The Iasi International Festival of Literature and Translation (FILIT), one of the greatest literary festivals in Europe, reaches its eighth edition. A special edition of the festival will take place between 30 September and 4 October, the organizers adapting the rules of the festival for the conditions imposed by the pandemic.
What is FILIT?
The Iasi International Festival of Literature and Translation is a literary festival which unites hundreds of book experts worldwide. The festival was founded in 2013 by Dan Lungu, Florin Lăzărescu and Lucian Dan Teodorovici and has been organized by The Romanian Literature Museum in Iasi.
FILIT takes place every October and brings together renowned writers, translators, publishers, literary critics, cultural managers from Romania and around the world. During five days, the festival hosts dozens of events, ranging from meetings with some of the most important names in world literature to concerts and workshops. The hosted events target not only the book professionals, but also the general public.
The first edition of the festival took place in 2013 and was a massive success, with more than 26.000 visitors and more than 200 literary experts. Among some of the most important foreign writers who participated in the first edition are François Weyergans, François Garde and Jean Mattern from France, David Vann and Andrew Cowan from Great Britain, Jan Konneffke from Germany or Aris Fioretos from Sweden. The first edition played an important role for Romania’s future collaborations with similar festivals in France and Switzerland and also created the perfect context for meetings between Romanian writers and foreign translators. One of the foreign publications which recognized the success of the festival was the Spanish weekly El Pais, which wrote that FILIT was “even from its first edition, the most important literary festival in Eastern Europe”.
The following editions maintained the prestige of the festival and more personalities decided to participate, such as the winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature Svetlana Alexievici and Gao Xingjian, or the most important Polish writer, Olga Tokarczuk. Nobel Laureate Prize for Literature in 2000, Chinese writer Gao Xingjian, claimed after participating in the fifth edition: “I find FILIT to be a real miracle, one that I couldn’t have imagined before arriving here.” American author Jeff Linsday, the creator of the famous character Dexter, also had only praise words for the festival after participating in the same edition: “It’s the best festival I’ve ever participated in. And I’ve been to many, all around the world. It’s the best organized and it’s been a wonderful experience for me.”
The Eighth Edition
This year most of the events will take place out of doors and will maintain the diversity the participants are used to.
The first day of the festival will be dedicated to Emil Brumaru, the writer and poet from Iasi who deceased in 2019, as a tribute for him and his work. The day will begin with an exhibition which aims to remind the public of Emil Brumaru’s life and poetry by displaying some of his belongings, manuscripts, books and photographs. After the exhibition, the public will be able to take part in a discussion between Liviu Antonesei and Alexandru Călinescu about the poet’s life.
The following days will be filled with exhibitions, film projections, book releases, workshops, debates, competitions and many more. The variety of topics covered is vast, with debates and workshops about the translation of comics into Romanian, journalism during the pandemic or the (in)visibility of the translator. The festival also comes to the aid of budding translators, who can participate in translation contests or discuss with consecrated translators.
Thus said, the Iasi International Festival of Literature and Translation promises to fulfil the expectations of the most pretentious participants, being appropriate for anyone who has a thirst for literature and culture. If you want to learn more about other Romanian events which are renowned in Europe, The George Enescu International Competition is a great place to start.