Writers, journalists from the local, national and international media and readers of all ages came on Wednesday, 1 October, to the Grand Auditorium of the “Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre to take part in the event “The Festival greets its guests”, the official opening of the FILIT evenings. The host of the event, Irina Păcurariu (TVR), called to the stage, one by one, the organisers and the supporters of the 2014 Iaşi International Festival of Literature and Translation, and asked them to say a few words.
“I don’t know whether I should be sorry I missed last years’ edition or to be extremely happy I’m here for the second edition. This is one of the few events in Romania that do not have a target audience of a precise age. This affair that we are all a part of now would not have been possible if Iaşi had not had at some point three writers who were so sublimely insane as to set out organising a festival of such magnitude”, said Irina Păcurariu in the opening of the evening, speaking about Lucian Dan Teodorovici, Florin Lăzărescu and Dan Lungu, the festival manager, whom she invited on the stage forthwith.
The writer Dan Lungu admitted he was nervous, but justifiably so, as the festival this year has twice as many guests and more events than the first edition; he did say it is comforting, at the same time, to have twice as many friends in the audience. “I invite you to take part in all the events. I know you won’t be able to, because it’s a big festival, that’s how it came out, we couldn’t do it any other way, we’ve aimed very high. There are three, four, five things happening at the same time, all of them interesting. But we’ll have to choose. It is a difficult exercise, but you’ll definitely manage to put together your own programme, one that will satisfy you”, said the festival manager. He continued by thanking the writers and friends Lucian Dan Teodorovici and Florin Lăzărescu, together with whom he has visited festivals around the world, and thus got the idea that later grew and became FILIT. The writer admitted that he would pay close attention to the reactions and statements made by those in the administrative and political circles, because he is expecting promises and commitments for the future editions of the festival. “Because this is a big, important, solid festival that the citizens of Iaşi – as well as those of Romania, why not? ‒ have earned; I hope to see you all again next year, in this same hall, at the National Theatre”, added Dan Lungu.
The mayor of Iaşi, Gheorghe Nichita, stated he was glad to see the Iaşi Festival of Literature and Translation reach its second edition and that he supports it wholeheartedly, “because this city of ours must prove at this stage that it is capable of becoming an European Cultural Capital not just through what history and the past have left us, through the traditions of this marvellous city, but also through what we do today and especially through what we’ll design as a strategy for the future”.
Bogdan Olteanu: “Hopefully you’ll be able to produce a new Junimea Society, because we need it”
The Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Romania, Bogdan Olteanu, stressed the fact that the Bank has had a long experience of patronage – 134 years. “In our special way we feel we, too, are writers. Among other writers, we’re the ones who write money. We write it, we edit it and we print it,” added the Deputy Governor of the National Bank. He went on to say that, of the seven banknotes in circulation in Romania, the most valuable of them carry the portraits of writers. “The foreigners who see them, the specialists, say that the banknote with Lucian Blaga’s portrait is one of the most beautiful in circulation in the world today,” said Bogdan Olteanu “It is the only banknote in the world, as far as I know, on which one can read two poems, «Self-portrait» and «9 May 1895»”, underlined the Deputy Governor of the National Bank. They were selected and put on the banknote – where they can be read using a magnifying glass – by the poet who sits on the Bank’s Board of Directors, George Virgil Stoenescu. The Deputy Governor closed: “Hopefully you’ll be able to produce a new Junimea Society, because we need it”, he said, addressing both those on the stage and in the audience.
Taking the floor, Nicolae Manolescu, president of the Romanian Writers’ Union, reminded those in attendance that, of all the domains of culture in Romania, the only one that is not funded in an organized and systematic manner, under a legal regulation at this moment, is literature. “All other domains are funded according to certain laws, literature isn’t. Without the effort of publishing houses and that of local authorities, Romanian literature would not have survived,” Nicolae Manolescu admitted, adding that to him it seems an extraordinary thing to see such events organised. “Without such things, Romanian literature would be just books on a shelf or on a tablet, and we don’t know who would read them and what the readers would say about them”, he said.
“Most of the guests at this edition are our partners in international events, and so we meet at Romania’s booth set up at international fairs by the Romanian Cultural Institute. Starting with last year, there is a place in Romania where all these people can meet. I congratulate you for managing to gell together so many energies and to make a place on the Romanian map where you can meet so many valuable people at the same time,” stated Lilian Zamfiroiu, president of the Romanian Cultural Institute.
Cristian Adomniței, president of the Iasi County Council, confessed that the idea that later turned into FILIT has existed for a ling time. “In the beginning it was just a dream with a few dreamers, last year the dream came true for the first time, and this year I, one of those dreamers, feel the festival has a life of its own”, added Mr. Adomniței, supporting this statement by pointing out that, from the first edition, the initiators were joined by people “who believed in this beautiful idea”.
The opening of the FILIT evenings continued with the meeting that had David Lodge as a guest, moderated by Prof. Codrin Liviu Cuțitaru, dean of the Faculty of Letters at the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași.