Salon du Livre Honors Romania

March 20, 2013 | By Rachael Small

Authors, publishers, designers, students and literature lovers have begun to descend upon Paris for the 33rd Annual Salon du Livre, which takes place March 22-25, 2013. This year, the Salon’s guests of honor include the city of Barcelona and the country of Romania. Twenty-seven Romanian authors, including playwrights, poets, novelists, essayists, and graphic novelists, will be featured during the course of the festival alongside their country’s prominent publishers.

Among the most remarkable participants to be featured is Romanian writer Norman Manea, who won the 2006 Prix Médicis étranger for the French translation of his memoir The Hooligan’s Return (in French, Le Retour du hooligan: une vie). Many of his books have been translated into French and English, including Le Thé de Proust (in English, October, Eight O’Clock), a collection of short stories that are set around the Ukranian internment camps and in the aftermath of World War II. Manea is a winner of the National Jewish Book Award for his memoir On Clowns: The Dictator and the Artist. He lives in the United States and has been the writer in residence and professor of European studies and culture at Bard College since 1989.

Some of the festival’s Romanian authors live in French-speaking countries, and write in the language of exile. Comic and children’s book author Ileana Surducan and novelist Marius Daniel Popescu both write exclusively in French. Lucian Boia, a historian of ideas and the imagination whose essays investigate contemporary myths, writes in both languages and his essays have been translated into English and German. Novelist and playwright Matei Vişniec writes his novels in Romanian and his plays in French, a number of which have been translated and performed in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and New Jersey.

Dumitru Tsepeneag, who was a featured author at the 2012 New Literature from Europe Festival, has lived in France since 1975, when he was exiled by the now-defunct Ceauşescu regime, and has been writing in French since the 1980s. Four of his books have been published in English translation through Dalkey Archive Press, including The Vain Art of the Fugue, a critically acclaimed collection of remarkable variations on a simple story. He is also an editor and translator and is responsible for bringing the works of Alain Robbe-Grillet, André Malraux, Albert Béguin, Robert Pinget, Alexandre Kojève, and Jacques Derrida into Romanian.

To kick off this extremely rich program, a full day of events will be devoted to a seminar on digital book production, run by the International Digital Publishing Forum. Speakers include representatives from the digital publishing wings of big French publishing houses such as Hachette and Gallimard, successful and innovative American eBook publishers, important trade organizations and software architects. Sessions will focus on the international evolution of the digital book market, new tools and ideas for publishers, and a showcase of digital publishing startups.

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