With a book in hand
We are a nation that loves reading. Although e-books are taking the world by storm, we still like to turn the pages of paper books. In fact, we publish many of those and write just as many.
We welcome the oncoming spring with the Vilnius book fair, where people form huge queues by the entrance. Neither can we imagine spending the summer by the sea or the lakeside without a book in our hands. We romanticise older Lithuanian writers and welcome younger ones with great enthusiasm. The work of young writers here interests both people who can read Lithuanian and the rest of the world; indeed, several dozen books by Lithuanian authors are translated into other languages every year.
An art historian and writer who has revealed the mysteries of the Baroque era in Vilnius. The tetralogy Silva Rerum by art scholar Kristina Sabaliauskaitė (PhD) has enchanted readers and became an international bestseller. Her novels have proved that the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, told in such an intriguing manner, may be read as part of the general narrative on European history. These four books cover four generations of the same noble Lithuanian family and the history of the entire land and its cultural connections – including universities and monasteries, manor houses and labyrinthine town streets, and the protagonists’ travels to London, Paris and Amsterdam. Kristina Sabaliauskaitė’s novels have been translated into the Polish, Latvian and English languages. The readers’ admiration is demonstrated by the fact that sightseeing tours are continuously held in Vilnius to follow the routes mentioned in the novels.
"Kristina Sabaliauskaitė belongs among the most powerful and expressive voices of the historical novel in Europe." Olga Tokarczuk, Man Booker International Prize winner, 2018
A woman who has related to the world the painful story of Lithuanians in exile, as told by a teenage girl. The writer Rūta Šepetys, who lives in the USA, could never have guessed how much interest readers worldwide would show in her novel about a 15-year-old girl exiled to Siberia. The book, Tarp Pilkų Debesų [Between Shades of Gray], is intended for children and adolescents, but is also enjoyed by many adults. It was published in more than 50 countries, translated into 40 languages, made it onto the bestseller list of “The New York Times” and won prestigious awards in the UK, France, Italy and other countries. In the autumn of 2018, a screen version of Tarp Pilkų Debesų bearing the same name will appear in Lithuanian movie theatres. small role in the film was reserved for the author herself.
“Rūta Šepetys has an amazing ability to construct every character as if they were an exceptional and persuasive part of the story. It is simply fantastic to be able to discern, notice and read these distinctive stories.” The Guardian