23 April 2013 Today is Book Day!

Loved by millions – books – celebrate their day today. The 23rd of April is an extraordinary date in the literary calendar: on this day, Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. The same day is also the anniversary of the birth or death of other eminent writers, including: Maurice Druon, Halldór Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla, and Manuel Mejía Vallejo. The 23rd of April is celebrated with revelry in Catalonia, of which Saint George is a patron. In keeping with tradition, on this day, women are given red roses, symbolising the blood of the dragon that St. George slew, and men receive books. All over Spain, reading marathons are organised, during which well-known personalities from the world of culture read Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

The World Book and Copyright Day, established in 1995 by UNESCO, is an annual celebration that aims at promoting reading, editing, and intellectual property protection with the use of copyrights. The idea for the day originated in Catalonia. It came from publisher Vicente Clavel Andrés in 1926. In Spain, Book Day has been an official Holiday since 1930. Since 1964, this tradition has been cultivated in all Spanish-speaking countries. Currently, World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated all over the globe – from New Zealand to Canada.

PLEASE NOTE: Just like last year, the Cervantes Institute in Krakow would like to invite all those willing to read passages from Don Quixote together, in any language, to its library today. The marathon starts at 1:00 p.m. It is worth joining in!

Just as every year, also now, Malopolska bookstores have joined the Book and Rose campaign, lowering book prices by 10% on this day, and selling each book with a free rose. The main idea of the Book and Rose Malopolska Book Days is to promote the development of reading in the region and to encourage people to visit bookstores. Statistics show that almost half of Poles do not read books, and more than half do not buy them. The initiative of the Krakow department of the Polish Book Chamber and the Malopolska Region aims at changing these sad statistics in our region. Many eminent writers, poets, and literary artists live in Malopolska; thriving publishing houses, bookstores and wholesale book companies with a huge intellectual and organisational potential operate here. According to the organisers’ idea, the Book and Rose campaign is supposed to become a great celebration of all those who really care about the fate of books, from their creators to readers.

What is being planned as part of the campaign this year? For details, go to: www.ksiazkairoza.pl