Anouk Markovits

The New York Times praised Markovits's I am Forbidden as an "elegant, enthralling novel" and the Sunday Telegraph of London noted its "luminously beautiful prose”. I Am Forbidden has been published in fifteen countries. The French version was nominated for the Prix Fémina Etranger and is a finalist for the 2014 Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle. The Dutch version is shortlisted for the 2014 Dutch Wizo Prize. The UK version is shortlisted for the 2014 Wingate Prize. The US version received an Honorable Mention from the Sophie Brodie Award.

Anouk Markovits grew up in France. Her first novel, Pur Coton, was written in French and published by Gallimard. Markovits holds a B.S. from Columbia University, a Master of Architecture from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Romance Studies from Cornell.

Alan Ogden

Alan first went to Romania in 1991 to induct government officials into the mysteries of privatisation. Seemingly trapped in a series of flying visits to Bucharest, he broke the mould in 1998 and set off from England in an ancient Land Rover to explore Romania proper. The outcome was Romania Revisited: on the trail of English Travelers 1604-1940, which was followed by Fortresses of Faith: an illustrated history of the Kirchenburgs of Transylvania and Revelations of Byzantium: the painted churches and monasteries of Moldavia. His next two books, Winds of Sorrow and Moons and Aurochs, are the sum of all his journeys around the country.

Still an indefatigable Romanian traveler, Alan produces the occasional samizdat such as A Romanian Romance: PLF in Romania 1934-39 and A Pocket Guide to Count Miklós Bánffy’s Transylvanian Trilogy.

He lives in London and Sussex.

Benjy Fox-Rosen

Benjy Fox-Rosen will perform a solo program of Yiddish songs from Bucovina, Bessarabia and Transylvania, as well as selections from the sheet music collection of the Medias Synagogue Archive. Active professionally on both sides of the Atlantic, Fox-Rosen has toured and recorded with top performers of the Klezmer revival and taught and performed at many international festivals including Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center and the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival among others. In 2012-2013 Fox-Rosen was a Fulbright Scholar in Moldova where he researched commonalities in Moldovan folk music and Yiddish song. In 2014 Fox-Rosen released to critical acclaim “Two Worlds / Tsvey Veltn,” a song-cycle of original compositions set to the poetry of beloved Yiddish bard, Mordechai Gebirtig. The album was named one of the top five Jewish music recordings of 2014 by the Forward Newspaper.

Bernard Wasserstein

Bernard Wasserstein is Professor Emeritus of Modern European Jewish History at the University of Chicago. In 2015-16 he is Allianz Visiting Professor of Jewish History and Culture at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität in Munich. He has also held positions at Sheffield, Oxford, and Glasgow Universities in the UK and at Brandeis University in the USA.

The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008, his many books include Britain and the Jews of Europe 1939-1945 (1979), The Secret Lives of Trebitsch Lincoln (1988) which was awarded the Golden Dagger for Non-Fiction by the Crime Writers Association in the UK, Vanishing Diaspora (1996, also available in Romanian), Divided Jerusalem (2001), and On the Eve: The Jews of Europe Before the Second World War (2012) which was awarded the Yad Vashem International Book Prize. His latest book, The Ambiguity of Virtue: Gertrude van Tijn and the Fate of the Dutch Jews is published by Harvard University Press.

Dr Bob Gibbons

Dr Bob Gibbons is a writer, photographer and tour leader specialising in the natural world. He has written about 40 books on nature and photography and his photographs have been used in over 50 countries. He has visited Romania many times, and has a particular love of, and interest in, the Transylvanian area. He runs a small nature travel company, and has frequently led groups to show them the extraordinary flora, fauna and way of life of this lovely area. His talk will illustrate some of the rich natural diversity and landscapes of the area, and explore the ways in which these relate to the histories of the Saxon and Romanian people.

