is the stage for this year’s 35th edition of Catalonia’s Book Week, which takes place fro September 8 to 17. This year’s fair looks like it is going to be larger than ever, due to the high number of participants and companies that have so far signed up to the event.
After the great success of last year’s event – the largest the city has seen so far – this year’s fair returns with ambitious goals, such as surpassing last year’s record revenue of €304,000. Yet the fair’s most important aim is taking Catalan literature on to the streets, giving new relatively unknown authors an opportunity, and appealing to a new generation of young booklovers who will ensure the continuity of reading books in the future.
The venue takes up 1.5 square kilometres, with 63 modules containing over 150 stands, where buyers can find “the largest concentration of Catalan books in history,” according to the organisers, who hope to exceed the previous year’s 22,300 books sold. Yet, it’s not all about reading and buying: this year’s fair also has all sorts of different activities, such as literary itineraries, talks, and book presentations and readings, for both young and adult audiences.
Cabré and Auster
The American writer Paul Auster will be the international guest of honour, along with Nani Ballestrini, Mary Beard and Gulnar Hajo. Auster will present his latest novel, 4321 (Edicions 62).
Meanwhile the 21st Premi Trajectòria will this year go to Jaume Cabré, one of the most international Catalan writers – his work Jo confesso, has been translated into 23 languages.
This year, there are also some innovations, such as a focus on Catalan authors translated into other languages, aiming to make Catalan culture more approachable to foreign visitors.
For the first time in the history of the fair, there will be a module selling translations of Catalan authors into other languages, including English, French, German, Greek and Spanish (which will make up 15% of the books), among others.
Over the years, the fair has been gaining in popularity. As a result, the renown and profit experienced by the participating businesses has led to a bigger notion: the creation of “The Book Salon”, a similar event aimed at taking the fair to the next level. It is a feature that has worked in other comparable events, such as the Comic Salon, the Manga Salon, and in the various events devoted to bringing together technology and gaming fans. This project began last year, when Joan Sala, the director of Comanegra –o ne of the participating publishers – first came up with the idea.
All in all, the purpose of the Catalan Book Week is first and foremost to preserve Catalan literature, but in the long run, the real goal is the expansion of the country’s culture to all those who still haven’t had the opportunity to discover it. For more information, visit