BMy first experience as a volunteer for a book exchange organized by the ‘Romanians love books’ Book Club was a lovely event part of Romania’s National Day on the 1st of December 2018. This year, the date marked the Romanian Centenary (100 years since the creation of Greater Romania), celebrated at the Romanian Cultural Institute in London.
The book exchange proved to be very popular among participants and we counted 40-50 books that were happily traded during the two hours event. All contributors were encouraged to bring a book and exchange it for another. These were mainly fiction books by Romanian authors or published in translation into Romanian from other languages. The general response was overwhelmingly positive and encouraged similar events in the future.
Although access to Romanian books in the UK is rather limited, there are many wonderful events and initiatives that promote Romanian literature. One of these is ‘Romanians love books’, facilitated by an enthusiastic team of Romanian librarians at Brent Libraries. Home to a large Romanian community, the London Borough of Brent hosts a superb range of Romanian books in two of its libraries: Wembley and Willesden Green.
Since its 2014 creation at Wembley Library,‘Romanians love books’ Book Club has gained a reputation within the Romanian community for organizing high-quality literary events: book launches, readings and debates. The book exchange was a wonderful opportunity for members of the Romanian community to discuss literature, the need for greater access to Romanian books in the UK and the role of literature and language in maintaining the connection between the diaspora and its national culture.
By Cristina Muresan
Cristina Muresan is a Romanian writer from Transylvania, based in London. In 2015 she published Angel Dust, a book of poetry and short stories. She is also a blogger and holds a PhD in International Relations. Read her blog here.