Did you know that Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes and English playwright William Shakespeare both died on the same day? Two of history’s greatest writers coincidentally passed away on April 23, 1616. And this prompted UNESCO to declare in 1995 that from then on April 23 will be observed as “World Book and Copyright Day” to instill the love of reading among the youth and to promote respect for the rights of authors over their literary and artistic works.
To keep that mission going, Instituto Cervantes, the cultural arm of the Embassy of Spain, holds Día del Libro (International Book Day) in Manila since 2006. While its previous celebrations were canceled due to the pandemic, it is now back and presents free literary events both online and onsite.
Through the online Poetry Recital, Instituto Cervantes invites poetry lovers to be part of an online recital of Phil-Hispanic poems. You could be one of the poetry aficionados reciting a few verses written in Spanish by Filipino writers. All the recorded recitations will be compiled in a video that will be posted on Instituto Cervantes’ social media on April 23. You can be part of the reading by registering here.
Traditionally, Día del Libro in Spain is commemorated on St. George’s Day. On that day, men and women exchange roses and books. That same spirit will be done during Instituto Cervantes’ hand-copying of the “Don Quixote de la Mancha.” The Spanish cultural center is inviting visitors to its Intramuros branch to join a quixotic attempt: to copy “Don Quixote de La Mancha” by hand. It is in search of 100 book-loving volunteers to take part in a “quixotic” endeavor: to hand-write Cervantes’ iconic novel. The final hand-written book will be deposited in the Library of Instituto Cervantes. People interested in taking part in the writing of “Don Quixote” can join on the same day with no prior registration. To make it even special, participants in the handwriting chain will receive a rose.
Día del Libro is organized by Instituto Cervantes de Manila in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines and the Intramuros Administration. Admission to all its activities is free on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, visit manila.cervantes.es and its Facebook page.
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