2019 World Book Day and Spanish Language Day at the University of Ottawa
The University of Ottawa’s Department of Modern Languages and Literature together with the Embassy of Spain in Canada celebrate World Book Day and the Spanish Language Day at the UN on April 23 with a session of poetry readings from different Spanish and Latin American authors.
The World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated on April 23, a symbolic date for the world literature. This date is the anniversary of the death of three prominent figures in the history of universal literature: Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo. Besides, April 23 has been designated as the Spanish Language Day by the UN in honor of the emblematic writer Miguel de Cervantes.
On the occasion of this landmark date, the Department of Modern Languages and Literature at the University of Ottawa, in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain in Canada, is hosting an event that will take place at the university facilities.
- Poetry readings in Spanish by students of various colleges from Ottawa such as the Colonel By, Nepean, Claudel, and the Undergraduate Program of the University of Ottawa. The texts have been selected from many different Spanish and Latin American authors.
- Award for the “Best Tale in Spanish”, in the framework of the 2019 literature course ESP 3917, El cuento hispanoamericano del siglo XX, from the Spanish language program at the University of Ottawa.
World Book Day
It was a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a worldwide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity. With this in mind, UNESCO created the World Book and Copyright Day.
The original idea of the celebration of the World Book Day came from the Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andrés, whose proposal was submitted to the “Official Camera of the Book” of Barcelona in 1923 and approved by King Alfonso XIII of Spain in 1926. The 7th of October of 1926 was the first Book Day, and shortly after, in 1930, the date of April 23 was definitively established as Book Day. This day matches with Saint George’s Day, patron of the Spanish region of Catalonia. It is traditional to give a rose at the end of a reading or an event and that the lovers and loved ones exchange a rose and a book.
Day of Spanish Language at the United Nations
In its resolutions on multilingualism, the UN General Assembly has welcomed the language days established by the Secretariat in 2010, and called for their continued observance in order to raise awareness of the use of the official languages, and, where possible, other languages, at the UN. April 23rd celebrates both the Spanish and English languages as a tribute to Cervantes and Shakespeare.