In Memoriam Ara Șeptilici

The journalist and writer Ara Șeptilici, who was the Bucharest correspondent of Radio Free Europe between 1995-2004, passed away on 20 September 2021.

She was born on 6 February 1962 in Piatra Neamţ, and she graduated from the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures of the University of Bucharest in 1992.

Ara Șeptilici was included in the Ficţiuni (Fictions) anthology from Litera Publishing House, in 1992, and had her debut as a novelist published in 2006, with the volume Dublul (The Double). This was followed by 100 de până la 1000 de ani (100 up to 1000 years) in 2014, and Arazia in 2019, books well received by the literary critics of Bucharest.

She was a permanent collaborator on the radio show Actualitatea din Republica Moldova (Current affairs from the Republic of Moldova), the first special programme from Radio Free Europe for the audience across the Prut River, launched in March 1998. This was followed by the programme Ora Moldovei (Moldova’s Hour), featuring information on Moldovan current affairs, both regional and international. She was also a mentor for many journalists, from Chișinău and the regions, who had their debut at Radio Free Europe.  According to her colleague Valentina Basiul: “She introduced me to the world of Radio Free Europe, in 2002, encouraging me to get an internship in the Bucharest office. It was then that I started setting my watch by Ora Moldovei. She will stay in my memory as Ara the optimist, always involved, and ready to jump in and support you when you needed it.”

We would like to suggest that you listen to the interview conducted by Ara Șeptilici with the ethnographer Irina Nicolau in December 1998, a dialogue about Romanian Christmas customs, and how this celebration was stolen by the dictatorship of Ceaușescu in Romania.

Have a gentle journey, Ara Șeptilici…