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Booklaunch for The Town with Acacia Trees by Mihail Sebastian translated by Gabi Reigh

Oct 10, 2019, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm


In association with the Romanian Cultural Institute we proudly present for the first-time in English translation Mihail Sebastian’s “witty, lyrical coming-of-age novel” The Town with Acacia Trees, translated by Gabi Reigh.

Written in 1931, the story is told from the perspective of the heroine Adriana and her lover Gelu, and it follows her transformation from a teenage girl, born and raised in a small town to her life in Bucharest, where she explores the boundaries of being a young woman in love. It is a story that captures the hearts of the readers through its sensibility and charm.

The presentation of the book will be followed by a panel discussion between translator Gabi Reigh (2019 PEN Translation Awards winner) and Alex Boican (University College London).

“In The Town with Acacia Trees, Mihail Sebastian writes with the sensibility of a master jeweller. He crafts with precision and delicacy his characters’ intricate souls. Sebastian’s profound humanism, his utopian universalism, is as refreshing and urgent in today’s climate of rising nationalisms as it was in the interwar period. Gabi Reigh’s riveting translation matches Sebastian’s writing like a glove.” – Alex Boican, PhD in Romanian Literature

Mihail Sebastian was the pen-name of the Romanian writer Iosif Hechter. Born in the Danube port of Braila, he died in a road accident in 1945. During the period between the wars he was well-known for his lyrical and ironic plays and for urbane psychological novels tinged with melancholy, as well as for his extraordinary literary essays. His novel For Two Thousand Years is a Penguin Modern Classic.

Gabi Reigh is a Romanian translator, based in the UK. In 2007 she won the Stephen Spender prize for poetry translation, and in 2019 she translated “Poems of Light” by Lucian Blaga, book released in English at the London Book Fair. Her translation of ‘The Town with Acacia Trees’ received the prestigious PEN Translation Awards (2019). Forthcoming is her translation of Mihail Sebastian’s novel Women.