This year’s Sant Jordi, on 23 April, will be a rather unusual affair as a result of the state of emergency for Covid-19. As the city waits to visit bookshops when they reopen, this year’s celebrations will take place from home.
The Barcelona Institute of Culture, through Biblioteques de Barcelona and Barcelona Llibres, is promoting a number of activities to capture people’s imagination, encourage children at home and give support to local booksellers.
‘Longing for my local bookshop’
In a bid to keep the spirit of the event alive and get behind local bookshops, a campaign has been presented entitled ‘Longing for my local bookshop. My Sant Jordi awaits’. The idea is to urge people to go and buy books when their local booksellers re-open, helping the sector to recover. At the same time, the initiative is about backing literature and all professionals in this sphere, from authors to bookshops and publishers.
Sant Jordi is also a day of roses, so people are being encouraged to make them visible by producing homemade versions and hanging them on their balconies until florists re-open. This means using things we have at home, such as stationary and recycled items, from which plenty of roses are sure to blossom. By placing them on our balconies we’ll be sharing them with our neighbours, filling 23 April with very special roses.
The social media for Barcelona Ciutat de la Literatura, Barcelona Cultura and Biblioteques de Barcelona are acting as loudhailers for book recommendations for Sant Jordi. Some fifty writers and ten librarians from the city will be helping book lovers to reserve books in a local bookshops and go and pick them up once the lockdown ends.
‘Sant Jordi dialogue’ on Instagram
Using the Biblioteques de Barcelona Instagram profile, Empar Moliner and the critic Julià Guillamon will be chatting in an unusual version of the Opening Speech on Reading, held every year in the Saló de Cent.
The dialogue will be broadcast live on Instagram on Wednesday 22 April, at 6 pm.
New books which are free to download
Since the start of the lockdown, Barcelona Llibres, the website for publications by the City Council, has been offering all citizens free downloads of some of its titles. To celebrate Sant Jordi from home, the website is offering Retrats de la Barcelona comunitària, a book with initiatives and experiences of community organisation in the city to transform its life, surroundings and relationships.
‘Estimat diari’ for Sant Jordi too
Children in the city are also invited to draw and share the cover of the book which has been helping them the most in recent weeks. They can do this on the platform ‘Estimat diari’. They’re also being encouraged to make art and craft roses, hang them on their balconies and photograph them to upload onto ‘Estimat diari’.