CULTURE

Greek books travel, with less fanfare

The book fair season is upon us – with exhibitions in Barcelona, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Belgrade and Tirana, all in October. Yesterday the National Book Center (EKEBI) and the Panhellenic Federation of Publishers and Booksellers (POEB) met the press at the Stoa tou Vivliou book arcade to explain what form their participation in the upcoming events will take. The keynote will be austerity: «The days of la grande bouffe are over,» announced EKEBI President Dimitris Nollas, heralding a shift away from what he described as a penchant by EKEBI’s previous administration for lavishing money on «pharaonic events» that have left his organization with a debt of 2 million euros, much of which dates back to Greece’s turn as guest of honor at Frankfurt in 2001. But he emphasized the need to participate in regional fairs and to respond to them by building up Scripta, the homegrown fair in Thessaloniki that has yet to stand on its feet. «We want support from the Culture Ministry, and we want to see its strategy clarified.» He expressed confidence that it would take its place one day, just as the now-renowned Thessaloniki International Fair has done. POEB and EKEBI will be at the Liber Fair in Barcelona with an exhibition of Greek books that have been translated into Spanish, and translators of Greek literature into Spanish will be on hand to suggest titles to Spanish-speaking readers and publishers. Frankfurt, the ultimate book fair, will see a Greek national stand run by POEB, EKEBI, the Berlin annex of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture (HFC), the European Translation Center (EKEMEL) and the Hellenic Authors’ Society. Greek titles published in 2003 and 2004 will be on display, promotional material will be available and the writer Soti Triandafyllou will take part in an event at the Hungarian stand as the guest of the HFC. Numerous Greek publishers will have their own stands at the fair. Greek books will also be present at three Balkan book fairs. POEB and EKEBI are going to the huge fair at Tuyap in Istanbul (October 23-31), the Belgrade Fair (October 19-25), and the Tirana Fair (November 2-7).