Sitges, vila del llibre (city of books)
Come on, let's connect these two dots that may come as a surprise at first: a literary festival and an identity claim for Sitges. Well, if you agree, it would be better to hear it as explained by Jordi Barrachina, another serial cultural agitator (yes, in Sitges we have a ton of them), curator of the event and a bridge between the idea's promoters, the City Council and the town's social and economic network: "When they proposed that the town become part of the Vila dels Llibres network, it was clear to us that this wasn't going to be a fair, but a festival. And it had to be a festival that involved everyone, so we decided to make the most of the occasion to reclaim 1920s Sitges, sometimes obscured by the long shadow of Modernisme but key to understanding what Sitges is like and what we Sitgetans are like".
The golden 20's in Sitges marked a crucial change for Sitges: the town made a commitment to tourism, adapted a seaside promenade and opened itself up to the world: we're here and you're all welcome. And the avant-garde appeared, and Federico García Lorca arrived, and we were visited by Dalí and also Buster Keaton, whose photo in his bathing suit -taken here, mind you!- stands out on this festival's poster. "Those were vibrant years -recalls Barachina, who is also a historian-, and in a way they have certain similarities with today's situation: we were coming out of a world war, we had overcome the Spanish flu and people were all fired up".
So Sitges Vila del Llibre will have this double facet that makes the visit even more attractive. On the one hand, the Terramar area, along the Passeig Marítim seafront promenade, will be featuring a market with 50 independent Catalan publishers, which will include presentations of new literary releases, poetry recitals, children's activities and exhibitions. On the other hand, there will be 5 round table discussions focusing on the aforementioned cultural legacy of the 1920s in Sitges. We would like to share with you the titles of two of these round tables, which are highly illustrative of what we are and will continue to be: 'Sitges atrevido' - 'Daring Sitges' (Friday, April 16th at 7 pm at the Teatre el Prado) and 'Sitges canalla: del jazz de los veinte al Sitges Disco de los 60 - ‘Rascally Sitges: from 1920s jazz to 1960s Sitges Disco'.
Proper names in literature? Well of course, those too: a talk with Maria Barbal, honorary Catalan Arts Award winner (on Saturday, April 17 at 12:30 at the Hotel ME Terramar, this festival's sponsor), a poetry recital to celebrate the 100th anniversary of 'L'irradiador del port i les gavienes', by Joan Salvat-Papasseit, and a literary route hand in hand -or rather, voice to ear, because he will guide us via podcast- with Martí Gironell through different literary corners of Sitges.
Everything will be immersed in this literary atmosphere. It will also be noticeable in the stores and restaurants. In the first, in the Old Town and Poble Sec areas, different enigmas will be presented based on word games, and in the second, before, during and after the festival, literary menus will be offered in many cases to inspire the palate even more.
Motives showcased, books prepared and spring in bloom. We'll be waiting for you, as you already know. Borges said that "writing is nothing more than a guided dream". So, let's dream together these days.