All the Sant Jordis of a city

20/04/2024 - 08:00 h

Barcelona Cultura

Barcelona celebrates with many different accents a literature festival that has a lot to do with the cultural vocation of the Catalan capital.


Buying books and strolling among roses, listening to poems or listening to music… As you can see, there are many different ways of celebrating Saint George’s Day, a festival dedicated to culture and books with a thousand different faces.

Books, books, and many more books

Yes, just like roses (at Mercabarna they calculate that on this day about 2,300,000 roses will be sold, about a third of those sold in Catalonia as a whole), books are the big stars of the festival. Like rose stalls, book stalls will fill the city’s streets. But if there will be over thirty varieties of roses ( Freedom and Red Naomi are the stars), there will be books…. of all sizes, lengths and with authors of all kinds

Once again, the central area of the festival will be the de Sant Jordi island, a pedestrian area bounded by the Diagonal, Gran Via, Balmes and Pau Claris streets, with extensions along the Rambla and Gran de Gràcia from the Salvador Espriu gardens to the travessera de Gràcia. This year, the entire length of the Rambla will be occupied by book stalls, flowers and neighbourhood organisations. It will continue to be one of the great epicentres of the celebration, but, however, in this decentralised Sant Jordi, there will be many more spaces in Sarrià, Sant Martí and, as a whole, in each of the city’s districts. In any case, there will be many more spaces in Sarrià, Sant Martí and, as a whole, in each of the city’s districts. Get ready to look, choose, browse and look out for your favourite author, if you want to take home a signed book.

Sant Jordi in the neighbourhood

But, as we say, Sant Jordi is not only celebrated in the area that bears his name, but also in the different neighbourhoods of the city, some of them with especially interesting or different proposals that you should not miss. This is the case of the twentieth edition of Sant Jordi al Raval, an event that, on the 23rd, includes literary activities (workshops, storytelling, book presentations…) from 11 am to 8 pm on the Rambla del Raval.

In Passeig de Sant Joan (between Plaça de Tetuan and Arc de Triomf), they organise a very special Sant Jordi Fair. It is organised by the Eix Fort Pienc with the collaboration of the Gremi de Llibreters and specialises in literature for children, young people, fantasy and horror, science fiction, comics, manga and role games. There are also Sant Jordi fairs in Plaça de Sarrià, Plaça d’Eivissa in Horta and the marquee on Via Júlia in Nou Barris. However, some areas of the city, such as the Sant Andreu neighbourhood, have taken the concept of “kilometre zero” very seriously, have applied it to books and have invited authors from the neighbourhood to Plaça Orfila to sign their books. You can see that there are proposals in all five districts of Barcelona and that, in some neighbourhoods, there are singular proposals, such as the Trobada de col-leccionistes of book marks organised by the Associació Catalana de Col-leccionisme on 28 April at the Centre Cívic Teixonera. If you are collectors, you won’t miss it, as they are publishing a special bookmark on the occasion of the day.

At the museum, at the theatre or in a unique building

Just like the city’s neighbourhoods, Barcelona’s cultural facilities are joining in Sant Jordi with a variety of proposals. On the 23rd, you should stop by the Antic Teatre at some point, as they are celebrating their 21st anniversary with a book fair and lots of activities. At Hospital de Sant Pau, where you can look for references to roses and dragons in the decorations of the buildings, and also attend musical performances and the reading of the book El corazón de Sant Pau by Carlos Paytubí, among other activities. If you are passing along Passeig de Gràcia, make a stop at Casa Batlló, which dresses its façade in roses and recreates the legend of the dragon and the princess on its balconies and walls. If you’ve been lucky enough, on Monday 22nd in the evening you’ll be able to take part in the night-time visit to the Sagrada Família, which has been organised outside the usual opening hours. But if you don’t have a ticket but you are named Jordi or Jordina… on your saint’s day you can visit the temple for free. The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) is also full of proposals (lectures, exhibitions, virtual itineraries…) related to the day. Do you want an Asian perspective? At Casa Àsia, in the new branch on Carrer d’Elisabets, you’ll find Asian books and authors of Asian descent. At Santa Mònica, in the heart of the Rambla, you will also find proposals such as the meeting dedicated to the exchange of books and plants, the self-printing of fanzines and the creation of literary parties. These are just some of the proposals, but there are more!

