Sant Jordi coming up!

Another two weeks and it is 23 April: Sant Jordi, and nowadays also World Book Day. So the perfect occasion to visit your local bookshop and buy or order some books and surprise your loved one (or yourself, of course) with works written by Catalan women poets and novelists.

If you do not master (sufficiently) the language, you can browse the catalogue of literary translations from Catalan into other languages on TRAC, the database of the Institut Ramon Llull, or ask your bookseller. Here are some suggestions.

In case you like to read fiction, look for

  • Caterina Albert who wrote under the penname of Victor Català (Solitud)
  • Maria Barbal (Pedra de tartera, País íntim)
  • Carme Riera (Dins el darrer blau, La meitat de l’ànima)
  • Mercè Rodoreda (La Plaça del Diamant, El carrer de les Camèlies, Jardí vora el mar, Mirall trencat)
  • Montserrat Roig (Ramona, adéu, El temps de les cireres, La veu melodiosa)

or novels by a new generation of writers:

For poetry ideas:

The tradition of Sant Jordi

Exit Sant Jordi. Enter Santa Jordina.

Sant Jordi (Saint George) has always been one of Catalonia’s heroes, particularly thanks to the legend of Saint George and the Dragon. According to this story he tamed and slayed the dragon that demanded the princess, who remained unnamed, as his next human sacrifice.

Now it looks like Sant Jordi is passed his sell-by date, as Santa Jordina is winning ground and acts in her own right. But not as the passive princess who waits to be rescued, but as the girl who rescues others or empowers the people.

Her voice is heard in a couple of books that have appeared lately, like La revolta de Santa Jordina (Amsterdam Llibres), Santa Jordina (La Galera), Georgina i la dragona (Editorial Beascoa), La Jordina i el drac Parrac (Baula) and La princesa, els llibres i el drac (La Galera).

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Since the Middle Ages Saint George’s name day, and of course Saint Georgina’s as well, is celebrated on 23 April and in those days men used to offer a red rose to their lover as a token of their affection. Nearly a century ago another practice was added and women gave their lover a book.

Nowadays this custom is recognized internationally and the UNESCO has turned it into an annual event: World Book Day. Fortunately today books are given as a present to women and men alike.

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