For St. George's Day (Sant Jordi), a book, a rose and a taste of Catalan culture. This is the idea with which the Ramon Llull Institute coordinates the activities for Sant Jordi around the world each year, especially channelled through the network of Catalan studies abroad. Hence almost all universities offering courses in Catalan in collaboration with the IRL will be celebrating, in one way or another, the Catalan literary festival par excellence. This is in addition to the activities organized jointly with the Catalan government offices in London, Berlin, New York and Paris.
In addition, to coincide with Sant Jordi, the winners of the micro-story competition on Facebook and Twitter, #IRLats, which began on 1st February, will be decided. The competition is aimed at students from outside Catalan-speaking areas, and it has received hundreds of stories during the participation period. Finalists can vote via Facebook and Twitter and on St. George's Day the winner will be announced, and he or she will be able to attend the Catalan Language University Campus in Girona and Andorra next July.
Among the activities planned are a wide range of events in London, from books and roses to human tower demonstrations and performances of the works of Catalan composers by the Tactum Ensemble and pianist Alberto Portugheis. The University of Massachusetts will hold this year's Catalan Week with Anton Carrera and Liz Castro, while the film director Isona Passola will give a talk in Cork, Ireland, at the Cork Book Fest, a festival organized every year by the city's libraries.
The activities planned for Sant Jordi around the world are:
London, United Kingdom
Borough Market in London, twinned with the Boqueria market in Barcelona, is the only one that celebrates St. George, who is also the patron saint of England. For this reason, the local council will open the market exceptionally on Sunday to host market stalls selling roses and, for the first time this year, books. The Riverside Bookshop will offer visitors literary translations, something that is especially noteworthy in a year in which ten translations of Catalan works into English will be published in Britain. In addition, there will be stalls selling Catalan products and stands with information about forthcoming Catalan cultural activities to be held in the UK. The event is being jointly organized by the Institut Ramon Llull, the Catalan government office in the UK, ICEC, the Catalan Tourism Association, ACC1Ó and Catalans UK. Besides this, the human tower group from the town of Vilafranca will perform next to the market and will spend the weekend in London creating towers next to the most emblematic buildings in the city.
King's Place will host a concert by Catalan group the Tactum Ensemble featuring the prestigious pianist Alberto Portugheis as a special guest. They will perform pieces by renowned Catalan composers Frederic Mompou, Felip Pedrell, Jordi Codina and Enric Ferrer, who is also the conductor.
Massachusetts, United States
To coincide with Sant Jordi, the University of Massachusetts will bring to a close the 5th Festival of Catalan Cinema with a screening of Enxaneta.
Besides this, from 22nd to 24th April, a Catalan Week has been organized and will feature Anton Carrera (to celebrate Salvador Espriu Year) and Liz Castro.
Anton Carrera will give a talk entitled We Will Remain Loyal, Salvador Espriu (Life and Work of Salvador Espriu) and will give a reading of Espriu's poems along with his own works.
Meanwhile, the American writer Liz Castro will talk about her book What's Up With Catalonia?, a collection of 35 articles in English about Catalan culture, history, economics and language that allows an international audience to understand phenomena such as the demonstration of 11th September 2012, the current political situation and the call to hold a referendum on the country's self-government. The prologue was written by the President of Catalonia, Artur Mas. Liz Castro, an American writer living in Massachusetts, initiated and edited the project, using the Verkami crowdfunding platform to make it a reality.
The film director Isona Passola will take part in the Cork Book Fest, a festival organized every year since 2005 by the city's libraries to coincide with Sant Jordi.
Passola will talk about her documentary on the political situation in Catalonia, L'endemà, which was a huge microfinance success, placing it in the top five projects in the Verkami crowdfunding site.
The Catalan government's office in Berlin, in conjunction with the Institut Ramon Llull, have prepared a Sant Jordi dedicated to Salvador Espriu for Espriu Year. At 6 p.m. there will be a talk about the poet and a reading of his some of his best-known poems. This will be followed by a recital by the singer-songwriter Feliu Ventura.
New York, United States
The Casal Català in New York celebrates Sant Jordi with a range of activities, including a bilingual reading of Jordi Puntí's Maletes perdudes (Lost Luggage) with the participation of the author. Puntí, who will attend the World Voices Festival a few days later, will also take part in a round table discussion with Liz Castro and Montserrat Guibernau to talk about the book What's Up with Catalonia? The debate will be chaired by the journalist and writer Jordi Graupera.
