ROMANIA

ROMANIA is Lucy’s territory, as she has a house in the ancient Saxon village of Richis, down a valley terraced for vines by the Romans. In May 2012 she brought a group on a journey through the foothills of the Carpathians, considered the last, great medieval landscape in Europe, which bear witness to its rich mix of peoples: Hungarians, Romanians, Saxons and Roma. They stayed both in beautiful villages and mediaeval citadels such as Sighisoara, and Cluj (visiting Banffy’s Bontida Palace), Alba Iulia with the Coronation church of Queen Marie, the spectacular fortress church of Biertan, alongside several private visits and the village of Viscri, a template for conservation in the Saxon areas. Some of the party then continued to the Painted Monasteries.

The first ever Transylvanian Book Festival is to take place from 5th to 9th September, in the heart of the Carpathians in three neighbouring villages, including Richis. We will be joined by William Blacker, whose acclaimed Along the Enchanted Way, has seen him hailed as heir to Patrick Leigh Fermor. Artemis Cooper is to talk on the subject of her excellent biography – the great man himself. Prize-winning Irish biographer and historian Roy Foster will be standing up for Bram Stoker and his literary legacy and the polymath, Michael Jacobs whose Robber of Memories is hot off the press, is going to speak of the Saxons and Hungarians with Romanians in a country that has fascinated him for decades. Jessica Douglas Home has done so much to raise awareness of the importance of the Saxon villages and their fragility.

Romania is a very literary country and our speakers will also include work by Hungarians, Saxons and Romanians. There will be excursions into the countryside which has been an inspiration to so many. It is hoped that the fine Richis organ will be restored in time for a concert in the church.

And there will be a dedicated website for the Festival www.transylvanianbookfestival.co.uk or please write to R&B for further details.