Catalan Culture Spotlight Reveals Full Line-Up at The London Book Fair

Catalan Culture Spotlight Reveals Full Line-Up at The London Book Fair
  • Catalan authors including Irene Solà, Sergi Pàmies, Eva Baltasar in conversation with Max Porter, Jay Griffiths, Daisy Johnson & more
  • Panels on classics, poetry, loss and feathers, genre and gender, cities, myths and the boundaries of books
  • An exhibition of Catalan illustrators in the Illustration Gallery
  • Professional matchmaking meetings confirmed with Oneworld, Picador, Hodder, Granta, Profile, Doubleday, Orenda, Fitzcarraldo, Daunt Books
  • Wider activities to promote Catalan culture in partnership with Jacksons Lane, ICA, New Diorama, as well as publishers and universities nation-wide

London, Friday 25 February. With eight panel events featuring British and Catalan authors, and a matchmaking programme to foster relationship between Catalan and English-speaking publishers, the Institut Ramon Llull (IRL) and the Catalan Institute for Cultural Companies (ICEC), will showcase Catalan literature at The London Book Fair 2022 (5-7 April) through the Catalan Culture Spotlight.

Top L-R: Irene Solà, Max Porter, Sergi Pàmies, Aina Bestard

Bottom L-R:  Marta Orriols, Borja Bagunyà, Jay Griffiths, Raül Garrigasait

At the most important global gathering of the book industry in the Spring, “Spotlight. Books in Catalan” will encompass a series of panel events with some of the finest writers, illustrators and translators in Catalan – both well-established and emerging – including Irene Solà, Sergi Pàmies, Eva Baltasar, Aina Bestard, Raül Garrigasait, Borja Bagunyà, Marta Orriols and Josep Maria Esquirol.

Conceived as a conversation between the Catalan authors and their British peers, in a dialogue where different cultures and languages can have a fruitful exchange, the panel events will feature award-winning British authors and translators including Max Porter, Jay Griffiths, Daisy Johnson, David Constantine, Yara Rodrigues Fowler, Vassiliki Tzomaka, Rupert Thomson and publisher Christopher MacLehose among others.

The panel events will be chaired by Monocle 24 Books Editor and host of Meet the Writers Georgina Godwin, Founder and Director of the European Literature Network Rosie Goldsmith, and award-winning writer, editor and translator Daniel Hahn.

The panel events of the Catalan Culture Spotlight at The London Book Fair 2022 are:

  • The Importance of Being a Classic (Olympia Theatre, Tuesday 5 April, 11.45-12.30)

Speakers: Raül Garrigasait and Christopher MacLehose, Chair: Rosie Goldsmith

In a panel discussion, publisher from Mountain Leopard Press Christopher MacLehose will be talking about the importance of the classics in publishing, as well as the essential role that translation plays in bringing cultures together, with writer and expert in Catalan literature Raül Garrigasait, whose non-fiction explores themes such as cosmopolitanism and the dawn of modernity in Catalunya. His latest novel Els estranys (Strange Strangers) has won the Catalan Bookseller’s Prize, the Òmnium Award for Best Catalan Novel and the Setè Cel Prize.

  • Loss, Plants and Feathers (Literary Translation Centre, Tuesday 5 April, 13.15-14.00)

Speakers: Marta Orriols and Max Porter, Chair: Daniel Hahn

An intimate conversation between Max Porter, award-winning author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers (which was translated in 23 languages), Lanny and The Death of Francis Bacon and prize-winning Catalan author Marta Orriols, whose piercingly honest debut novel, Aprendre a parlar amb les plantes (Learning to Talk to Plants) has already sold rights to 15 countries and has been compared to the work of Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro.

