5 questions to Ovidiu Enculescu, RAO Books, Bucharest
1. Ovidiu, for this year’s summer meeting we followed your proposal and will come to your hometown Bucharest. What is your personal highlight and what shouldn’t we miss or better, what will you show us when we will be there in summer?
Any place in the world has a special charm. Depending on the special meanings, on the moment, on the people you share this moment and place with and, of course depending on the readiness and openness you have, this charm could get a higher or lower significance, will stick to your memory for ever or will be instantly forgotten.
Bucharest, my hometown, is no exception and on my side I will try to make it a place to remember.
Together with Barbara we fixed a program of visits that will show you glimpses of Bucharest in the short amount of time. All the things that have been chosen to do or to see are among my personal highlights but, unfortunately, many more are left for the next Motovun Group meeting in Bucharest – some 10-20-30-40 ... years in the future! Or, will be left for some private or business visits you may decide to plan if your experience this year was satisfactory.
2. Your publishing group is one of the biggest in Romania. You have founded RAO in 1993, in still post-communist times. Why did you become a publisher then?
I became a publisher in February 1990 by establishing another company together with some friends and colleagues, all of us being geological engineers. That beginning happened entirely by chance. We had to learn everything – from what is a private company to what is a publishing house. Capitalism was new and publishing activity was new. In 1993 I decided to separate from them and to create something new together with my wife Anca. A family business which is now known under the name of RAO.
3. Did political censorship influence your publishing activities or your authors at any time?
Yes, definitely! The whole new beginning in 1990 was somewhat based on the total censorship run by the previous communist regime. Almost everything before 1990 had been subject to a tight political supervision/censorship. There is no other way to explain the explosion in demand for books during that time in the nineties. Unfortunately, this demand for books gradually decreased. There has been no attempt from anyone since to impose any control on the book publishers here… At least none that I’m aware of!
4. Today Romania is a member of the EU. You and your wife Anca travel to numerous book fairs, where Romania impressively demonstrates the publishing business of the country. Is there a ‘headline’ above all Romanian publishing houses or are they all focused on different subjects?
I like to believe that we, the Romanian publishers, are no different than any other publishers in the world. Therefore I don’t think that there is a ‘headline’ above our head, just like there is no ‘headline’ above the French, German Spanish, British, American or you name it publisher in the world. We just do our job in the same way. Perhaps there is a little something extra that makes a difference with us – the Romanian publishers – but it is not ‘above’ but ‘within’. Or so I think!
5. What was/is the most successful book, which you have published so far? And how would your ‘dream’ book look like, if you could choose the author, the designer, the photographer and money wouldn't be important?
All the more than 10000 titles published so far were exceptional. Don’t ask me to choose the perfect kid from the lot, please! All are mine and all have been successful! (If the money does not play a role!)
It is our pleasure to present this year's speakers for Bucharest...
The world of academic publishing has undergone vast changes as a result of the digital revolution: one of the most important changes is the transformation from printed books and journals to digital publications. Digital formats such as E-books, E-journals and Open Access have become increasingly important in the academic market.
Open Access means free access to academic information on the internet for all persons everywhere in the world. My lecture will review the events that led to the creation of open-access publishing, the arguments for and against it, and the implications of open access for the future of academic publishing.
Anniek Meinders has sixteen years of experience in academic publishing which began at Brill in Leiden, the Netherlands, where she rose to become Publisher for the Religion publications. In 2002 she moved to Amsterdam University Press as Publisher of the Humanities Division and in that same year Anniek attended her very first Motovun Summer meeting in Piran. In 2012 she began at Leiden University Press where she leads the publishing program. Anniek regularly lectures on digital publishing and the future of academic publishing.
The Romanian Book Market – A Short History and RAO's place in it
About Ovidiu Enculescu we refer to the interview above.
