Calling all bibliophiles: your moment has come! The Nicosia Book Fest is back, and it’s bigger and better than ever…
Taking place from May 5 to 7 in Acropolis Park, the event is billed as “A magical journey into the fantastic world of books.” Personally, they had me at ‘books’! We’re promised “dozens of kiosks representing publishing houses from Cyprus and abroad, bookstores, literary unions, authors, university libraries, environmental and other organisations, book presentations, theatre performances,” in terms of literary excitements, and entrance is free for all.
This 2017 festival is the second of its name, and building on the success of last year’s event, organisers aim to establish an institution that will promote books to the Cypriot public of all ages, bring together readers and writers, and highlight local authors at a time when the humble book is “facing particular challenges. Recognising the lack of culture and interest in books, the Prometheus Research Institute has taken the initiative for the organisation of a second Nicosia Book Festival,” organisers explain. “The success of the first event last June opened the way for the establishment of the festival as an event, and our goal is the growth of the Nicosia Book Fest both in size and content, making it a landmark event for Cyprus.”
In terms of programme, the fest certainly looks to be well-attended: at least 30 published authors will be present, along with participating bookstores, publishing houses, cultural institutions, universities, libraries and various other literary organisations. On May 6, for instance, the afternoon’s events begin with a presentation of Thirteen Candles in The Dark (“A shocking journey into the world of darkness, where light takes on a new dimension. A story about the triumph of the human will”) from author Menios Sakellaropoulos, followed by an interactive discussion entitled Book Versus Facebook, which aims to encourage a dialogue on digital publishing and the future of print. At 5.30, award-winning author, mathematician and historian Tefkros Michailidis will present his work of historical detective fiction – the title of which translates into English as roughly Spherical Mirrors, Flat Murder – and then there’s a theatrical performance from Solo For Three based on Constance Sotiriou’s Ayse Goes on Holiday, which won the 2016 Athens Prize for Literature.
There are host of other events on the same day (more readings, presentations and performances) and a dedicated children’s section which runs throughout the festival. Author, illustrator, and educator Helen Papakyriakou will be signing her delightful tale of Sophie and the Dragon; Maria Roussos Karapatakis – another author and illustrator – will do the same for her amusing take on diversity and acceptance in The Hoarse Rooster. The festival is also set to welcome renowned German children’s author Jürgen Banscherus (whose award-winning series A Case for Detective Cluj has been translated into 14 languages and sold over 1,000,000 copies!) who will be hosting a series of interactive games, quizzes, book reviews, discussions and book signings.
Events are no less exciting on the Sunday: we get a presentation of Vasilis Tsirakis’ Between The Years (a fictional panorama of Thessaloniki including the arrival of refugees in 1922 and the persecution of Jews in 1943); a “bicommunal poetic intervention” co-hosted by the Union of Cyprus Writers; a discussion on The Transfer of Oral and Written Tradition in Writing and Illustration; and a theatrical performance from the Antilogos group based on a book about a dragon by well-known illustrator and engraver Hambis Tsangaris. Over in the children’s section, we’ve got a story-telling event from Max Sheridan of Write-CY, whose King Dump and the Great Dinosaur Ban is billed as “a funny, interactive story that teaches children the importance of inclusiveness and open-mindedness”; a presentation of The Ice Cube that was Afraid to Melt by author Louka Panayi; and a theatrical performance from the Studio 33 group based on Vangelis Iliopoulos’ Never Trust An Urchin.
In fact, with a used book sale, book presentations, author discussions, a dedicated children’s corner, and a wonderful book-reading room, the Nicosia Book Festival boasts everything a bibliophile could wish for. Let’s get reading!
The Nicosia Book Fest
In Acropolis Park on May 5 (official opening 6.30pm), May 6 (2 to 10pm) and May 7 (10am to 10pm). For more information and a full programme of events, call 22 432 111, email [email protected], or visit www.nicosiabookfest.com. Entrance is free