Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, Guest of Honour at 54th edition of the Bologna Children's Book Fair

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Literature.  Barcelona,  02/03/2017

Sharing a Future: Books in Catalan Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, Guest of Honour at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair

Catalonia and the Balearic Islands are exhibiting in Bologna with the theme Sharing a Future: Books in Catalan, in a clear reference to the importance of children and young people for the future of literature, with a programme that includes over forty activities with more than sixty participants for the fair and around the city. The Institut Ramon Llull, a consortium formed by the governments of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands and Barcelona City Council to promote the Catalan language and culture internationally, was responsible for coordinating this programme.

'Sharing a Future: Books in Catalan' Bologna 2017

Manuel Forcano, director of the Institut Ramon Llull: “The future of children’s literature is the future of literature: if there are no new readers, there will be no literature. We are making an argument in favour of the future of literature, conveying the plural reality of books in Catalan with contributions from the different Catalan-speaking regions.”

Izaskun Arretxe, director of the Department of Literature and the Humanities of the Institut Ramon Llull: “The Catalan children’s and young adult book sector is vibrant and diverse with incredible potential and first-rate artists, many of them already recognized worldwide. Being invited as guests of honour at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair is a turning point in this process of internationalization.”

Children’s and young adult literature in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands

Children’s and young adult literature and illustration have a long tradition in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. This tradition dates back to the 15th century with the publications of the Abbey of Montserrat, the oldest publisher in Europe which remains alive and well today: at present the sector has an annual turnover of 41.4 million euros (2015 data) and it is the third leading sector in sales in the publishing industry.

The professional and cultural framework found in the Catalan-speaking regions is a constant stimulus for writers, illustrators, designers, translators, publishers, booksellers, teachers, researchers, critics, literary agents, librarians and cultural managers. The strength of this framework has allowed for quality creation, accumulation of knowledge capital and being a source of innovation that should be shared with other countries.

The children’s and young adult book sector features a mature, rich and diverse panorama: a plethora of independent and innovative publishers, and publishers with an international dimension and subsidiaries around the world. In both Catalonia and the Balearic Islands and in the Catalan language there is a very strong offer of training in illustration, publishing, writing and research in children’s and adolescent literature that nurtures the knowledge and creativity of the sector as a whole.

Sharing a Future: Books in Catalan

As guest of honour, the programme of activities and exhibitions will highlight the importance of illustration and children’s and young adult literature in Catalan.

The theme revolves around three main lines that will also be reflected in the programme:

- A view to the future, with the conviction that children’s and young adult literature represents the future of the world, an optimistic, new and modern future. The certainty that children are the driving force of this future world and books the food for their dreams.

- A future that must be shared, because it is based on the responsibility of all that we are able to offer children and young people from all countries opportunities to access books of literary and artistic quality and because we are convinced of the transformative capacity of books to make a better world.

- This contribution will come from the reality of books in Catalan, because children’s and young adult books in Catalan contribute to this future for the role of children’s literature and illustration within our rich cultural and publishing tradition.

The exhibitions

Catalonia and the Balearic Islands are presenting two exhibitions curated by bookseller Paula Jarrin and designed by the architect Clara Solà-Morales.

Sharing a Future

The work of 42 illustrators, most of them under 40, will be shown in the central space of the exhibition centre. The selection includes artists from Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands, all of them with at least one published work. The exhibition has been designed as a large bookstore which will also be a space for relaxation at the heart of the fair. In accordance with the curator’s proposal there are 42 hammocks, each dedicated to an illustrator, which are distributed over three areas: young readers, fiction and picture books. These elongated slings invite visitors to sit and get absorbed in reading the books offered by the curatorial proposal which can also be found in the booth.

Vet aquí una vegada / C’era una volta / Once Upon a Time

While the fair will feature illustrations from the new wave of artists, the exhibition at the Archiginnasio, also designed by Clara Solà-Morales, will show how we got here. The cloister of this historic building will exhibit classic works, the illustrators who opened the way and have well-established bodies of work. Following the cadence of the cloister’s arches, visitors will find hanging canvases with illustrations and accompanying texts. On the ground, marking the tempo of the content, you will find the most relevant information about the illustrators exhibited on the banners.

