Page 1

Pocket Guide 5 - 9

t h

S eptember


Contents Introduction


and Welcome the Churches


the Authors




Your Guides


Santa maddalena


Acknowledgements 22 bibliography




As mayor of Biertan, Copşa Mare and Richiş, I am delighted to welcome you all as guests to our beautiful valley with its fine ancient Saxon villages, gently rolling hills terraced for vines and agriculture and ancient fortified churches. The church of Biertan, once the home of the Bishopric, is one of the finest fortified churches in Transylvania and is correspondingly a UNESCO site. Five kilometres down the valley is the neighbouring village of Richiş, where the church is yet more ancient with monastic foundations. Copşa Mare’s church and Priest house form an outstandingly picturesque group. All are surrounded by breathtaking scenery. I would like to record my thanks, on behalf of our community, for your interest in coming to Richiş, with its long musical tradition, to celebrate literature and poetry at the heart of our village in the newly restored Village Hall. This gives me the opportunity of thanking all those who have supported the villages with new, encouraging initiatives, including our own Pro Richiş charitable trust, The Mihai Eminescu Trust and the Horizon Foundation who have restored the Village Hall and the Town Hall. All are involved with another important building near the church. I would also like to thank La Curtea Richvini who are providing a sustainable and accessible camping site and pensione in the Priest House. May I end with offering best wishes for the success of the first Transylvanian Book Festival in Transylvania and I am very proud that it is taking place within my jurisdiction. Mircea Mihai Dragonmir, Primar 4

I very much appreciate the initiative to organize a first edition of the Transylvanian Book Festival this year, where the English speaking writers can meet their inspiration, new readers, and maybe new ideas. The beauty of the region has inspired so much great literature and now brings together creativity and cultural exchanges. Therefore, I gladly support this international literature event in the heart of Romania as an example of Romanian-British cultural cooperation.

HE dr Jinga Ambassador, Embassy of Romania to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


e Chures The three villages of Copşa Mare, Richiş and Biertan, retain their late medieval pattern and are surrounded by the lands originally given by the Hungarian Kings in the 12th century to promote agriculture. Saxons (originally from the Rhine-Moselle region) were given their own land as freemen, learning their skills from the Cistercians. The larger villages were divided into neighbourhoods each donating a quota of hours and materials towards the upkeep of the church. The Priest, Priest House, School and Church, were the vortex of these communities. Being on trade routes brought Gothic and Early Renaissance forms into the Carpathians. The churches were fortified against the Ottoman threat and, indeed, local disorder. Within the walls was enough protection for the community and their needs.


î ?e Churîƒ˝es B I E R Tan... The current church was established between 1500 and 1525, just before the Reformation in Transylvania. It was the seat of the Lutheran Bishop from 1572 and for the next three hundred years. Lucas Unglerus was the first incumbent. As with so many Saxon churches the pre Reformation altarpiece (1483-1515) was retained and is superb. This hall church has a fine net vault in the Middle European tradition. The choir stalls and a rare door of intarsia work are from the first quarter of the 16th century. Biertan is UNESCO listed. Bacon tower, frescoed Catholic chapel and marriage house are all intact within the walls.


e Chures R I C H I ş... It is said that the villagers evicted the monks at the Reformation. The village hall, where the Book Festival is being held, could have been built on the cloister garth. The building of the three-aisled basilica began in the second half of the 14th century and finished in 1451. Unusually, for Transylvania, the west door has a carved tympanum depicting the Centurian at the foot of the Cross. The interior too, is richly carved with foliage and 'Green Men'. The presbytery door, as with Biertan is from the workshop of Johannes Reichmuth in Sighişoara. The altar is late Baroque of 1775 and the fine organ dates from 1788, currently being restored by an Anglo Romanian team. Much of the fortifications were removed to build the school when the population expanded in the early 1900s. The church's two Anatolian rugs are in Mediaş.


e Chures C o pşa MarE... The church in Copşa Mare, as with Biertan, stands above the village, and, with the Priest House creates a picturesque group. First mentioned in 1283 the earliest part of the extant building is early 14th century. The aisles were demolished in the 16th century to build the defences. The original bell exists in the tower as do the organ bellows.

