Sant Jordi

Irene Vallejo, the opening speaker for the 2021 Sant Jordi Reading Festival

Irene Vallejo talked with Xavi Ayén on Thursday, 22 April, at 6 pm, about her work and the role that reading and libraries have played in her life. Whatch the streamed video.

Irene Vallejo talked with the journalist Xavi Ayén about her work and the role that reading and libraries have played in her life, at Barcelona City Hal’s Saló de Cent on Thursday, 22 April, at 6 pm. The opening speech could be followed live from this website, from Barcelona City Council's YouTube channel and from the social networks of Barcelona’s libraries.

Born in Zaragoza in 1979 and a graduate in Classical Philology, Irene Vallejo received her European doctorate from the universities of Zaragoza and Florence. She has always been interested, since her childhood, in the myths of ancient Greece and Rome and the Mediterranean world. She is currently carrying out intense outreach work on the classical world, giving out talks and through her regular contributions to the Heraldo de Aragón and El País newspapers. She has also been offering frequent talks since 2015 to students at schools and institutes throughout Spain, taking part in culture-promoting activities and collaborating on the “Believe In Art” project bringing art and literature to children’s hospitals.

Since its launch in 2019, L’infinit dins d’un jonc, has been unanimously acclaimed by readers and critics alike, translated into thirty languages and received prestigious awards such as the 2020 National Essay Prize. Her literary work notably includes the novels La luz sepultada (2011) and El silbido del arquero (2015), the journalistic anthologies Alguien habló de nosotros (2017) and El futuro recordado (2020), the children’s books El inventor de viajes (2014) and La leyenda de las mareas mansas (2015) and her brief essay Manifiesto por la lectura (2020).

She joins the list of festival-opening speakers who have been awarded this honour in Barcelona since 2003: Quino, José Saramago, Martí de Riquer, Emili Teixidor, Antonio Tabucchi, Alessandro Baricco, Bernardo Atxaga, José Luis Sampedro, Josep Maria Castellet, Raimon, Albert Sánchez Piñol, Donna Leon, John Banville, Claudio Magris, Yasmina Reza, Almudena Grandes and Mia Couto. The traditional festival-opening speech had to be cancelled in 2020 because of the health situation, but was replaced by the Sant Jordi / St George's Day Dialogue, during which we were able to enjoy a conversation between the writer Empar Moliner and the critic Julià Guillamon.

Opening speech for the 2021 Sant Jordi Reading Festival

Date: 22 April, at 6 pm

Venue: The Saló de Cent, in City Hall

Live broadcast

The Opening Speech on Reading, year by year

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