Sant Jordi at the Library

The most important literary centres in Barcelona’s literary grid have celebrated the feast with a series of Saint George’s Dialogues that bring to Barcelona facilities (they began on 15 April and are now ending, until 23 April) authors such as Mircea Cărtărescu, Andrea Genovart, Greta García, Lucía Lijtmaer, Rodrigo Fresán, Henry Marsh, Roser Vernet, Mar García Puig, Sergi Pàmies, Carlota Gurt, Hernán Díaz, Jordi Puntí and Joana Marcús. Authors and readers have been meeting and will culminate with the reading of the Sant Jordi proclamation on the 22nd by the writer David Walliams. Exhibitions such as “Manuel de Pedrolo: més enllà dels límits“, starting on the 24th, at the Biblioteca Clarà, and activities such as the book exchange, a different and sustainable activity that brings together the Biblioteca Jaume Fuster and the Biblioteca Vallcarca and the Penitents-Maria Antonieta Cot libraries are also part of the Sant Jordi programme.

Little Sant Jordi

As you can see, the Barcelona Civic Centre Network has a very full programme of proposals aimed at all kinds of audiences, including many children. To them they dedicate workshops, itineraries, film screenings and theatre performances such as Les històries del senyor Borra (23rd), at the Centre Cívic Vil-la Urània or Womagis, el mag de les paraules, at the Centre Cívic Parc Sandaru (24th April), to name but a few.

In the city’s theatres dedicated to children’s theatre, you will also find many plays dedicated to the theme, including Sant Jordi, la Princesa i el Drac, a retelling of the legend by La Puntual, which you can see until 28 April; or La llegenda de Sant Jordi, which is scheduled until 23 April at the Sala Ars.

Music, dance and illustrations

But what do music and literature have to do with each other? Don’t ask the members of Mishima, a cult band with very literary lyrics that, in keeping with their own personality, have instituted a new tradition. The night before Saint George’s Day (22nd in the evening), they organise La nit de les roses, a musical and literary event that is celebrated in La Paloma. Not only are they celebrating the fact that two years ago they released their latest album, L’aigua Clara, but they will also be talking to four great writers: Mireia Calafell, Pol Guasch, Blanca Llum Vidal and Jordi Puntí. More music? Go to the Antiga Fàbrica Estrella Damm. You will have there nine hours of music (from 12 noon to 8 pm; free admission) with Els Amics de les Arts, Figa Flawas, Scorpio, La Fúmiga, Meritxell Neddermann and Blaumut amongsts others.

If you prefer more classical sounds, and more specifically piano music, you have an appointment with Alain Planès at the Gran Teatre del Liceu on the 23rd. He, a great friend of the artist Miquel Barceló (he will be present at the concert), is the star of one of the extended activities that accompany the exhibition that La Pedrera is dedicating these days to the ceramics of the Mallorcan artist.

This year, remember, it is one hundred years since the death of Àngel Guimerà. And at the Pere Pruna Civic Centre we are paying tribute to this author with a series of eight choral music concerts (the next one is on the 25th) that will last until the middle of May.

Do you prefer dance? Well, the Esbart Català de Dansaires will be dancing on 23 April in Plaça de les Beates to celebrate the feast of the patron saint of Catalonia.

Finally, Sant Jordi also has a plastic dimension that you can see in many museums of the city… and in the 16th Sant Jordi 2024 Illustrators’ Meeting, which is held in Pla de Salmeron on the 23rd and which brings together some fifteen authors.

Remember that there is a Sant Jordi for every citizen and that you will find all of them in the list of proposals on this website.

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