We did it! Perched on high above the award-winning Copenhagen International School in Nordhavn, Copenhagen – ten talented poets, writers, authors, storytellers, and performers sang their sweet songs in praise of the written word at an event organised by K.I.N.D. to mark World Book Day 2019. The elements were a challenge; as the wind rattled the doors to come in, heavy machines constructing the new Metro thudded incessantly, and the sun streamed through the glass ceiling in an attempt to dazzle and distract us from our good intentions. But we fought it all back to create a vivid and memorable afternoon of celebrations.
Did I say how the 23rd was a truly difficult day to organise an event for?
The 23rd of April is a symbolic date in world literature. It is the date on which several prominent authors, William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. This date was a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date. But worryingly for an event organiser, it was also the first day back to work and school after the Easter vacation for most people, in Denmark anyway.
So, first of all thank you to all the supportive audience for making the effort to join us, we were so warmed and amazed to see so many attend. Thank you very much indeed to CIS for giving us the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the wonderful surroundings of their brand-new campus. Just until a week ago this event was to be held at the cosy and community-run Café Cadeau in Frederiksberg. But a strong lady from CIS, Sehrish Haq, popped up on my computer screen and urged me to relocate to pastures new. With the support of the director of communications at CIS, Thomas Nielsen ….there we were – enjoying the view, the setting and the experience of being ontop of the world.
“When we celebrate books, we celebrate activities – writing, reading, translating, publishing – which help individuals to raise and fulfil themselves; and we celebrate, in a fundamental way, the freedoms that make them possible. Books are at the intersection of some of the most essential human freedoms, primarily freedom of expression and freedom to publish. These are fragile freedoms. Faced by many challenges, from the questioning of copyright and cultural diversity to the physical threats looming over authors, journalists and publishers in many countries, these freedoms are also denied, even today, when schools are attacked, and manuscripts and books destroyed.”
— Audrey Azoulay, Directrice générale, on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day
Then, to our wonderful speakers. Their time slots were pared-down until they had just ten minutes to tell the world about their love of the written word – they shone as strongly as the sunlight pouring upon us, they did this great day proud.
The show may be over, but the good works continue. Money raised through ticket sales will be donated to KINDenmark’s own fund, “The Village School Project” where we endeavor to raise money towards scholarships to girls in rural India. https://kindenmark.com/2019/03/20/the-village-school-project/.
Donations from International Women’s Day 2019 came to 3,140 Danish Kroner, or 33.511,8294 Indian Rupees. Donations from World Book Day 2019 came to 1,182 Danish Kroner, or 12.369,0818 Indian Rupees.
Photo credits to Malindi Holmskov, Dennis DuBois, Patricia Agnew, Archana Painuly and Heather Gartside.
Thanks to The International Denmark newspaper for their support.