Chrysostomos Pashiardis from the Research Institute “Promitheas”, an observer organisation of transform! europe, reports on the successful book festival held in Nicosia, Cyprus, from 13-14 and 22-24 October 2022, which has been organised by “Promitheas” Research Institute since 2016.
The first two days of the Festival (13-14 October) saw educational workshops and seminars, as well as the official opening of the Festival with a tribute to Portuguese literature, the presentation of the work of Nobel Prize winner José Saramago by the Director of the José Saramago Foundation in Portugal, Sergio Machado Letria, and the presentation of the book "The Shelf Life of Happiness" by Portuguese author David Machado. At the same time, the exhibition dedicated to the life and work of José Saramago was opened by the Ambassador of Portugal to Cyprus, Ms. Vanda Sequeira, and the President of the Promitheas Institute, Mr. Menelaos Menelaou.
The main events of the festival took place on the weekend of 22-23 October rather than on 15-16 October. Despite the original schedule, the outdoor book exhibition and performance stage activities were changed due to weather conditions.
With a significantly upgraded and richer programme, the 7th Nicosia Book Festival succeeded in attracting the interest of the literary community of Cyprus by providing space and time for presentations on five different stages at the festival site in Acropolis Park.
On the Children’s and Literary Stage, the "Analogio at the Park" Stage, the Central Stage and the Cave Hall, festival-goers had the opportunity to see, participate in and enjoy performances (music, theatre), experiential workshops, educational activities, literary workshops, musical interactions, book presentations, discussions and dramatic theatre narrations by writers of the new and older generations from Cyprus and abroad.
48 organisations participated with stands (publishers, bookshops, associations, higher education institutions, libraries, etc.), 5 presentation areas – performance stages and other activities for children (crafts, sports, etc.). It is estimated that more than 15 thousand book titles – in Greek and other languages (mainly English) – were exhibited at the festival.
More than 150 authors were presented on the various presentation stages and at the participants’ stands, and a total of 57 presentations, discussions and performances took place during the four days of the festival, to which the public had free admission. The festival took place on both days of the weekend (22-23 October) from 10.00 to 22.00. The number of visitors is estimated at over 10,000 on both days.
Year after year, there is an increasing interest in the participation of publishers from Cyprus and abroad, as well as new authors, which shows that what the "Promitheas" Research Institute attempted in 2016 with the establishment of this festival is slowly consolidating and growing, becoming a point of reference not only for those involved in the creation of books (authors, publishers, bookshops), but also for university institutions, literary associations and many other organisations that embrace the aims of the festival.
The aim of the festival was to contribute to the efforts to create a culture around books, but also, in a broader sense, to the development of critical thinking in society. This is because, since its foundation, the Promitheas Research Institute has not only aimed to promote interdisciplinary research, theoretical analysis of phenomena and understanding of the political, social, economic and cultural environment, but also to be part of the broader social forces fighting for social change by making concrete proposals and recommendations to solve social problems.
It is also very important to note that the Nicosia Book Fest has been awarded the European EFFE Seal for the fourth time. The EFFE seal is a European quality label for remarkable arts festivals that demonstrate their commitment to the arts, community involvement and international openness. This helps to integrate the NBF into an international network so that the festival and its aims are known in many countries of the European Union.
The Nicosia Book Fest organising committee has already started the first discussions on the content of the 2023 NBF activities. The aim is to announce the dates, the host country, the main pillars of the programme and new collaborations before the end of the year.
The 7th Nicosia Book Fest was organised by "Promitheas" Research Institute, with the support of the Cultural Services of the Deputy Ministry of Culture, the Cyprus Youth Organisation, the Press and Information Office and hosted by the Municipality of Strovolos.