My thanks to Dr. Hermann Fabini for permission to illustrate his ground plans and drawings. Dr. Fabini was involved with the restoration of Biertan church which was awarded the EUROPa nOSTRa diploma in 1991. 9


e Autho William Blacker William Blacker was the first to raise the alarm about the exodus of the Saxons and the vacuum it would leave. His life in the Mara Mures and the impact of the modern world is beautifully documented. His story of love and life in Romania, Along the Enchanted Way, was published in 2009. artemis Cooper




Artemis Cooper worked in Egypt and New Mexico before beginning her career as a writer. Her many books include her latest biography, Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure which is based on unrestricted access to Leigh Fermor’s private papers and interviews with him over several years. Sara Dootz Sara Dootz was born in Viscri in 1936. Her autobiography is Mit der Sonne steh ich auf and is the result of an interview given to Werner Schmitz by Sara on her life, her village and its traditions.




Jessica Douglas-Home Jessica Douglas-Home has written three books, and journalism for the Guardian, the Telegraph, The Times, the Spectator and the Wall Street Journal. She will talk about Once Upon Another Time and about the work of the Mihai Eminescu Trust, of which she was co-founder.

e Autho Roy Foster



Roy Foster is Carroll Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford and the author of many books on modern Irish history. He has also written biographies and his most recent book is Words Alone: Yeats and his Inheritances. He is also a well-known cultural commentator, broadcaster and critic. nick Hunt



In 1934, Patrick Leigh Fermor meandered through Romania as part of his epic walk from Rotterdam to Istanbul. 78 years later Nick Hunt followed in his footsteps. He will talk about the differences between their walks, what has vanished and how Romania's magic is still intact. Michael Jacobs


Michael Jacobs lives between England and Spain. His many books on art and travel include The Good and Simple Life, The Factory of Light, Andes, and The Robber of Memories. Claudiu Komartin


Claudiu Komartin is an award-winning poet who was born in Bucharest in 1983. He is editor-in-chief of Poesis International magazine and he’s editing, alongside Radu Vancu, the series of poetry anthologies ‘Cele mai frumoase poeme’ (‘Best Romanian Poems’).



e Autho Beatrice Rezzori Monti della Corte Beatrice Rezzori Monti della Corte, wife of Gregor von Rezzori is a legend in the literary world. In the home she restored with her husband outside Florence she has created a Foundation in his memory, which is a haven for writers and she has been the source of inspiration to many. Elisabeth Jelen Salnikoff



Count Miklós Bánffy (1873-1950) was variously a diplomat, MP and foreign minister. His Transylvanian Trilogy has been published throughout Europe, in the US and in Chinese. Elisabeth Jelen Salnikoff is the elder granddaughter of Miklós Bánffy and the daughter of Countess Bánffy, co-translator of The Transylvanian Trilogy. She lives in Paris. Hans Schaas




Hans Schaas and his wife are among the few Saxons left in Richiş. He still farms and keeps alive the small congregation in the beautiful medieval church. He gives an invaluable and lively insight into a way of life that was extraordinary in his newly published Das Leben ist so schön, wenn man darüber lächeln kann. It was realized through a MET project with help of Horizon Foundation. Interviews were conducted and written by Andrea Rost.

e Autho Jaap Scholten


Jaap Scholten is a Dutch author living and working in Budapest who has written short stories and novels. His latest book, Comrade Baron documents his travels through Hungary and Romania, where he met members of the former Transylvanian aristocracy, talking with them about their rich past, about the horrors of the communist period and about their future. Tony Scotland



Tony Scotland is a travel writer and biographer who was a familiar voice on BBC Radio Three. In 1989 he took leave from the BBC to travel through Eastern Europe, on a journey encouraged by Patrick Leigh Fermor. His latest book, Lennox and Freda, is a candid biography of the composer Lennox Berkeley. Stephen Watts Stephen Watts quit university aged 20 and went to live in the Outer Hebrides where he became a poet. Now living in London’s East End he has continued to write with recent books being translated into Italian and published as bilingual editions. He and Claudiu Komartin have co translated each other’s work.


uday 5th Septemr to Monday 9th Septemr

There will be daily transfers to and from Richiş and your accommodation. This is not relevant to those with daily tickets.

all talks will be held in Richiş. 14

uday 5th Septemr 19.15 19.30 22.00

Transfers from Copşa Mare and Richiş to Biertan. Meet at Restaurant Unglerus, Biertan for dinner. Return to Copşa Mare and Richiş in minibuses.

