European Book Club: Papyrus by Irene Vallejo

European Book Club: Papyrus by Irene Vallejo

The European Book Club features contemporary works by European authors and April’s selection is “Papyrus: The Invention of Books in the Ancient World” by Spanish author Irene Vallejo.

The European Book Club, in partnership with the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) in Ottawa, promotes works by contemporary European authors. Each month, a book title from an EU country is chosen for discussion. This April, the focus is on Papyrus: The Invention of Books in the Ancient World by Irene Vallejo.

Irene Vallejo

Irene Vallejo was born in Zaragoza in 1979, and she has been attracted to the Greco-Latin world since she was a child. She studied Classical Philology, and won the first National Award for Excellence in Academic Performance. In 2007, she completed the European Doctorate from two universities, Zaragoza and Florence, with a thesis on the Greco-Latin literary canon. Her first essay, focusing on the Latin poet Marcial, won the Society for Classical Studies Award for Best Research Paper.

She writes for various media. Her articles have been compiled in the anthologies El pasado que te espera (2010), Alguien habló de nosotros (2017) and El futuro recordado (2020).

In 2011, she wrote her first novel, La luz sepultada. The second, El silbido del arquero, was released in 2015. She also writes short stories and children’s books. In 2019, she published Papyrus. The invention of books in the ancient world, which was awarded the National Essay Prize, the Critical Eye Prize for Narrative and the Bookstore Recommendation Award, and will be published in thirty countries.


Long before books were mass-produced, scrolls hand copied on reeds pulled from the Nile were the treasures of the ancient world. Emperors and Pharaohs were so determined to possess them that they dispatched emissaries to the edges of the earth to bring them back.

Papyrus traces the dramatic history of the book and the fight for its survival. This is the story of the book’s journey from oral tradition to scrolls to codices, and how that transition laid the very foundation of Western culture. And it is a story full of heroic adventures, bloodshed and megalomania – from the battlefields of Alexander the Great and the palaces of Cleopatra to the libraries of war-torn Sarajevo and Oxford.

  • Literature
  • Ottawa
  • Wed, April 24, 2024
  • 6:30 pm

3 months ago


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Ottawa Public Library – Sunnyside, 1049 Bank St, Ottawa, ON K1S 3W9



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Ottawa Public Library


Organized by the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC)