The Romanian edition of European Book Day took place on 27 April in the city of Cluj-Napoca and it was organized by Asociația Versus. European Book Day Romania was conceived as a three-step program.
The first phase ranged between January and April 2022 and had two specific endpoints:
- The establishment of organisational and logistic aspects of the project – partnerships with local administrative, educational and academic institution and assembling a Team of European Book Day Ambassadors for Reading in Romania (representatives of Romanian Publishing Houses that activate in the field of young adult literature, Romanian writers, dedicated teachers, bookstore owners and beloved actors).
- The identification of the target group and the design and implementation of the activities that targeted the group. In accordance with the European Book Day curriculum, three creative workshops were implemented on March 24th and 25th 2022 by Asociația Versus with the teenagers from Clujul are suflet community center.
The creative writing and transdisciplinary workshops were implemented by a multidisciplinary team that included Iulia Burlac (Romanian artist and illustrator, teacher of fine arts), Bianca Mereuță (senior communication specialist and founder of Asociația Versus) and Andreea Codău (junior communication specialist). The workshops were themed ‘What is the meaning of being human?‘
For the participants to find their own answer to this question, the organisers used three artistic perspectives: music (Aprinde scânteia – a song written and performed by Smiley – a beloved Romanian singer-song writer), literature (a shared reading session of the poem If written by Rudyard Kipling) and art (painting, collage under the guidance of the artist Iulia Burlac). The works resulted at the end of each workshop were then collected and organised as a travelling art exhibition that was first displayed in the foyer of the Cluj County Public Library and then at the European Book Day event. The European Book Day event on April 27th included activities that encompassed the target group as well: the reading sessions of short novels by the invited European writers from the organising countries of the event, the flash-mob, the creative workshops, and the audio corner.
The second phase was a 23-day period aimed at raising awareness on the event. This phase took place between 4 and 26th April 2022 and involved an extensive national online, multimedia, and offline dissemination campaign (live reading session Planting the seeds of peace hosted by Bianca Mereuță, The light within the book, an art installation that was temporarily built with the aim of raising awareness on the importance of reading and also of informing the inhabitants of Cluj-Napoca of the European Book Day event in 27th April).
The third phase is the European Book Day Romania event, that took place on April 27th 2022.
The European Book Day Romania was divided into three distinct sections:
1. Opening Ceremony
The Opening Ceremony and Press Conference hosted by Mr. Bogdan Bob Rădulescu, a beloved talented actor from Cluj-Napoca, known to the young public through his humorous sketches that are widely disseminated online. The speakers at the opening ceremony were Mrs. Bianca Mereuță (representing Asociația Versus), Mrs. Sanda Anca (representing Media Partners), Mrs. Sorina Stanca (representing Cluj County Library) and Mr. Ingo Tegge (representing The German Cultural Center)
2. Reading Sessions
The reading sessions and other activities addressed to the public.
- Let’s read 15 minutes day by day flash mob – a flash mob for creating awareness on reading, preceded by a dance performance. Underneath yellow and blue umbrellas and despite the pouring rain, volunteers, and members of the audience alike, spent a few minutes reading.
- Reading sessions with invited authors – Inside the Casino-Centrul de Cultură Urbană, the invited European Book Day authors Christoph Mauz (representing Austria), Jona Elings Knutsson (representing Sweden), Ion Andrei Puican and Maria Orban (representing Romania) have read short stories to the audience. The audience included the target group of 25 culturally disadvantaged teenagers from the Clujul are suflet community center and general public, visitors of the event. The short stories were read in the original language in which they were written, and a Romanian translation was subsequently read to the Romanian speaking audience by the organizers. The estimated audience for the reading session was approximately 60 people.
- Illustrations by Mr. Val Munteanu: a capsule – exhibition. Mr. Val Munteanu (1927-1996) is regarded as one of the greatest Romanian illustrators of all times. His works have received numerous national and international prizes and awards. His illustrations represented the image of childhood fairytales for most of the Romanian children before the 1989 anti-communist Revolution.
- Ce înseamnă să fii om? – What is the meaning of being human? exhibition of paintings and collages created by the target group, the beneficiaries of the Clujul are suflet community center in the three workshops that took place before the event.
- Other creative activities and book donations
The conference “Reading: Right, necessity or privilege?” for selected invited guests from the fields of education, publishing industry, academia. The invited speakers came from the academic field – representing several faculties from Babeș-Bolyai University, the educational field- representing the Cluj County School Inspectorate and the Cluj County Public Library and the publishing and editorial industry.
European Book Day Romania in numbers
- 1 Read 15 minutes day by day flash mob
- 2 art exhibitions
- 2 activating pre-event activities
- 3 creative workshops
- 4 public readings
- 8 renowned speakers at the conference Reading: Right, Necessity or Privilege?
- 13 Romanian Publishing Houses collaborating with the organizers
- 100 books offered by Asociația Versus through the goodwill of collaborating publishing houses to the Clujul are suflet community center
- 500 complimentary books offered to visitors
- 1000 visitors- estimated number of visitors at the venue throughout the entire day
- 150000 – the audience that has received the message of the European Book Day Romania
“The international project European Book Day it’s about values, peace and democracy. It is about equity in education and including the vulnerable people, opening ways and accessibility for them to education. Books and reading are open doors towards education and a democratic future, are pathways towards the chance of overpassing life difficulties and the assuarance of a better future for anyone. That is why it was an honour for us to organise such a great event in and for Romania, a manifestation with so much meaning and common sense. It was a joy also the collaboration with the partners in each country and meeting the authors and their works. This experience was really valuable because we had the opportunity to learn and exchange good practices with all the actors involved in the wonderful outcomes of the European Book Day.”
Bianca Mereuta, founder Asociația Versus
“We have been involved in the develoment of the European Book Day curriculum, a guide with information and practical activties to help any interested party to replicate such events. The curriculum is free to use and available in English, German, Romanian and Swedish.”
Sanda Anca, Manager, Media Partners SRL
“My experience at the European Book Day that was held in the beautiful city of Vienna was one in a million. I was surrounded by gentle and hospitable hosts, I ‘ve met interesting people and, most of all, I have engaged with a magnificent and cultural place that is the capital of Austria. Overall an experience to remember, both on a professional level and on a personal one.”
Ion Andrei Puican, participating author from Romania to EBD Austria
“Thanks to Bianca Mereuță, founder of Asociatia Versus, this year I had a very interesting experience by participating in the European Book Day. The events I participated in took place in Cluj (Romania) and Gavle (Sweden) and allowed me to meet people who are passionate about reading and writing. It was also an opportunity to meet readers, to dialogue and to remind myself that relationships with others are even more interesting when mediated by books.”
Maria Orban, participating author from Romania to EBD Sweden
Versus Association was established in 2018. The organization implements national programs that aim raising awareness on the value of the book as a scaffold for education starting from early childhood – in the family environment, but also as an important stimulus for developing reading skills, improving vocabulary growth and educating a sense of esthetics – at home, in kindergarten and at school. It also conducts programs and campaigns destinated to teenagers and young adults mainly from disadvantaged environments.