Monday, 6th May 2013
Franco historian leads glittering array of authors for Gib Literary Festival
by Alice Mascarenhas
Distinguished British historian and Hispanist, biographer of Franco and specialist in Spanish history in particular the Civil War, Professor Paul Preston, heads the impressive list of names confirmed for Gibraltar’s first International Literary Festival.
Also coming that weekend of the 25 - 27 October are best-selling novelist Joanne Harris, American film and television actress Stefanie Powers who many will recall from the hit US TV series Hart to Hart, journalist and TV presenter Peter Snow, and one of the world’s greatest Chinese chefs Ken Hom as well as the world authority in Indian cooking Madhur Jaffrey.
The event expects to bring together some 80 world-class speakers to the Rock with writers from the UK, Gibraltar, USA, Morocco and Spain highlighting the international nature of the event, which aims to portray the multi- cultural richness of Gibraltar.
The weekend will host talks, discussions and debates on a variety of topics ranging from children’s books to crime writing, history and cuisine.
At a press conference at the Garrison Library where members of the business community were present as well as the media, Tourism Minister Neil Costa declared he had been overwhelmed with the response received by writers from all over the world who wished to participate in this festival and to the incredible support from the business community locally. The project he said would not have been possible without their support.
“The reason for calling the festival international,” commented Mr Costa, “is because we are not simply limiting the contribution to UK and local authors but also to authors from Spain and Morocco, to celebrate what is essentially the fusion of cultures and religions of Gibraltar that we take for granted on a daily basis.
“I feel we need to celebrate this and make a highlight of it because it is not all over the world that other countries enjoy the seamless entendre between different cultures and religions. It is more than just tolerance it is fundamental respect for people’s way of live, religious belief and for people to carry on in their world in a way which celebrates each other’s differences together.”
Director of the Festival, Sally Dunsmore said, the response from publishers in London to the launch of this new festival had been great. They had all welcomed it and were very excited about it. The response from authors she said had been the same.
Minister Costa reiterated that the eagerness of such writers of international standing wanting to be part of the festival was most exciting.
“Their commitment to our event is an endorsement of the high standing that the Gibunco Gibraltar International Literary Festival will enjoy in its first edition. To have authors from Gibraltar alongside such well-renowned names, is particularly pleasing, as their participation will highlight the literary talent that exists among us. ”
The Garrison Library will be the Headquarters of the Gibunco Gibraltar International Literary Festival. The Library’s Ballroom has been completely refurbished and was inaugurated yesterday. It will be the used as the festival’s Green Room. Other venues used for the events will include The Convent, The City Hall and The King’s Bastion. Yesterday also saw the issue of a set of three stamps designed by local artist Stephen Perera to celebrate the festival and which highlights three ways in which people worldwide can enjoy the pleasures of reading through printed books, digital book downloads and Braille books.
Other writers who have confirmed their attendance at the first Gibraltar International Literary Festival in October this year are: Diarmaid MacCulloch, Robin Hanbury-Tenison, Claudia Roden, Paul Mellars, Kevin Crossley-Holland, John Holmes, Richard Hamilton, Tom Mogford, John Crace, John Sutherland, DJ Taylor, Rachel Hore, Roma Tearne, Peter Kemp, David Grylls, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Patrick Jephson, Mary-Jo Jacobi, Mercedes Aguirre, Victor Jose Maicas Safont and Robbert Bosschart.