"Center" and “Periphery”? Remarks on Romania in the European context
Is it possible to explore and assess Europe through the notions of “center” and “periphery”? To what category do these two notions pertain? What can we infer from them? Can the science of history operate with these two notions? Do they imply partisanship, therefore distorting the truth? How can one establish the "center" and the "periphery" of a cultural space? Are these notions interchangeable? Provided that we agree upon the importance of a civilization’s structure, what is the point of introducing a “center”-“periphery” type of approach within a cultural-historical or socio-political investigations? Can there be some kind of liberal-grounded illusion that lures us to imagine the relations inside a continent via alleged fixed formulas derived from geography, an illusion which can be explained thanks to the notional pair “we”-“you”? Or, can all this actually stand for an invention carrying an ideological message for which the concepts of “Europe” and “the Other Europe” are meant to insinuate the advance of certain states on the European continent and the backwardness of others, thereby highlighting socio-economic inequalities and their consequences?
Victor Neumann was born in Lugoj, an old town in Banat, Romania, near the border with Serbia and Hungary.
"I'm a Romanian and European citizen. As of 1998 I am professor of European and Romanian history at the West University of Timisoara. I conducted researches in several fields such as: Romanian regional history, Central and Southeastern European history and evolution of political thinking in the same areas, multi- and intercultural realities in Romania, European historiography and conceptual history.
I published a series of books, among them:
"The Temptation of homo europaeus", New York, 1993; "Between Words and Reality. Studies on the Politics of Recognition and the Changes of Regime in Contemporary Romania",Washington, D.C., 2001; "Essays on Romanian Intellectual History" Timisoara 2008; 2013; "Die Interkulturalitaet des Banats", Berlin, 2015; "Key Concepts of Romanian History" (Editor and co-author with Armin Heinen), Budapest, 2013; "Istoria Banatului. Studii privind particularitatile unei regiuni transfrontaliere"/History of the Banat Region. Studies concerning the particularities of a transboarder region/, (Editor and co-author), Bucharest, 2016."
Whose Freedom is it Anyway? Censorship, Publishing and the Limits of Free Expression
The talk will focus on the history of censorship in publishing, including the banning of books and historical and contemporary book burnings, censorship under particular regimes, surprising and often humorous examples of censorship, the legal precedents for banning books and other forms of publishing in the UK, Europe and beyond, what actually constitutes a’ banned book’ and in what, if any, circumstances censorship in publishing is justified.
Catherine Taylor is the Deputy Director of English PEN, the founding centre, in 1921, of the global organisation for writers and freedom of expression which now has over 100 centres worldwide. Formerly publisher at the Folio Society, where she was part of the team that set up the Folio Prize for international English-language fiction, she has worked for companies as varied as Amazon, Microsoft and the British Library. Catherine has been a judge on the Guardian First Book, Jewish Quarterly-Wingate , Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize, European Union Prize for Literature and most recently the British Book Industry Awards. She currently reviews books for the Guardian, Financial Times, and Literary Review.
Dr. Ania Plomien
Inequality in contemporary Europe: Transforming gender norms, practices, and policies?
Over the last few years the issue of inequality has reinvigorated scholarly and public debates, and gender inequality has become a key policy interest at international, national, and organizational levels, as well as a societal concern more generally.
In this lecture Dr Ania Plomien will consider the paradox wherein inequality, including gender inequality, despite attaining such a high public profile, persists even in the most progressive European countries. Drawing on case studies of experiences of women and men in the banking sector, domestic work and the outsourcing of typically male domestic tasks, and fathering policies and practices, she considers the possibilities for emancipatory transformation towards a more socially just society.
Dr. Ania Plomien is Assistant Professor at the Gender Institute, London School of Economics. She is a member of the UK Women’s Budget Group, has served on the board of the journal Work, Employment and Society, and has been a national expert for Poland in the EU Network of Experts on Gender Equality. Her research focuses on social and economic policy, work and care from a gender perspective, especially at the EU level and in the Central East European region. She teaches courses on Gender and European Welfare States, and Feminist Economics and Policy.
Please bring your books for the MGIP Book Award to Bucharest or send them by regular courier to the hotel. The Information was sent to you by mail, dated May 23. 2016 - If you have any questions, do ask Barbara via mail, fax or phone.
Do you have any content suggestions for the MGIP Newsletter? Please send us your ideas by the 8th of every month and we can include them.
Motovun Group of International Publishers
International Non-profit Association Under Belgian Law | Founded in 1977 - Founding President: Bato Tomasević Office: Theresienstrasse 40 | D-80333 München Germany | phone: +49 172 961 74 03 | Secretary: Barbara Glauning