Friday 6th Septemr 09.30

Transfers from Copşa Mare and Biertan to Richiş.


Welcome by Lucy abel Smith.



Michael Jacobs Memories of Transylvania and other writers. Jessica Douglas Home ~ Once Upon Another Time. The threatened destruction of Transylvanian villages. Tony Scotland ~ Journey through Eastern Europe before Christmas 1989. nick Hunt ~ Walking the Woods and the Water.


Lunch in the Priest House Garden or the Hall.

14.00 to 17.45

Minibuses will be on hand for guided visits to Copşa Mare, the church and other buildings in Richiş and the great church at Biertan with Lucy abel Smith, Caroline Juler, andrea Rost and Willy Schuster.


Michael Jacobs will be in conversation with Beatrice Rezzori Monti della Corte and William Blacker.


Depart for Moşna to visit church with welcome drinks, followed by dinner in Alma Vii by kind invitation of the Primar of Moşna and Temple Melville.

11.05 11.30


Saturday 7th Septemr 09.30

Transfers from Copşa Mare and Biertan to Richiş.



Professor Roy Foster ~ Transylvania Is Not England: Bram Stoker and the location of Dracula. Hans Schaas and Sara Dootz in conversation with Caroline Fernolend and andrea Rost about life in the Saxon Villages before the early 1990s. William Blacker ~ Along the Enchanted Way.


Lunch in Richiş.


Excursion to Sighişoara, citadel town and birth place of Vlad the Impaler with Professor Foster and Lucy abel Smith. There will be further guided visits to Mediaş, Malincrav Manor, Alma VII and some of lesser-known villages in the surrounding area. These will be with the expert guides Willy Schuster, Caroline Juler and andrea Rost.


Return to villages.


A remarkable evening with the poetry of Stephen Watts and Claudia Komartin. The Mediaş choir singing some music from the Siebenburgen and from Georg Meyndt, (1852-1903) from Richis. A recital of music by Enescu and Bartok by Carina Raducanu, Eugen Dumitrescu with violinist Ioana Raluca Voicu.


Dinner in the Village Hall or Priest House.



Sunday 8th Septemr 09.30

Transfers from Copşa Mare and Biertan to Richiş.


Countess Salnikoff will talk about her grandfather, Miklós Bánffy whose trilogy The Writing on the Wall must rank amongst the greatest works of European 20th century literature. In conversation with publisher of Arcadia Books, Gary Pulsifer.

11.05 11.45

Jaap Scholten reads from Comrade Baron. He will then join some of those with first-hand experience of the early fifties in Communist Romania.


Lunch in Richiş.


Excursions as on Saturday.


artemis Cooper will talk about the subject of her recent biography, Paddy Leigh Fermor whose writings of pre-war Transylvania, in Between the Woods and the Water influenced many of this festival’s authors.


Final dinner in Richiş.

Monday 9th Septemr Transfers to further travels or to airports.


Your Guides Lucy abel Smith

Lucy Abel Smith is an art historian who for many years has run specialist tours to Eastern Europe and the Balkans. She first came to Romania in the early 1980s as lecturer for the British Museum Society and how has a house in RichiĹ&#x;. She wrote Prague - A Guide in 1991. She was encouraged to start this Book Festival by her sister in law Caroline Knox (who originated the successful Boswell Festival in Scotland) and Jessica Douglas Home among others. Willy Schuster

Born and raised in Transylvania, his father a Saxon and mother a Hungarian, Willy became a self taught interpreter in Romanian. As pioneers of the organic farming scene in Romania, Willy and his wife, Lavinia, are well known both here and abroad. They welcome many tourists to their farm for meals or just for a farm tour, talks and/or cheese tastings. They make delicious rose petal jam.

