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On the need for putting the Frankfurt controversy behind us and promoting the books instead.


Wednesday, June 27th saw the offical presentation in Barcelona of the 'Projecte Frankfurt', which involves sending well over a hundred Catalan-language authors from seven different countries (and four different Spanish autonomous communities) to the Frankfurt Book Fair ľ the largest of its kind in the world ľ in October, with a view to putting Catalan literature (the Fair's 'Special Guest' this year) on the international map.
As my paper neighbour Frederic BarberÓ pointed out in his good article last week, whenever Spain is the guest at events of this kind, there is not so much as a mote of dissonance in the air: only Spanish language writers get to go, and that's that (as happened a few months ago at the London Book Fair). But woe betide the Catalans should they attempt to make a similar move: despite the internationally vouched-for scientific definition of Catalan literature as literature written in Catalan, and even though several Catalan writers working in Spanish had been invited but had voluntarily declined to go, howls of outrage went up in Madrid when it was finally announced that only Catalan-language authors would be flying to Frankfurt. So much had these howls upset the 'Projecte Frankfurt' organisers speaking at the presentation last Wednesday, that instead of putting all this negative noise behind them they preferred to jerk their knees in an excruciatingly dull political response, heavily larded with words such as 'nation', 'persecution', and 'cultural genocide', which were not at all called for at that time and place. And there were us writers in the audience, thinking they were going to talk about books, for heaven's sake. Here's hoping they start doing so by the time we get to Frankfurt, because I, for once, do not want to be there just for the beer.

- Textos i contingut: Matthew Tree - Disseny i programaciˇ: Nac -