With its labyrinthine streets full of churches and monasteries, Segovia is a wonderful medieval town on a hill. From the massive Roman aquaduct, the Gothic cathedral and of course the grand medieval castle or Alcázar on the very top of the hill, it is obvious that the city was declared UNESCO World Heritage for good reason. Every fifteen minutes, you can hear the cathedral bells chime their age-old songs.
A magical backdrop for the first stop of the CELA European festivaltour, where our literary artists presented themselves for the first time. Looking back at a successful kick-off of the European CELA festivaltour at our first stop: Hay Festival in Madrid and Segovia!
Hay Festival Segovia
“Hay Festival brings readers and writers together to share stories and ideas in sustainable events around the world. The festivals inspire, examine and entertain, inviting participants to imagine the world as it is and as it might be.” The festivals take place all year round, in cities all over the world, assembling many different people, from novelists to scientists, politicians to musicians, to engage a dynamic exchange of the latest thinking in the arts and sciences with the audiences. In addition to this, Hay Festival runs education programmes in order to support new generations of writers and culturally engaged audiences. All in all, a very fitting occasion for the first stage presentation of our CELA artists and their work.
Our artists on stage
The adventure started on Friday 21 September when dozens of authors, translators and other artists gathered at the central station of Madrid, to take the special festival train together to Segovia for the opening of Hay Festival. In the morning, the writer-translator duo’s had already visited a high school in Madrid to talk about literary translation. The students read the work of our literary artists in the CELA-brochures beforehand, and during this special CELA masterclass our literary artists striked up a dialogue with them. Afterwards, five of the students even considered becoming literary translators themselves!
That Friday evening, Hay Festival Segovia kicked off on the grand opening with one minute performances of all the performing guests at the towns market square. Our CELA writers ánd translators took the stage and gave impressions of their work with one-minute readings.
The following Saturday morning, 22 September, the moment was finally there. Our CELA artists gathered in one of the beautiful rooms of IE University to present CELA to the public for the first time. In the days preceding the presentation, the writers and translators/artists worked on their stage performance and rehearsed together with Spanish writer Jaime Bartolomé. Together with him, Maurizio Amendola (Italy) and translator Paula Caballero (Spain), Lotte Lentes (The Netherlands) and translator Irene de la Torre (Spain), João Valente (Portugal) and translator Lara Carrión (Spain) as well as Livia Franchini (Italy) and translator Paula Caballero, Catalin Pavel (Romania) and translator Corina Oproae (Spain) and Rebekka de Wit (Belgium) and translator Guillermo Briz (Spain) took the stage. In a setup shown to the public for the first time, the writers and their translators sat side by side on stage, revealing through their interaction the joys, and sorrows, of telling the same story differently. Host Jaime ensured a lively and entertaining presentation of the programme to the public of Hay Festival Segovia, involving and interacting with the audience in a great way.
In anticipation to the festival, three Spanish CELA-writers offered Creative Writing workshops to the public. Mariana Torres explored the role of play and the inner child within artistic and creative activities (see picture below). Matías Candeira led ‘I have something to tell you', a workshop in which you can learn to look differently and build good stories with very little on. And Roberto Osa closed the workshop series with ‘The tools of a writer’, on different tools and techniques a writer can employ to create fiction.
Thank you so much Escuela de Escritores, HAY Festival Segovia and all the writers and translators and Jaime Bartolomé, for providing and taking the stage on this first stop of the European tour: we look back on a successful kick off of our CELA tour.
In the next two months, the CELA festivaltour will continue to travel to Pisa Book Festival in Italy from 9-11 November and Wintertuinfestival in The Netherlands from 21-25 November. Come and meet our artists there - we look forward to seeing you!