Transy 18

Your Guides Caroline Juler

Caroline Juler is a writer and artist who has studied and travelled around Romania many times over the past 20 years. Her books include Blue Guide Romania, National Geographic Traveler Romania and a light-hearted travelogue called Searching for Sarmizegetusa. andrea Rost

Andrea Rost lives in the beautiful town of SighiĹ&#x;oara where she is part of the Saxon community. Having previously worked as a guide across Romania, she has worked for the MET since 2005, coordinating tourism activities. She has interviewed Hans Schaas Johann and written his memoirs.

ylvania 19

e Santa Maalena Foundation for Write Since the year 2000 and after having received more than 150 writers from all over the world, Santa Maddalena has established itself as a place where writers can not only actually write but exchange ideas, learn from one another and get acquainted with authors, traditions and ways of writing they didn’t know before. Over lunch and dinner, by the fireplace in winter and by the swimming pool in summer, during long walks in the hills, friendships have been made, literary tips have been passed, ideas for titles or covers or even full books have arisen. The place has held an ongoing conversation with many voices and has made many friends who now and then come back and send news, scattered all over the world. Maybe this extended network of friends for whom Santa Maddalena is a mot de passe and a fond shared memory is our highest accomplishment. The Santa Maddalena Foundation for Writers was established in 2000 with the later addition of the Festival degli Scrittori which takes place in Florence and includes the international Premio Gregor von Rezzori, Citta’ di Firenze to honor the memory of my husband, the novelist Gregor von Rezzori. Grisha was born in Rumania, in his beloved Bucovina, to where he so often returned in his writing, and to where I return, like now, with a feeling of being somehow back home: after hearing so many of his tales, after reading so many of his fables about his country and his people, it’s difficult not to feel as if I myself had, somehow, shared the History and the stories of this beautiful country. 20

e Santa Maalena Foundation for Write After leaving Bucovina and being a nomad all across Europe for more than two decades, he came at last to Santa Maddalena. Grisha found it the best place to write, and after he died in 1998, the strange magic of the place for him and for visiting writers became the inspiration for the Foundation. The idea was -- and very much still is -- to offer a retreat to writers that provides freedom and tranquility for work. There are fourteen six-weeks resident Fellowships available during the year, and we give special consideration to writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, -- and writers engaged in works on the natural world. Santa Maddalena quickly became known for the laid-back, casual and, yes, a bit ramshackle hospitality that was to be expected; from the beginning we had many visiting writers and friends -- Bruce Chatwin, Michael Ondaatje, Robert Hughes and Bernardo Bertolucci come to mind -- who found Santa Maddalena an irresistible place to work, and tended to return to it again and again. It is precisely this way of doing things that we still try to preserve: not too bureaucratic, not too institutional, proudly old-fashioned when it comes to hospitality and care for our guests, but seriously giving priority to what I have come to learn (how couldn’t I, after so many years among them) to be the utmost necessities of writers in search of a quiet place to focus on their work. Beatrice Rezzori Monti della Corte


Acknowledgements A lost horseshoe brought me to Richiş first, in 1990. Never would I have thought then, that this remarkable village would be hosting an international book festival in September 2013. There is much to be thankful for and many people to thank. Without an infrastructure we would be nowhere. Hans with Hannie Schaas and Willi Untch refused to follow their families to Germany and kept the church community going. Tony and Gerrit Timmerman have done more than anybody in keeping the village on the map and with Miriam Eliad and Willi Untch, founded the charitable trust Pro Richiş Transilvania. Juliana and Christopher Grose, whose funding for the church roof gave fresh hope and Edward Bennet and Dominic Gwynn in giving up time to restore the organ. The Mihai Eminescu Trust and the Horizon Foundation realised the importance of the Richiş town and village halls and have paid for the restoration by our Richiş wonder builder Rares Dudas. Thanks to David Abel Smith for restoring the lavatories and putting up with day-to-day dramas. Friends and neighbours have contributed more than I would have expected. Great thanks to the Evanghelic Church for giving us the Saal to use and ADEPT for using their tables, chairs and pavilions. The Richiş team: cooking lady Anisoara Radutu, Marie Paerele and Tanti Fenica and all others. We could not have succeeded had not our writers found the idea interesting and were prepared to have an adventure. Many websites gave us mentions, such as Tom Sawford’s action-packed blog on Paddy Leigh Fermor. Tom introduced me to Marian Popa, founder of the Medieval festival in Sighişoara, but also good at high speed interactions between Rotary Clubs to raise funding and help, including having the posters printed in Romania. 22

