Join us for the ultimate armchair travel around Europe. The European Book Club is offered in partnership with European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) in Ottawa to promote contemporary European authors and their works. A book title from an EU country is selected for discussion each month.
We will be discussing "Papyrus: The Invention of Books in the Ancient World" by Irene Vallejo.
Irene Vallejo earned her European Doctorate from the Universities of Zaragoza and Florence. Papyrus was awarded the National Essay Prize, the Critical Eye Prize for Narrative and the Bookstore Recommendation Award, and will be published in thirty countries. She is a regular columnist for El País and Heraldo de Aragón, and is the author of two children’s books, two novels, and three collections of essays, articles, and short fiction.
Long before books were mass-produced, scrolls hand copied on reeds pulled from the Nile were the treasures of the ancient world. Emperors and Pharaohs were so determined to possess them that they dispatched emissaries to the edges of the earth to bring them back.
Papyrus, traces the dramatic history of the book and the fight for its survival. This is the story of the book’s journey from oral tradition to scrolls to codices, and how that transition laid the very foundation of Western culture. And it is a story full of heroic adventures, bloodshed and megalomania – from the battlefields of Alexander the Great and the palaces of Cleopatra to the libraries of war-torn Sarajevo and Oxford.