  • The Intimate Experience of Time (Literary Translation Centre, Tuesday 5 April, 16.30-17.15)

Speakers: Josep Maria Esquirol and Jay Griffiths, Chair: Georgina Godwin

Focusing on time as a concept and in literature, Jay Griffiths, non-fiction author of Wild: An Elemental Journey, Pip Pip and Why Rebel will be in conversation with Josep Maria Esquirol, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Barcelona (UB) and author of The Intimate Resistance, a quest for meaning amidst the stress and nihilism of today’s high-tech world, which is considered by many to constitute a Catalan modern classic in philosophy.

  • Literature and the City (Author HQ, Wednesday 6 April, 10.00-10.45)

Speaker: Borja Bagunyà and Rupert Thomson, Chair: Georgina Godwin

Borja Bagunyà is spearheading a new generation of young literary talents – his latest novel Els angles morts (Dead Angles) is the portrait of a marriage leading towards an unusual existential crossroads, packed with pitiless, corrosive humour. He will be in conversation with Rupert Thomson, whose memoir inspired by his years in Barcelona, This Party’s Got to Stop, won the Writer’s Guild Non-Fiction Book of the Year, to discuss literature and the city.

  • The Boundaries of the Book: Illustrated Non-fiction for Children (Author HQ, Tuesday 5 April, 15.15-16.00)

Illustrators: Aina Bestard and Vassiliki Tzomaka, Chair: Daniel Hahn

International bestselling author and illustrator Aina Bestard, who has worked as a designer for the likes of Miró Jeans, Women’ Secret and Camper, will push the limits of traditional illustration, as she does in her latest book Lost Landscapes, where she explains the early life of our planet with exceptional illustrations and textured paper that has the look of antique natural history books. Together with fellow Thames & Hudson’s illustrator Vassiliki Tzomaka, they will be discussing their creative process, influences and style, as well as giving the audience an insight into their approach to illustrated non-fiction for children. What comes first in their vision: an idea, an image, a game?

  • Fiction, Gender and Identity (Literary Translation Centre, Thursday 7 April, 10.00-10.45)

Speakers: Eva Baltasar and Yara Rodrigues Fowles, Chair: Daniel Hahn

Author of ten poetry collections and a trilogy of novels (Permagel, Boulder and Mamut, due in Catalan in February 2022), telling the story of a forty-year-old lesbian in first-person stream of consciousness, Eva Baltasar will be in conversation with the talent of Yara Rodrígues Fowler, praised for their Stubborn Archivist as the witty successor of Sally Rooney, discussing genders and genres in their work.

  • New Fiction at the Threshold of Myth (Author HQ, Thursday 7 April, 11.45-12.30)

Speakers: Irene Solà and Daisy Johnson, Chair: Daniel Hahn

A fearlessly creative and original new voice in Catalan literature, Irene Solà, brings to British audiences When I Sing, Mountains Dance, a novel that has been translated into more than 20 languages and is the winner of the European Union Prize for literature. Solà’s intensity and talent finds her British counterpart in multi-awarded author Daisy Johnson (Everything Under, Fen or Sisters). They will share with the audience their folktale atmospheres of imagination and myth, their unusual characters, and their literary dance with the strangeness of reality.

  • Literature of the Self: Truth and Fiction (Literary Translation Centre, Thursday 7 April, 15.25-16.10)

Speakers: Sergi Pàmies and David Constantine, Chair: Georgina Godwin

One of the most outstanding and popular Catalan short story writers of all times, Sergi Pàmies’s latest collection The Art of Wearing a Trench Coat hinges on three types of love: between couples, towards one’s parents and one’s children. He will be in conversation with poet and one of the finest British contemporary writers of short stories, David Constantine, author of novels and award-winning short story collections, including Tea at the Midland.