The winner of the Maria Canals International Prize, Soo Jung Ann, will give a piano recital at the Petit Palais in Paris. The concert has been organized by the Catalan government's office in Paris.
The illustrator Mercè Galí will present her book Lluís Llach. De gran vull ser cantautor (Lluís Llach: When I grow up, I want to be a singer-songwriter) and give a children's drawing workshop.
The writer Gabriel Janer Manila will give a reading in Catalan of La vida, tan obscura (Life, So Obscure) as part of the commemoration of World Book and Copyright Day at the Montreal literary festival Métropolis Bleu.
Roses and books will be given to those people taking part in Lisez l'Europe (readings of extracts from the works of contemporary European authors). There will also be performances by the Montreal human tower group.
Chicago, United States
The University of Chicago will host a performance of Cor de carn (Heart of Flesh), a concert by Gerard Segura (El Pèsol Feréstec), Cèlia Nadal and Vito Spampinato that takes us on a tour of the topic of love in Catalan poetry from medieval times to the present day. They will recite a series of poems set to music by them while offering an explanation in English of their historical and cultural context. The public will be presented with a booklet presenting a bilingual version of the poems.
Colorado, United States
The University of Colorado Boulder is joining in the Sant Jordi celebrations by organizing its first Jocs Florals ('Floral Games' literary contest). Participants can present pieces written in Catalan in any style and on any theme, as well as non-Catalan pieces that deal with Catalan culture.
During the prize-giving ceremony, which will take place on 23rd April, there will be a short performance about the legend of St. George and the Dragon.
The University of Havana has included some Catalan Sessions in its celebrations for World Book Day (a tribute to Shakespeare, Cervantes, Garcilaso de la Vega and Josep Pla). It includes:
* Dramatic reading of the legend of St. George, poetry competition and Catalan poetry recital (taken from the book Evocación. Poesía Catalana Contemporánea, with the Spanish translation by Manuel Mercader).
* An exhibition on the figure of St. George in the plastic arts around the world (Art History students).
* The monologue El regreso (a free version of Àngels Aymar's La indiana) by the Cuban actress Lynn Cruz. This is a contemporary perspective on a historic issue: Catalan emigration to Cuba in the nineteenth century.
Once again for Sant Jordi, a taster class in Catalan will be given at the Catalan government's office in Madrid by teachers from the Jesús Maestro Official Language School.
The National University of Ireland, Maynooth celebrates Sant Jordi with its 4th Catalonia Day, which includes a table quiz on Catalan culture.
Moscow, Russian Federation
The Lomosonov Moscow State University will hold a Catalan-Russian poetry translation competition. The chosen poems are:
- "St. Jordi Gloriós" by Josep M. de Sagarra
- "La Diada de St. Jordi" by Joan Maragall
- "Les roses recordades" by Salvador Espriu
Various talks will also be given on Catalan issues by fourth year students on the selected authors and the tradition of Sant Jordi, and they will stage Joan Amades' short story Els 12 mesos.
Ca'Foscari University will host a series of lectures by Giuseppe Tavani on the translation of Mercè Rodoreda's Mirall trencat (Broken Mirror) into Italian and its successful reception in Italy, and by Giulia Lanciani, who is translating Espriu's work into Italian for Salvador Espriu Year.
Washington DC, United States
Georgetown University will celebrate Sant Jordi with a literary gathering, the screening of Paulí Subirà's Enxaneta, and a round table discussion entitled "What is going on in Catalonia? Views from the new generations". Roses will also be given out in Red Square.
There will be seminar on Salvador Espriu, which includes:
- A talk by Agustí Pons, author of Espriu' biography, entitled "Leer a Espriu, hoy" (Reading Espriu Today).
- A talk by Professor Antonio Jiménez-Millán, from the University of Malaga, which will include a reading of poems in Spanish and Catalan.
Oxford, United Kingdom
Oxford University has organized a Skype meeting between students taking the Basic Catalan course at the University and a group of adult education students taking Catalan courses at the Centre for Linguistic Normalization in Tarragona. The topic of conversation will be their Catalan classes and the celebrations surrounding St. George and Our Lady of Montserrat, the patron saints of Catalonia. The aim is for the Oxford students to have contact with other speakers and learners of Catalan from different backgrounds and, in addition, find out first-hand about various aspects of Catalan culture.
Books and roses will feature in a wide-ranging cultural programme at universities offering Catalan courses throughout the world
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