Literary programme at the fair

The programme of activities at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair centres around the four cafés featuring different conversations and presentations by writers, illustrators, translators and from the digital sector. To offer a more complete programme of activities, there will also be activities in other areas of the exhibition centre.

• The Illustrators’ Café will offer four activities presenting the different illustrator profiles, their learning processes and their internationalization and offering points of debate on the future challenges of the profession.

• Two round tables at the Authors’ Café will discuss the role and usefulness of awards and genres and trends in children’s literature.

• The Translators’ Café will be the opportunity to present the Institut Ramon Llull’s grants programme and two round tables on cultural diversity and language adaptation when translating children’s and young adult literature.

• The Digital Café will be the space for presenting the different companies and organizations that produce transmedia content based on a discussion between representatives of different initiatives.

• In addition, the programme of activities will provide a space with nine more activities with writers, illustrators, literary agents, publishers and the children’s business sector to present projects and discuss specific aspects of their professional realities.

Programme in the city

As guest of honour, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands will also have a presence in different spaces in the city of Bologna:

• Official reception at Palazzo Isolani

On Monday 3 April 2017 at 8.00 pm the guest of honour reception will be held at Palazzo Isolani, an 18th century palace in the historic centre of Bologna. It is anticipated that the event will be chaired by the highest authorities of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands alongside their Italian counterparts, and attendance of around 300 people between institutions and representatives in the Catalan and international publishing sectors is expected.

• Workshops and games for children and families at the Archiginnasio Municipal Library with different illustrators and the companies Toc de Fusta and Rodamons Teatre.

• Workshops and different literary activities at the Biblioteca Salaborsa where adapted children’s literature and how to introduce children to the refugee conflict will be discussed, among other topics.

• Accordion book co-creation workshop as part of the Transbook exhibition, a European project that will be presented at the Biblioteca Salaborsa during the fair.

• Children’s and young adult theatre series at the Teatro La Baracca – Testoni Raggazzi with the companies Pea Great Boat, Mariantònia Oliver, Clownisdoscopio Teatre and La Baldufa.

• Children’s and young adult film series in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna, one of the most important in the world. The films Atrapa la bandera and Un dia perfecte per volar and a number of short films including Smellegg and Strawberry Pie will be screened.

• Symposium on children’s literature organized in collaboration with the Department of Languages, Literature and Modern Cultures and the Giovanni Maria Bertin Department of Educational Science of the University of Bologna.

• Catalan-Italian literary translation seminar organized in collaboration with the Department of Languages, Literature and Modern Cultures of the University of Bologna.

History of Catalonia exhibition  by the illustrator Pilarín Bayés. An exhibition on the history of Catalonia will be on view at the Manica Lunga Gallery of Bologna City Hall from 1 to 8 April. It will include over forty original illustrations and ten paper figures also illustrated by the artist.

The stand

In addition to the exhibition at the fair, the Catalan-Balearic presence will have a 176 m2 stand. During the days of the fair Catalan publishers and agencies and participating institutions will hold numerous meetings with publishers and agencies around the world to present what’s new in the literary sector. The Institut Ramon Llull has been working on creating a network of contacts with the international publishing sector (publishers, translators, literary agents, cultural institutions, fairs, festivals) for over 10 years, with the aim of promoting the work of Catalan authors abroad.

Catalonia and the Balearic Islands’ participation at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair is spearheaded by the Institut Ramon Llull in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Catalonia, the Catalan Institute of Cultural Industries and the Balearic Studies Institute of the Government of the Balearic Islands. In addition, the programme also has the support of the Catalan Publishers Association, the Catalan Guild of Publishers, the Balearic Guild of Publishers, ADAL, the Association of Catalan Language Writers, the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes, the Catalan Council for Children’s and Young Adults’ Books (ClijCAT), the Professional Association of Illustrators of Catalonia (APIC), Associació Il·lustra, the Catalan Association of Schools of Illustration, the Libraries of the Government of Catalonia, the Libraries of Barcelona City Council and the Catalan Guild of Booksellers.

More information


Over forty activities with more than sixty participants have been planned for the fair and around the city

Contactes de premsa

Institut Ramon Llull: Gavina García, gabinet de premsa de l’IRL


Generalitat de Catalunya
Govern de les Illes Balears
Ajuntament de Barcelona
Bologna Children's Book Fair