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Josep Bargalló says,

The director of the Institut Ramon Llull (IRL), Josep Bargalló, today took part in the presentation of the activities the IRL has organised for the Leipzig International Book Fair being held from 22-25 March. Catalan Culture is the guest of honour at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair to be held in October, and Leipzig is the first major event which Catalan culture is attending to raise people's awareness about it in Germany.

Press Conference

Press Conference.

Bargalló introduced Catalan culture by saying, "We are a great European culture, a great European language" and, quoting the words of the poet Joan Margarit, he defined it as a "paradox". "Ours is not a minority language, but neither is it a majority one. We are a paradox and we have come to say to you that we are proud of our culture, and that we are grateful to the Frankfurt Book Fair for providing us with the most important platform there is in the field of literature and the publishing industry by choosing Catalan culture as the guest of honour."

Also participating in the presentation alongside Bargalló were the director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Juergen Boos and Gustau Muñoz, the publisher of the scholarly journal Transfer. The second issue of this journal, co-published by the Institut Ramon Llull, was presented today at the IRL stand.

Given the great expectations raised by the presence of Catalan culture at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Juergen Boos announced at the meeting, which was attended by more than 50 journalists, that Catalan culture would be providing "a first taste of its plurality,dynamism and vitality, exactly the qualities that make it worthwhile directing our attention towards a supposedly small region within the framework of the guest of honour programme".

For his part, Gustau Muñoz, who participated in the ceremony marking the start of the programme of activities at the IRL stand, said, "We hope that for you to learn about us will be as interesting an adventure as it has been for us. Great obstacles have been overcome, but here it is: evocative and receptive to all currents".

In addition to the presentation of the second issue of Transfer, the IRL stand at the Leipzig Book Fair was also the setting for other events such as a debate about Catalan culture, literature and art based around the legacy of Josep Pla, Salvador Dalí and Antoni Gaudí. The presence of Catalan culture at the Frankfurt Book Fair has aroused great interest in Germany and the IRL stand received a large number of visits on this, the first day. Amongst its most highly regarded features were its design and wide-ranging content.

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