This World Book Day, April 23, 2020, and in celebration of the renowned Sant Jordi’s Day, Catalunya arrives virtually in New York City with 24 Hours of Sant Jordi NYC, a free virtual celebration of world literature in translation.
The festival is comprised of three days of events live-streamed in English, during which participants have access to literature from a broad range of countries and languages. From a Parisian café to an Icelandic hot pot to a Mediterranean souk, book lovers worldwide can access and experience the festival’s 24 hours of immersive content by visiting santjordinyc.org.
24 Hours of Sant Jordi NYC is inspired by the renowned Catalan festival of books and Sant Jordi’s Day, a time when love and literature come together in what some call “a Valentine’s Day for nerds.” The festival’s lineup of international writers and translators range from Arabic to Danish, from Catalan to Swahili, from German to Uighur, and even a mash-up of Galician and Icelandic. Programmed in eight-hour blocks over three days, participants can access readings, conversations, and pop-up events in celebration of world literature, with concerts and live music complementing the book-focused content.
The authors and translators scheduled to appear in 24 Hours of Sant Jordi NYC include the next wave in international literature, long-established writers, and promising up-and-comers, including Sophie Hughes, who will read from her award-winning new translation, Hurricane Season, by Mexican writer Fernanda Melchor; renowned Lebanese-French writer Amin Maalouf, who will discuss his new novel, The Disoriented, with critic Maya Jaggi and translator Frank Wynne; Rodaan Al-Galidi, an Iraqi author residing in the Netherlands in conversation with his Dutch translator, Jonathan Reed, about his memoir of immigration, Two Blankets, Three Sheets; Bergur Ebbi, author, performer, and public intellectual from Iceland, who will read from and riff on Screenshot, his view of society and technology; and translator Tess Lewis, who will chat with Judith Keller of Switzerland, author of the new The Questionable Ones. The Catalan contingent — the home team — will include Jordi Puntí talking soccer with Simon Critchley, Jordi Nopca discussing his new book Come On Up, with his translator, Mara Lethem, a conversation with multiple award-winning essayist, Marta Marín-Dòmine, and Adrian Nathan West reading from his new translation of Sergi Pàmies.
On Sant Jordi’s Day, Catalans celebrate one of the most beautiful book fairs in the world. According to legend, Sant Jordi killed a dragon to save the king’s daughter. For centuries, in honor of St. George, the dragon slayer, Catalan gentlemen would give their beloved a rose. In the 1920s the Catalan Booksellers’ Association added books into the mix and thus the Sant Jordi Book Festival was born.
In modern times, love, books, and the tale of St. George are celebrated in conjunction with the United Nation’s World Book and Copyright Day, which coincides with the date of birth or death of many writers, among them William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes. In Catalunya and around the world, millions of Catalans celebrate literature and love by exchanging books and roses, making this holiday one of the most important for authors and publishers, who sell 10% of their books on this day alone.
To support the festival and its participating authors, translators, and musicians, please visit the Sant Jordi NYC 2020Kickstarter page. To follow the celebration around the world and on social media, visit booksandroses.cat or use #BooksAndRoses.
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