Romania Rocks: the first ever Romanian-British literature festival launches in London


Announcing ROMANIA ROCKS*, a joyfully original festival of Romanian-British literary events, initiated by the Romanian Cultural Institute (RCI) in London and featuring the best and brightest “rock star authors” from both countries in conversation about the literature and ideas that matter to them and to the world today. Paul Bailey, Vesna Goldsworthy, AL Kennedy, Deborah Levy, David Mitchell, Ben Okri, Ian Rankin, Elif Shafak, Fiona Sampson, George Szirtes and Axel Scheffler are in the line-up of UK-based authors, who will be head to head with their Romanian counterparts, Ana Blandiana, Magda Cârneci, Ruxandra Cesereanu, Eugen Chirovici, Marius Chivu, Andrei Codrescu, Norman Manea, Ioana Pârvulescu and Matei Vișniec. They are part of ROMANIA ROCKS, a spectacular digital-physical series of events launching on 30th Sept 2020 and coinciding with the publication of THE ROMANIAN RIVETER magazine. The festival concludes with a Romanian-British rock concert at the RCI in London on 13th Nov 2020. 

THE ROMANIAN RIVETER marks a première in the history of two cultures. Launched in September 2020 in two cities, in Timişoara on 24th Sept at the LitVest International Literature Festival, hosted by festival director and author, Tudor Crețu, and in London on 30th Sept at an event hosted by founder of the Riveter and the European Literature Network (ELNet), Rosie Goldsmith. It is the first time that a British literary magazine has been dedicated entirely to Romania. Poets, prose writers, dramatists, essayists, translators and publishers all feature in one magazine, which includes many famous names and many writers published in English for the first time. The Romanian Riveter magazine is the eighth in the series brought to you by the European Literature Network.

The Riveter launch is also the first event in the first festival of Romanian-British literature, ROMANIA ROCKS*, which runs from 30th September to 13th November 2020. The festival is the brainchild of the Romanian Cultural Institute (RCI) in London, under Festival Director Magda Stroe. It is co-curated by the literary dream team of Rosie Goldsmith, the festival’s Artistic Director, and Gabriela Mocan, the festival’s Creative Producer. The headline “Rock Talks” conversations bring together some of today’s greatest Romanian and British literary brains to discuss issues and ideas close to their hearts. Workshops, seminars, performances, children’s activities and film screenings will also take place at the RCI during the festival season, imaginatively integrating physical and digital participation in order to reach not just Britain and Romanian audiences but audiences around the world. All events are free, filmed by London Video Stories and will be available subsequently on YouTube via our two websites. The festival is supported by dedicated bookshops selling books from both the Romanian and British authors. There will be information about all authors and their works on the websites.

Magda Stroe, Acting Director RCI and Festival Director Romania Rocks, says:

Unlike Romanian music and film, and despite its brilliance, Romanian literature is less well-known in the English-speaking world. ROMANIA ROCKS is a great incentive for early adopters to join us this autumn for a unique perspective of a vibrant culture. We promise to make every event on the festival agenda a truly remarkable occasion. As we prepare to roll out the red carpet for some of the most admired authors of our time, we would like to thank the European Literature Network, Rosie Goldsmith, the festival’s Artistic Director, and the whole festival team for sharing our enthusiasm for Romanian literature and believing that it is worth shouting about. Let’s rock!

Rosie Goldsmith, Artistic Director, says:

Our ambition with the Romanian Riveter magazine and the Romania Rocks festival is to make an impact and to shine a literary light on one of the most beautiful and creative countries in Europe, which I first visited for the BBC during the Romanian Revolution. I’ve been passionate about Romania ever since. This is the first festival and magazine of its kind; the first time so many of Romania’s and Britain’s greatest living authors meet in creative conversation. I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved against so many odds in this pandemic period and I’m so grateful to every single person involved. 

Gabriela Mocan, Creative Producer, says:

In 2013, when I joined London’s Romanian Cultural Institute as a project manager, organising numerous cultural programmes for the following six years, literature was one of my greatest, lifelong passions. Romanian literature then became the main focus, and my objective was to take it to the forefront of Europe’s literary traditions by producing a ground-breaking event that will not only open it to a global readership but also celebrate its gifted authors. It is my great joy and honour to turn this into reality through these daring projects developed with a strong and passionate team of leading professionals. Now I can proudly echo Virginia Woolf’s creed – “Words do not live in dictionaries; they live in the mind”!

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