What is Barcelona? Beaches? Independence? Jamón?

Faculty member Daria Gavilrova pens the first book on Barcelona in Russian!

Professor Daria Gavrilova from our Barcelona Faculty recently celebrated the launch of her first book at Casa de Rusia (Russian House), via Zoom. It’s a tale of Barcelona’s historical context, its social, and political complexity, and a love letter to the Catalan capital, told by a Russian native who has called Barcelona home for seven years.

What is Barcelona? Beaches. Independence. Jamón. is Daria’s first book, as well as the first Russian-language book about Barcelona, ​​written not as a tourist guide, but as a detailed and compassionate story about this city, its past, present and … future. You will find out why Barcelona has become a metropolis of the Mediterranean, where students and scientists, artists, and tourists from all over the world, and the Spaniards themselves meld to form the fabric of this unique city.

When asked why she wrote this book, Daria responded, “It’s a book I would like to have had when I moved to Barcelona.” She then adds, “It’s not a guide book, but you can use it as a guide book to explore the city when you first arrive.” She took a year and a half to complete the book, after presenting her publisher with a half-page pitch. It was published in December 2019.

The first part is about the history of the city, told through the personalities of the different barrios. It explains the intrinsic knowledge contained within the city, not obvious to a new arrival. It is written for a post-soviet audience with a focus on the nuanced things you pick up as a foreigner, like the difference between pintxos and tapas.

The second half is more in the realm of journalism, delving into social and political issues, Catalan independence, the ubiquitous tourismophobia she encountered, and asks the question, “why do people hate tourists in Barcelona?”. She explains the problems of the city for people who may not understand contentious issues faced by the local community, and which form an important part of being “at home” here.

Daria, a natural linguist, lectures in communication and writing skills at Geneva Business School, she also works as a journalist, guide, teacher, and translator. Daria is Kommersant FM’s own correspondent in Spain. She has published in such popular publications as Meduza, The Village, Wonderzine, Poster, and RBC. Daria graduated from the journalism faculty of Moscow State University and received a master’s degree from Complutense University.

What is Barcelona? Beaches. Independence. Jamón. is published by Ripol and for now, is only available in Russian. We look forward to the English, Spanish, and Catalan versions but if you are Russian and studying in Barcelona, we highly recommend that you check it out!

Report by Vanya Maplestone 

If you are in Barcelona, contact Daria if you would like a copy.

If you are in Russia, you can get a copy here.

 

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