The most important literary festivals in Romania,
alongside the International Literature Festival Odesa
Last night, February 25, the 9th edition of the International Literature Festival Odesa ended, a traditional event, which became itinerant due to the war and was hosted this year in Bucharest. There were four full days, in which the Bucharest public was able to attend a program of events with an extremely diverse format: from public readings to debates around the most important topics of the moment in terms of world politics, such as the future of Europe or the fight against barbarism.
E.S. also spoke about the architecture of the program of the 9th edition of the International Literature Festival Odesa and the relevance of the themes. Mr. Igor Prokopchuk, Ambassador of Ukraine to Romania, in his speech on the evening of February 22. His Excellency wanted to express his joy regarding the fact that the festival is hosted in Bucharest, in Romania, one of the leading countries in supporting the Ukrainian population after the outbreak of the war. Also, the Ambassador of Ukraine in Romania urged the public to hold a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the war in Ukraine, which he called “the biggest humanitarian crisis in Europe after the Second World War”.
At the end of the four days that totaled over 20 events, the organizers of the most important literature festivals in Romania sent a few thoughts to the organizers of the International Literature Festival Odesa.
“To be effective against a tyranny or against violence, literature must assert itself and be. That’s it. History has shown us, so many times, that a dictator is more afraid of words than anything. Literature is a universal weapon, because the border of language is illusory: therefore, the imperative to which it submits is an affirmative one, of literary action.
I’m glad that literature won once again, and the Literature Festival Odesa could continue in Bucharest”, said Ioan Cristescu, president of the Bucharest International Poetry Festival (FIPB) and director of the National Museum of Romanian Literature.
About the power of literature to find ways to reach the public, beyond the power of weapons, the writer Lucian Dan Teodorovici, president of the Iasi International Literature and Translation Festival – FILIT, also spoke: “A festival like this, which moved for a few days Odesa in Bucharest is more than a literary manifestation, it is above all a declaration of freedom. However, as much joy as the festival of literature lovers in Romania could produce, I wish that in the coming years (many and good) I will know that it takes place at home, where it belongs. In complete safety and in complete freedom”.
“I am still shaken by the documentary I watched last night, 20 days in Mariupol, a film which, thanks to the courage and vocation of some journalists, shows how a city turns into an inferno due to the Russian invasion. Odesa is standing, not like Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities that have become ruins, but its life is, well, elsewhere. In order to continue living, the Odesa literature festival had to find a refuge in Bucharest. Solidarity worked again this time, and writers were able to make their voices heard. The world of literature has, in fact, no borders, and the different languages in which it is written are not barriers, but meeting colors. These days, the roads of literature led to Odesa, via Bucharest. I hope that next year the festival will take place where it belongs, at his home, in peace”, testified Robert Șerban, president of the Timișoara International Literature Festival (FILTM).
On behalf of the International Festival of Poetry and Music “Poetry is in Bistrita”, the writers Marin Mălaicu-Hondrari and Dan Coman also expressed their confidence in the power of literature to conquer people more powerfully than bands manage to conquer territories: “Literature sees his way. Even when it seems irrelevant, it demonstrates its strength, as it happened now, from Odesa to Bucharest. Its strength lies not in conquering territories, but in uniting people. The Odesa festival continues, that matters and gives us courage”.
The writer Radu Vancu, who gave the opening speech of this year’s edition of the Odesa International Literature Festival, gave us another thought, this time from the perspective of the cultural manager – as the president of the “Poets in Transylvania” International Festival ” which takes place in Sibiu: “The Odesa Literature Festival took place in Bucharest on the two-year anniversary of the barbaric war started by Russia in Ukraine. Two years of heroism – in which Ukraine was not only not conquered & annihilated, but became a candidate state for admission to the European Union. And fight on for all of us. For the world that believes in freedom & democracy – which will remain so (ie free & democratic) only if Russia is definitively defeated. And it will be. So being with Ukraine today means believing that the human species has a future. Not just as a species – but as a truly human one.”
Founded in 2015, the International Literature Festival Odesa aimed to emphasize the cultural effervescence and international character of the city and contribute to strengthening its ties with other cultural metropolises in Europe and on other continents. The program of each separate edition expresses this desire, both through the selection of invited writers and through the dialogue themes. A particular importance in the architecture of the festival program is occupied by the panorama of the cultural space in the area of Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region. To date, almost 300 writers have taken part in the events of the International Literature Festival Odesa. Hans Ruprecht and Ulrich Schreiber have been running the festival since its inception.