Bronwen Riley

Bronwen Riley is Editor of English Heritage Red Guides and is working on a new book Journey to Roman Britain, to be published by Head of Zeus in 2014. She was born and bred in Lancashire, mainly in a beach hut on Morecambe Bay, where she still escapes to write. After Classics at Oxford, she worked for Country Life where she introduced Saint of the Week and wrote obituaries for the Daily Telegraph, specialising in circus folk and Anglo-Irish peers. In the 1990s she split her time between high fashion Tatler and country fashion Transylvania where she lived with woodcutters in the Carpathians. She then took an MA in Byzantine Art at the Courtauld and wrote Transylvania (Frances Lincoln, 2008). She now lives in London but can be found roaming Lancashire and Westmorland with her daughter by bicycle, horse or Mini.

Other publications include the English Heritage Red Guide to Great Yarmouth Row Houses and Greyfriars’ Cloister and Cloth Fair Chambers: A History.

Bronwen also gives lectures and talks on her travels in Romania and as a guidebook editor.

Christel Ungar-Ţopescu

Christel Ungar-Ţopescu was born on July, 19 1966 in Sibiu/Hermannstadt where she graduated the Brukenthal-Highschool, afterwards she studied German and Romanian language and literature at the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iaşi. Since 1990 she has worked at the german language department of the public Romanian television TVR, which she is heading since 2003. Her first bilingual poetry volume So blau/ Atat de albastru was published 2001. Five years later it was followed by a second volume Wenn wir jetzt/Daca acum.

She is also a jazz singer and performed for many years together with the famous jazzman Marius Popp.

Claudiu Komartin

Claudiu Komartin was born in Bucharest in 1983. His first poetry collection, The Puppeteer and Other Insomnia (2003, 2007) won the most prestigious awards for literary debut (including “Mihai Eminescu” National Award). He also published Domestic Circus (2005), which was awarded The Romanian Academy Poetry Prize, A Season in Berceni (2009, 2010) and Cobalt (2013). He is also co-author of two plays and of three anthologies of Romanian contemporary poetry. His poetry has been translated into more than 15 languages.

Komartin has participated in numerous international poetry festivals, residencies, book fairs and workshops (London, Paris, Arles, Vienna, Berlin, Belgrade, Prague, Zagreb, Brussels, San Sebastian, Novi Sad, Sarajevo, Göteborg, Poznan, Druskininkai, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Seoul).

Since 2010, Claudiu Komartin has been editor-in-chief of Poesis international literary magazine and of “Max Blecher” Publishing House. He also coordinates a popular reading club in Bucharest, called “Institutul Blecher” and translates literature from French, English and Italian.

Stephen Watts and Claudiu Komartin are to read from each other’s work in what will prove to be a memorable Anglo-Romanian recital.

Corina Raducanu and Eugen Dumitrescu

Corina and Eugen have been performing as a piano duo since 2005. They both studied at the National University of Music in Bucharest and hold PhDs in music.

They have toured over 60 Romanian towns as a piano duo and have also played in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ukraine and Moldova. Their repertoire includes Mozart’s and Ravel’s sonatas for four hands as well as transcriptions of works by George Enescu and Bela Bartok.

Corina and Eugen founded the Klavier ART Association, which organises piano festivals and competitions for undergraduates in Romania.

Corina teaches the piano at the Dinu Lipatti College of Music and Eugen is the founder of the Mozartino junior school in Bucharest.

Dragos Lumpan

Dragos Lumpan graduated from the National University of Theater and Film, Film Faculty with M.F.A. in Cinematography in 2001 He has exhibited his work in many solo and group exhibitions worldwide and since 2003 has been a contributor to National Geographic. His photographs are held in both private and public collections and his latest, among many, ongoing project Last Transhumance has been developed over many years, culminating in a successful crowdfunding appeal.

Georgina Godwin

Georgina Godwin is an independent broadcast journalist based in London. A regular chair of events at festivals including Hay and Cheltenham, she is Books Editor for Monocle 24. She is also a frequent presenter of current affairs programmes and a commentator on Southern African politics. Georgina has interviewed a wide range of public figures from literary giants and debut novelists to prominent politicians, musicians and artists. Born in Zimbabwe, she was educated there and at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London. She was a founder member of SWRadio Africa and of the Harare International Festival of the Arts. Photo credit: Arno

Ioana Raluca Voicu-Arnăuțoiu

Ioana Raluca Voicu-Arnăuțoiu studied the violin at the Bucharest Conservatory. After graduation she attended chamber music classes at the Fiesole Conservatory on a grant from the Italian government. (Her PhD thesis examines the violin sonata in the early part of the 20th century.)

