Claudio Magris (2012)

Just like a year earlier, when we presented all 27 EU member countries in honour of Hungary’s EU presidency, for the nineteenth Book Festival we invited, with Denmark, then in charge of the rotating EU presidency, as the main organiser, the representatives of the culture, the book publishing industry and the contemporary literature of four Scandinavian countries and Finland to Budapest. The Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish authors who presented themselves under the group name of Nordic countries, among them world-famous writers, fascinated Hungarian book lovers. Their presentation found broad interest, not least also due to the fact that Hungarian publishers, too, did their best by publishing 120 new translations for the Guest of Honour presence of the Nordic countries. The Budapest Grand Prize for the Guest of Honour writer was awarded to Trieste-born world-famous Italian writer Claudio Magris who authentically represents the Central European idea with every piece of his oeuvre – as a kind of anticipation of Italy’s Guest of Honour presence at the XXth, jubilee International Book Festival Budapest. The nineteenth Book Festival was attended by writers and exhibitors from 40 countries, visitors to the Millenáris had a choice between 350 cultural programmes and nearly 60.000 exhibited volumes, among them more than 300 Hungarian novelties. The number of visitors fell short only by a few hundred of the visitors’ record of 61.000.