Acknowledgements Thanks to Eugen Roba and Temple Melville for hosting dinner in MoĹ&#x;na. Digital Image Projection at 5000 Lumens provided by Hitachi. The sponsors have been more than generous in supporting writers including Jessica Douglas Home, Annabel Barber of Blue Guides, Joey Casey in memory of her husband Michael, nephew of Joan Leigh Fermor, The British Council, and the Media Fund and Arcadia Books, and donors who wished to remain anonymous. Denisa Septilici, at Liberty International, has settled everyone into beds and arranged transport with unfailing charm with help from Geanina Diaconescu. They have been a vital partner in this endeavour. The Romanian Cultural Centre in London, Professor Alexandra Mitrea and Professor Dan-Serban Sava of Lucian Blaga University gave great encouragement. Thanks to Dragos Varga, Director of the Inter-Ethnic Cultural Centre for sponsoring the Sibiu coach. Thanks too to Laura Vesa of Discover Romania for suggesting contacts with universities and to Ramona Cazacu and all those who have sent out posters. The Facebook postings have been translated by Ana Balasca. Most of all, the endorsement of HRH The Prince of Wales, His Excellency Ion Jinga and the mayor of Biertan, Mircea Mihai Dragomir has been invaluable. For the initial idea of a Transylvanian Book Festival I must thank my sister in law Caroline Knox, founder of the Boswell Festival in Scotland. At first it was celebrating the writings of the English-speaking world to which I added some of the remarkable writers of Transylvania -- too few, I fear. Our days are not long enough. There are many reasons to return. Lucy abel Smith 23

Bibliography This is a random selection of recent reads. Therefore, this list is both personal and gives a taste of what is being translated and published in England now. Romanian Literature and poetry has been translated in England for 50 years. George arion

Attack in the Library Profusion International Miklรณs Bรกnffy

The Writing on the Wall, the Transylvanian Trilogy, (2010) The Phoenix Land Arcadia Books Ltd 2010 Carmen Bugan

Burying The Typewriter: Childhood under the Eye of the Secret Police Picador 2012 Renata Calzi

Gypsy Architecture Axel Menges 2007 Ioan Es.Pop

Bibliog No Way Out of Hadesburg and other Poems

University of Plymouth Press Daniela Crasnaru

Letters from Darkness

Oxford Paper Back 1991 Hermann Fabini

The Church-Fortresses of the Transylvanian Saxons

Monumenta 2010 Isabella Fosca

Bury Me Standing



Bibliography Bugan Hrib

Killing the General Profusion International Mircea Ivanescu

Lines Poems Poetry University of Plymouth Press alan Ogden

Romania Revisited: On the Trail of English Travellers 1602-1941 Dervla Murphy

Transylvania and Beyond: A Travel Memoir Mike Ormsby

Never Mind the Balkans, Here’s Romania 2nd edition published by Amazon KDP/CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2012) Razvan Petrescu

Small Changes in Attitude University of Plymouth Press Bronwen Riley

graphy Transylvania 2008

Frances Lincoln Cecilia Stefanescu

Sun Allay

Istros Books 2013 Gregor Von Rezzori

The Snows of Yesteryear

1990 Chatto and Windus Ltd, (latest ed 2008)

Memoirs of an Anti-Semite





Reality and Beyond Ltd Quenington Old Rectory Cirencester Gloucestershire GL7 5BN 01285 750 888/358 lucy@realityandbeyond.co.uk

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TBF pocket guide 2013  

The pocket guide to the first edition of the Transylvanian Book Festival held 5-9 September 2013.

TBF pocket guide 2013  

The pocket guide to the first edition of the Transylvanian Book Festival held 5-9 September 2013.