This is a picture of Saint Jordi by an unknown author, I found it on a pavement in beautiful Barcelona.I’m back from Barcelona. I want to write about my trip and …I don’t know where to start. I’m still so overwhelmed with what I saw and who I met, the people, books, Barcelona…
Sant Jordi, or St. George, is the patron saint of Catalonia and the Diada de Sant Jordi, St George’s Day, is a festive occasion that, over the years, has become a celebration of Catalan culture. In fact, it is a celebration of culture and love, represented by books and roses. The tradition is such, that everybody gives each other roses and books. It sounds good to me and it is GOOD!
Barcelona was full of people, books, roses and music and whole city has a full of festive atmosphere.Luis and Amanda.
I arrived on Friday and I met my publisher Luis Zendrera. Luis is the proud owner of the family publisher EDITORIAL JUVENTUD, the oldest publisher in Catalonia.
He is also incredibly nice and a generous host. Together with lovely Amanda they took me everywhere and they showed me places I would never be able to find myself.Amanda showed me the lowest mountain. It’s only 16,9m high and I climbed it on my own!Luis showed me the shortest street. It’s only one block long and the block isn’t very long at all. I also walked it by myself there and back, a couple of times.I was just looking through the photos from Barcelona and realised, that Barcelona isn’t just about beautiful buildings and architecture and history. It’s the atmosphere of the small bars and cafes, it’s about the people who live there.
The next day was Saint Jordi’s Day. Together with other authors and illustrators we signed books at the square de Nicolau Salmerón in Gràcia. We were signing and talking to people for four hours, had lunch and did more signing. Time went quickly, because there was always somebody to talk to and laugh with. I was sitting next to the incredibly talented and really nice André Letria.
Here he is signing books.Here is me signing. We were given these lovely hats to protect us from the sun, but later in the day the wind and rain took my hat away and I never saw it again.
The other authors signing with us were Einar Turkowski, Iban Barrenetxea, Mónica Gutiérrez Serna, David Pintor, Mariona Cabassa, Rebeca Luciani, Gustavo Roldán, Ignasi Blanch, Rocio Bonilla, Anna Llenas, Liliana Fortuny, Lemniscates.
All these authors and illustrators are incredibly talented and their books are truly amazing. In fact it was rather humbling to be in such company. The day went by. It was fun and tiring and overwhelming too.
In the evening we all met in the nice book shop Casa Anita. Then I realised, that Barcelona is full of small publishers, who know each other. They work together, they even share their authors. There is no rivalry or jealousy. These publishers and their authors have only one intention – to make beautiful books. And they do. The books I saw were amazing. The quality of illustrations and also the quality of books themselves. Good formats, paper, colour…the smell of a beautifully printed book. This was what was so incredible and inspiring. Talking to the people who love books and who love what they are doing and who are doing it well. I had time to walk around Barcelona on Sunday. I think I was pretty much everywhere. I was so tired, that later in the afternoon I fell asleep on a bench in the park and when I opened eyes again I saw this. The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família.I also went to see the beautiful garden Park Güell.The place I always wanted to visit. I love the garden. It was nice to see the colours and to watch parrots flying around.Walking through the city, I also saw Mr. Picasso, I think. He was sitting, rather stiffly in one of the shops.I saw angels too.On Monday I was supposed to fly home early in the morning, but my flight was canceled. I didn’t mind at all! Luis, Amanda and Elodie took me to Sitges for a walk and very nice lunch.
Here we are together. Then it was time to go home and this is where I’m now, but to be honest, I’m still partly in Barcelona.
Thank you to EDITORIAL JUVENTUD for inviting me and for the lovely time I had in Barcelona.