Romania has been a constant presence at the London Book Fair since 2007 and I pay my tribute of admiration to so many writers, publishers, translators and literary promoters who, along these eight years, have showcased the excellence of Romanian literature and established lasting relations between Romania and the UK.
Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, wrote a blog piece recently about the disturbing practice arising at some book festivals, where authors are not paid for appearing. Her rallying cry was taken up by the Bookseller and the Society of Authors, which recently published guidelines about the level at which authors should peg event fees.
A lot has been written about World Book Day, and rightly so.A celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading. Shared in over one hundred countries. A beautifully uncomplicated premise in an otherwise complicated world. And yet, like any parade, some people can't wait to piss on it. The main target of their ire, dressing up.
My favourite health and fitness app measures how many steps I've taken each day and how deeply (or- most often- not) I've slept each night. It calculates the balance of the calories I've consumed, and gives me a helpful nudge if I've had too much salt, sugar or saturated fat. It sets me targets, and gives me a virtual pat on the back if I meet or even exceed them.
The 'Read On. Get On' campaign has an historic goal - to eliminate illiteracy. It may surprise some that in this country with its literary heritage, its leading universities, its Nobel laureates, its history and its world-class economy, that illiteracy should remain untamed and intractable. Yet one in five 11-year-olds are still leaving primary school struggling with the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.