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ROMANIA ROCKS: Romanian-British Literature Festival

ROMANIA ROCKS* is a joyfully original festival of Romanian-British literary events, initiated by the Romanian Cultural Institute 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 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.

Due to the current Covid-19 crisis, it is not possible to stage or attend all events in person. All events will be filmed and subsequently made available for free via our websites and social media. Watch this space for further updates regarding the guests and dates.


CONVERSATIONS: 19 October – 13 November | RCI London & online
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.
Norman Manea and Ben Okri | Andrei Codrescu and David Mitchell | Eugen Ovidiu Chirovici and Ian Rankin | Ana Blandiana and Fiona Sampson | Marius Chivu and Paul Bailey | Ioana Pârvulescu and A.L. Kennedy | Magda Cârneci and Deborah Levy | Matei Vișniec and Elif Shafak

POETRY: 27 October | event recorded in Bucharest and streamed online
Let there be Poetry! Live readings with PEN Romania.
With poets Claudiu Komartin, Radu Vancu, Svetlana Cârstean, Andra Rotaru, Radu Nițescu.

WORKSHOPS & SEMINARS: 19 October – 13 November | RCI London & online
      > Translators’ Workshop, with the support of the British Centre for Literary Translation. Participants invited: Gabi Reigh, Jozefina Komporaly, Alistair Ian Blyth, Philip Ó Ceallaigh, Lidia Vianu, Andreea Scridon, Diana Manole, Viorica Patea, Sean Cotter, Adam Sorkin.
> Publishing Romania Seminar, in collaboration with Publishers Without Borders. The participants will discuss challenges of publishing in translation today on the UK, Romania and international markets. Presentation of the TPS & Publishing Romania funding programmes by the National Book Centre in Bucharest.
      > The Language of the Romanian Blouses.Workshop with Ioana Corduneanu and British authors who will produce a collective poem/short story /piece of sewing/artwork inspired by the blouse.

SCREENINGS: 19 October – 13 November | RCI London & online
      > The Distance Between Me and Me (Distanţa dintre mine şi mine), directed by Mona Nicoară & Dana Bunescu.
      > Soldiers, Story from Ferentari (Soldații. Poveste din Ferentari), directed by Ivana Mladenovic.
      > Moromete Family. On the Edge of Time (Moromeții 2), directed by Stere Gulea.
      > Parking, directed by Tudor Giurgiu.

SPECIAL EVENTS: 19 October – 13 November | RCI London & online
      > UK-based Romanian authors in conversation. Invited guests: Stela Brinzeanu, Vica Demici, Cristina Muresan, Simona Nastac, Anda Vahnovan, Andreea Scridon, Mihai Stet. Chaired by Paula Erizanu.
      > Romania-based British authors in conversation. Invited guests: Arabella McIntyre-Brown, Mike Ormsby. Chaired by Bronwen Riley.
      > When distance becomes air: Ruxandra Cesereanu and Andrei Codrescu meet in a virtual space where they perform based on their writings, letters/messages and thoughts.

CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES: 24-25 October | RCI London & online
> Drawing and storytelling workshop with Axel Scheffler and Maria Surducan
> Storytelling with Simona Antonescu
> Screenings and workshops.

CLOSING EVENT: 13 November | RCI London & online
Rock concert on the Roof: Publika & Guests

The festival is supported by dedicated bookshops selling books from both the Romanian and British authors:
The European Bookshop: Click here for books in English
Cărți Românești: Click here for books in Romanian


Details about the Festival:

The festival is the brainchild of the Romanian Cultural Institute 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. Literary Co-ordinator, Brochure & Website: Anna Blasiak. Logo: Cristian Luchian. Translation & Editorial Assistant: Andreea Scridon.

All events are free, filmed by London Video Stories and will be available subsequently on Facebook, YouTube and RCI London & European Literature Network websites.

*ROMANIA ROCKS: This unique literary festival takes its name from Romania’s world-famous living, moving, growing rocks, the stunning geographical phenomenon known as “Trovants”. Hence our distinctive “rocks logo”. Romania’s rocks are also a superb metaphor for its vibrant and original literature and for a festival that aims to address some of the “cornerstone issues” of the day with our Romanian and British authors, from the environment to culture, health to technology, and of course, the transformative power of storytelling. Can literature make sense of today’s traumas and challenges and illuminate our lives?


Romanian Cultural Institute
1 Belgrave Square
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Romanian Cultural Institute
0207 752 0134