Ioana played in the national orchestra of Romania for 18 years before taking up teaching chamber music at the National University of Music in Bucharest. She has played with chamber ensembles in concerts and recitals in Bucharest and other towns, as well as abroad.

Ioana has taken a keen interest in the life of Romanian musicians under Communism and has published articles and books on George Enescu, Sergiu Celibidache and Constantin Silvestri amongst others.

John Wyse Jackson

John Wyse Jackson, born in Kilkenny in 1953, is a bookseller and writer. After many years at John Sandoe’s Bookshop in Chelsea (where he went under the name of Sean), he now lives with his family in Ireland, and can generally be found tidying his large stock of secondhand and antiquarian books at Zozimus Bookshop, Gorey, County Wexford. (Contact: or via Facebook or the website:

His books, written or edited, solo or in collaboration, include two about James Joyce and his world, three to do with Oscar Wilde and three relating to Flann O’Brien (Myles na gCopaleen). We All Want to Change the World: A Life of John Lennon appeared in 2005. With Hector McDonnell he has compiled three volumes of verse, Ireland’s Other Poetry: Anonymous to Zozimus, Ulster’s Other Poetry and Dublin’s Other Poetry, and in 2009 Eland published his Dublin: Poetry of Place. He has lectured and broadcast in Ireland, Britain and the United States.

Jonathan Levi

U.S. writer Jonathan Levi is the author of the 1992 novel A Guide for the Perplexed and the upcoming Septimania (April 2016, The Overlook Press), as well as many plays and opera libretti that have been performed in Italy, the Netherlands, Georgia, the U.K. and the United States. A founding editor of Granta magazine, Levi has also written political and cultural journalism for The New York TimesThe NationConde Nast Traveler, and the Los Angeles Times Book Review. He currently lives in Rome and is artistic advisor to the Zaubersee Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland, and co-director of the Gabriel García Márquez Fellowship in Cultural Journalism in Cartagena, Colombia.

Julie Dawson

Julie Dawson is currently directing the Leo Baeck Institute’s multi-year JBAT project, an archival survey of Jewish-history related material in Transylvania and southern Bukovina. She first arrived in Transylvania in 2007 and has never managed to escape fully since.

She will discuss the Jewish archives discovered in 2008 in the abandoned Mediaș synagogue and the little known history of the small Jewish communities in southern Transylvania.

Prior to her work in Romania, Dawson lived in Berlin for six years. She holds a B.A. in German and a B.M. in Ethnomusicology from Northwestern University and a Master in Jewish Studies and Certificate in East Central European Studies from Columbia University.

When not dragging her husband and baby with her throughout Transylvania, she lives with her family in Vienna.

You can follow her discoveries in the archives of Romania on twitter (@jbat_lbi) and via the JBAT blog)

Manuela Giosa

Manuela studied the piano at the Bucharest Conservatoire and attended master classes with Dmitri Bashkirov, Miguel Angel Estrella and Eric le Sage. She won the 3rd prize at the Catanzaro piano competition (1991) and the 2nd prize at the Orpheus piano competition in Antwerp (1997). She has played in recitals and concerts in Romania as well as in France, Austria and Germany.

Manuela holds a PhD in music and is a reader in chamber music at the National University of Music in Bucharest.

Dr Marius-Mircea Crișan

Dr Marius-Mircea Crișan (PhD 2008 University of Turin, Italy) is Associate Professor at the West University of Timișoara. He is the author of The Birth of the Dracula Myth: Bram Stoker’s Transylvania and The Impact of a Myth: Dracula and the Fictional Representation of the Romanian Space – nominated for the Debut Prize of the Union of the Romanian Writers – Timișoara Branch, as well as of Syntheses of Didactics of Romanian language and literature: Introductory coordinates and research perspectives. He was the manager of the research project The impact of a Myth: Dracula and the Image of Romania in British and American Literatures (2011-2013). He has written several articles on the Dracula myth and book chapters for international publishing houses. He also publishes on Imagology, reception theories and Didactics, and is co-author of An Imagological Dictionary of the Cities in Romania Represented in British Travel and Dictionary of the Writers of the Banat. Marius Crișan is also chair of the International Conference Beliefs and Behaviours in Education and Culture and organiser of the International Workshop Where’s the Place of Dracula: (De)Constructing Stereotypes in the Study of Mythical Places in Literature and the Arts.

