This year the Casal celebrated St Jordi at Reader’s Feast bookstore on Sunday 22 April. Casal President Viqui Gras pointed out that Reader’s Feast was the appropriate place to celebrate the Day of the Book and the Rose, not only because it is a bookstore, but also because Reader’s Feast is located in what was previously a department store called Georges, and the bookshop is run by Mary Dalmau, whose family emigrated from Catalonia in the early part of the twentieth century. Approximately 60 people attended, including members of the general public who had read about the celebration in The Age.
The bookshop provided the perfect backdrop for the afternoon’s activities, with a display of Catalan literature in English translation and a display of fiction and poetry associated with Catalonia organised by Reader’s Feast and available for purchase.
President Viqui Gras welcomed everyone with a short film on how St Jordi is celebrated in Catalonia and she introduced the Casal’s new children’s playgroup – La Mainada del Casal – with another short video of the kids engaged in St Jordi-related activities. Dr Stewart King then read a short piece on the significance of St Jordi and encouraged those interested to join a book club which the Casal has established to read and discuss literature in Catalan. Finally, Sara Bosch announced the winners of the literary competition, who recited their poems and short story. This year, the first poetry prize was won by Júlia Strubell for her poem ‘The Ghan’; Valerie Valls was awarded the second poetry prize for her poem ‘The Day of the Book and the Rose’; and Liza Fitzpatrick for her short narrative ‘Little Red Raval Hood’. After the readings, guests mingled and enjoyed a glass of cava and a selection of ‘tapas’.