Unifying message of the 32nd Book Festival

«We want to point out that we are all united.» This was the optimistic message organizers intended to get across at a recent press conference held to present the 32nd Book Festival in Athens, which starts today and will run to May 25. There are many innovations to this year’s event, the first being the change of location: Instead of its usual spot on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, the festival will be held another pedestrianized road, Ermou, between Gazi and Thiseion. The second change is that, for the first time, the springtime book festival is jointly organized by two major publishers’ associations (SEVA and SEKV) as well as by the National Book Center (EKEBI) and the City of Athens. Alexis Ziras, president of the Hellenic Authors’ Society, was also present at the press conference in order to emphasize the unity of all the different book-related institutions. That is the point that EKEBI director Catherine Velissaris also made in her short statement: «The fact that two large publishers’ associations are organizing the 32nd Book Festival together, with the participation of the National Book Center, is a great leap forward.» The official opening will take place at 8 p.m. tomorrow, in the presence of Culture Minister Antonis Samaras. The organizers have produced a promotional DVD in which 39 prominent personalities from the arts world talk about their relationship with reading. There will not be many parallel events this year, but there were other problems that had to be solved. «If in Brecht’s time ‘screaming’ meant progress, today progress is learning to listen and think about the different existing voices. Every book that tries to express different ideas and feelings can satisfy that need,» noted Loukas Rinopoulos, president of SEVA.