An additional panel event focusing on literature in translation is organised by the Polish Institute in collaboration with the Institut Ramon Llull:

  • Across Language and Time: Translating Classics (Olympia Theatre, Tuesday 5 April, 16.30-17.15)

Speakers: Peter Bush and Ka Bradley, Chair: Rosie Goldsmith

Acclaimed translator of Catalan, Spanish and Latin American literary works Peter Bush will be in conversation with Ka Bradley, a commissioning editor at Granta Books and the Associate Text Editor at Springback magazine, to discuss the importance of translating the classics, and how the translations of Catalan modern classics into English are a crucial contribution to bridging cultures.

Along with the author events detailed above, the Catalan Spotlight programme will also encompass an exhibition of selected works by six Catalan illustrators. Situated in the Illustration Gallery of the fair, the exhibition will showcase the work of Aina Bestard, Júlia Sardà, Violeta Lopis, Cristina Losantos, Miguel Pang and Joan Negrescolor. The exhibition is the result of a collaboration with the Catalan Council for Children’s and Young people’s Books (ClijCAT), who have appointed Marta Altés and Carmen Segovia as curators of the exhibition.

Across the fair, a series of professional meetings sponsored by the IRL and ICEC will foster the relationship between Catalan and English-speaking publishers and agents, with four different matchmaking programmes for Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children’s books, and Illustration. Counting over 50 participants, the programme is supported by an ICEC grant scheme specifically tailored for the Spotlight project.  Meetings confirmed so far include publishers Oneworld, Picador, Hodder, Granta, Profile, Doubleday, Orenda, Fitzcarraldo, Daunt Books among others.

Pere Almeda, Director of the Institut Ramon Llull, said: The Spotlight programme is an answer to many years of trade and cultural cooperation between Catalan and British publishing professionals. The Spotlight programme is not a start, but a confirmation of an enriching literary exchange. Although Catalan publishing sector is also well-established worldwide and works on a regular basis with international publishing professionals, the relationship with the British publishing sector can be reinforced. And that is precisely one of the ambitions of the Spotlight Programme.”

Edgar Garcia, acting Director of the Catalan Institute for Culture Companies, said: With this Catalan Spotlight at The London Book Fair, publishing houses in Catalonia have an opportunity to further develop their work in the international arena, particularly in English-speaking countries, reinforcing their role as cornerstone disseminators of Catalan culture abroad.”

Andy Ventris, Director of The London Book Fair, said: “We are very excited for the Catalan Spotlight at The London Book Fair in 2022. It’s a great opportunity for us to welcome Catalan Authors, Publishers, Illustrators’, and Translators to and see them in conversation with their counterparts in the global publishing industry. The Spotlight programme will be one of the key features of LBF in 2022 and we are very much looking forward to delivering this programme along with our partners at the fair.”

As a public institution devoted to extending the reach of Catalan language and culture, the Institut Ramon Llull provides aid to authors, translators, publishers and literary agents to ensure that Catalan literature is translated, published and read abroad. Meanwhile, the Catalan Institute for Cultural Companies looks after the development of the Catalan creative sectors as an uplift for its professionalisation, and advises Catalan companies in their development process and offering them grants, financing tools and services.

The Catalan Culture Spotlight at LBF comes in conjunction with a programme of wider activities taking place across the United Kingdom between March and June 2022, to introduce the general public to Catalan culture.

Working with partners in the literary, performing arts and education sectors, the series of events forming part of the “Spotlight on Catalan Culture in the UK” will see author events in collaborations with publishers Granta, And Other Stories, Thames & Hudson, Fum d’Estampa, Pluto Press, as well as a display of books in Catalan and English at Foyles bookshop.

Showcasing the talent of Catalan artists, filmmakers, dancers and musicians, events will be taking place at key cultural institutions including Sadlers’ Wells, Iklektik, The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), New Diorama Theatre, Bush Hall, The Pheasantry and Jacksons Lane among others.

The IRL is also collaborating with universities across the UK and Ireland including Cambridge, Oxford, UCL, St Andrews, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Newcastle, to deliver a programme of theatre events, talks, discussions, illustration workshops and more.

For more information, please visit the Spotlight website:

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