‘Day of European Authors’: A New Outreach to Youth

In News by Porter Anderson

The EC’s first ‘Day of European Authors’  has been welcomed and co-organized in at least 27 European member-states, led by Brussels.

Image: European Union, artwork for the 2023 inaugural ‘Day of European Authors’ initiative

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Levi: ‘Fostering Reading in Schools’
Today (March 27), the European Commission’s new “Day of European Authors” initiative led by GERB party member Mariya Ivanova Gabriel, has been welcomed by the Federation of European Publishers in Brussels. Gabriel, of course, has since 2019 held the role of European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, a particularly broad portfolio.

Indeed, Gabriel on March 21 and 22, led a trade mission to Silicon Valley in California “to showcase the European innovation ecosystem and attract investors.” Of particular interest was a message to the American technologists that Europe “is on an equal footing with Silicon Valley in the area of groundbreaking deep-tech innovations, while offering a more balanced, attractive and affordable lifestyle.”

The federation describes the intent of the new campaign as being “to reconnect younger generations with book reading and help them discover the richness of European literature.

“The federation welcomes the initiative as an opportunity to promote the diversity and wealth of European literature,” according to the statement provided to Publishing Perspectives, “and emphasizes the importance of fostering reading in schools.”

To see the sheer breadth of the first outing for this new program today, have a look at this listing of schools in which “Day of European Authors,” programming has been scheduled. There are listings for 27 nations there.

Ricardo Franco Levi

Ricardo Franco Levi, president of the federation, says, “I wish to thank our commissioner, Mariya Gabriel, for having initiated this special day on which authors are invited to visit schools and share their love of books and reading.

“More readers mean more educated citizens and more democracy.

“I hope that this initiative is repeated and amplified in the years to come; campaigning for reading should be round-the-clock.”

Levi is also president of the Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori, AIE), and has been appointed an extraordinary commissioner by Rome for the Guest of Honor Italy at Frankfurter Buchmesse in 2024. His work in engaging young Italians in the “habit of reading” has been evident in his efforts to see the 18App created and maintained in his market, along with other initiatives to support the nation’s educational framework for literature and publishers’ centricity in Italian culture.

The federation reports that authors and translators have “answered the call of the European Union Prize for Literature—which is organized cooperatively by the federation and the European and International Booksellers Federation—to take part in the day’s initiative. Authors have also been called to participate by the European Writers Council, led by Nina George, resulting in as many as 100 authors from many parts of the European Union being involved today.

Of special interest to Gabriel, who is from Bulgaria, have been secondary-school readings by authors in her nation’s stately capital, Sofia. She has been one of the speakers in that programming, we’re told, along with the Bulgarian Book Association president Dessi Alexieva.

Also in Sofia, today’s agenda has included a daylong conference on reading promotion

  • You can see a display of authors taking part under the auspices of the European Writers’ Council here.
  • And a similar listing of author-participants is available from the European Union Prize for Literature here.

In the Writers’ Council’s listing, you’ll see the phrase “tour of authors,” which is actually part of the program as mandated by the European Commission as “a tour of European authors who will visit schools, libraries, and bookstores [to] read a piece of their works and encourage students to discover other European authors.”

And you can find a brochure about the program here (PDF), in which you can see outlined Brussels’  concept for the program and recommendations to the member-states in considering putting together programming in line with the idea and intent of this bloc-wide effort.

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Federation of European Publishers is here, more on the European and International Booksellers Federation is here, more on the European Writers’ Council is here, more on the European Union Prize for Literature is here, and more on reading and its promotion is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.