Mike Ormsby

Mike Ormsby will be talking about his book Never Mind the Balkans, Here’s Romania. First published in 2008, this best-selling collection of bittersweet short stories has become a cult read among Romanians, Romaniaphiles, and the uninitiated around the world. The ironic but affectionate tales, of ordinary people in often-extraordinary circumstances, won glowing reviews from Romania's literary critics. Some described Mike as The British Caragiale, in reference to Romania's fin-de-siècle satirist.

Mike is the author of a two-part novel – Child Witch Kinshasa and Child Witch London. His eco-tainment picture book for children – Spinner the Winner – has been translated into four languages. His screenplay Hey, Mr DJ! was filmed in Kigali and topped the bill at Rwanda’s first Hillywood Film Festival in 2008.

After twenty years as global nomads, Mike and his wife Angela Nicoara live in a mountain village in Transylvania, with four cats, two dogs, and the occasional bear.

Norman Stone

Norman Stone (born 8 March 1941) is a British historian, who is currently a Professor in the Department of International Relations at Bilkent University, Ankara. He is a former Professor at the University of Oxford, Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, and adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Paul Brummell

Paul Brummell has been British Ambassador to Romania since August 2014. A career diplomat, he has also served as Ambassador to Turkmenistan from 2002-5, Ambassador to Kazakhstan (and non-resident Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan) from 2005-9, and High Commissioner to the countries of the Eastern Caribbean, based in Barbados, from 2009-13.

He has also written travel guides to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan for the publisher Bradt, and was once shortlisted for the Spectator’s Shiva Naipaul memorial prize for travel writing for an article on the San Remo Song Festival.

Simon Fenwick

Simon Fenwick was born in 1955. He spent his early years in Wigton, a small market town in Cumbria, where he went to school, and in Northumberland.

After graduating from university he began working as an archivist for Cumbria County Council Record Office in Barrow-in-Furness. From there he went to the Wordsworth Library in Grasmere and subsequently he was archivist to a number of country houses in Northamptonshire. During his career he has worked across a wide variety of archives including the British Medical Association, the Royal Watercolour Society and a seminary at Montefiascone in Italy. He has also published several books and written for newspapers and magazines.

Following the death of Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor in June 2011 he was asked to go Kardamyli in Greece to sort and pack Paddy’s archive before its return to England.

He currently lives in London.

Stephen Watts

Migration has long been a feature of Transylvanian life. Stephen Watts feels it has been an extraordinary vital part of life for him too. “Migration is in my awareness and in my blood,” he admitted, referring to his mother’s family who were mountain people dwelling in the Italian & Swiss-Italian Alps. He quit university aged 20 and went to live on North Uist in the Outer Hebrides where he became a poet. A move to Whitechapel in London’s East End (an area of constant immigration for centuries) in 1977 – where he has lived since – continues this on-going journey.

His recent books, Mountain Language/Lingua di montagna & Journey Across Breath/Tragitto nel respiro, were translated into Italian & published as bilingual editions.

‘One must write poetry in your mother tongue’ yet this extraordinary poet whose every word is weighed and sounded out, has co-translated the work of Claudiu Komartin a man of equal sensitivities.

He has also co-translated contemporary Kurdish, Arabic, Slovenian, Persian, Yiddish & Romanian poets, and has compiled a bibliography of C20th poetry in English translation.

Zsuzsa Szebeni

Zsuzsa Szebeni is a Transylvanian-born theatre historian in charge of Hungarian relations abroad at the Hungarian Theatre Museum and Institute. Over many years Zsuzsa has taken part in festivals and conferences, and has curated exhibitions, most recently the Miklos Banffy Memorial Exhibition, which toured 33 locations welcoming 58,000 visitors.

Her research work includes: Opposites and Complementaires, Bartók and Bánffy and The Legend of the Palette of Miklós Bánffy.