Biography

When making his debut as a playwright, he was already a well-known personality in Romanian art, since he was one of the most important editors in Romanian after 1989 and a founder of the Nemira Publishing house (link). A writer and an owner of the Nemira Group, as well as a former president of the Romanian Public Television Network, Valentin Nicolau is a geophysicist.

He was born on the 22nd of June 1960 in Bucharest. He graduated Spiru Haret High School in the capital of his native country and then the Faculty of Geology and Geophysics in the University of Bucharest, getting ready for a profession which “gives one a lot of leisure and no bosses”. What is he afraid of? He is afraid of leading a superficial life…

But the adventure started a long time before. While on his holidays, he used to work as a docker, a driller, a sailor, a private tutor of maths and physics and also as a geophysicist technician on marine research ships. He took up more circumstancial jobs such as a painter, he made a living out of enframing and selling paintings. After graduating university in 1985 and until 1990 he worked as a geophysicist, coordinating a gravimetric prospecting team employed by the Geologic and Geophysical Prospecting Enterprise.

Just a few months after the Romanian Revolution in 1989, Valentin Nicolau founded the “Science and Travel Journal”, a daily that turned into financial failure after only six issues. As for the Nemira Publishing House, it was established in 1991 and it was a dream that came true, a dream that gave him a chance to turn his hobby into a profession: “It was an aspiration of mine and I tried to make the publishing house an edifice to last. But perhaps my most important achievement is the making and the harmonizing of the team of employees, which I am very fond of.”

Shortly after, Nemira became one of the main publishing houses in Romania and not only. In 2001 it was awarded as the best science fiction publishing house in Europe by the European Science Fiction Convention.

In July 2001, Valentin Nicolau was appointed an adviser of the Romanian Prime-Minister, in charge of culture, education, research and tourism. He resigned in June 2002.

In 2002 he became a president of the Romanian Public Television Network (TVR), but he resigned three years later, claiming his decision was due to political interference and pressure on himself and on the institutions he was head of. One of his major accomplishments as president of the TVR is the implementation of a complex programme meant to modernize the institution in every respect, from infrastructure to the contents of TV shows, carried out together with a team of British experts specializing in rebranding. “It is hard to wake up a giant in the habit of dozing” – this is what he said about TVR. “It is hard to make this giant realize that it must change and understand that there is need of more than oversized staff and exclusive information, that it must prove flexible, clever and behave like a competitor. […] But there emanated huge energies to keep the <monster> drowsy and submissive, to have him just snarl when packed by some political force and keep eyes shut only in front of the tricks performed by the same politicians. But despite them, I made it somehow.”

While a head of the TVR, Valentin Nicolau was the only Romanian to be in the board of the European Broadcasting Union.

In 2005-2006 he was a vice president of the GRIVCO-Intact Press Group and since 2006 he has worked as an adviser for the Lagardere Media-Romania.

In the early 2007 the CNA (National Council for Audio and visual Media) held a competition and he won a license for the making of a radio station called Smart FM (link), “the first private radio station in Romania with a cultural profile.” In May 2007 Valentin Nicolau established Nemi (link), a publishing house specializing in children’s books.

In June the same year he became a member of the above-mentioned CAN, but he resigned after just three days, claiming the institution was politically obedient. Since October 2007 he is a visiting professor at the University of Sibiu.

Since February 2010 he is an associate professor at the University of Bucharest and since March 2011 he is an associate professor at the University of Transilvania in Brasov.

As far as his literary career is concerned, we need to mention that it started much earlier. The first children’s book he wrote is called “Bronto, un dinozaur inca mic” (“Bronto, A Still Small Dinosaur”) and it was published in 1995. As for the world of theatre, he got into its focus rather later. In 1998, his first play was staged by the Victor Ioan Popa Theatre in Barlad. It was called “Vi s-a furat un pat” (“They’ve Stolen Your Bed”). It was only in 1999 and 2000 that his gift as a playwright was officially admitted, when he was one of the “best play of the year” nominees, as decided by the Romanian Association of Theatre Artists (UNITER). In 2000 the Romanian Ministry of Culture awarded him the “Camil Petrescu” High Distinction for Playwriting for a play titled “Ca Zapada si cei doi” (“Like Snow White and the Two”). The well-known Romanian literary critic Nicolae Manolescu was head of the jury.

“The story of this play is a very special one. Editor Valentin Nicolau met with one of the one of the writers whose works are published by Nemira. He told me there still were ten days left of the “Camil Petrescu” playwriting competition, so one could still submit plays. It worked as a spur on me. So I went home and it took me five nights to write it. In the sixth I took a break to get myself detached. In the seventh I revised it and then I submitted it for the competition. This is the story…” And the story has continued ever since. His plays have been staged by the theatres in several Romanian cities, Bucharest included. “Uzina de placeri SA” (“Pleasure Factory”), a version of the “Ca Zapada si cei doi” (“Like Snow White and the Two”), has been on the repertoire of the Nottara Theatre in the capital city of Romania since 2002. Valentin Nicolau is the authors of several plays collected and published in several volumes: “Daca as fi un inger” (“If I Were an Angel”), “Ultimul imparat” (“The Last Emperor”), “Mai jos de Figueras” (“Below Figueras”). Some of them have been translated in other languages and some are included in collective anthologies.

“I never reread my plays”, says the playwright. “It would be like returning to an old flame that I loved once, which was wonderful or painful. But I don’t want to see the woman’s face again. Maybe I wouldn’t even recognize her now. I prefer falling in love again, with another woman. I’d rather go for a new love story.”

Curriculum Vitae

Valentin Nicolau CV Born on the 22nd of June 1960. Married to Angelica Nicolau and father of two children, Ana-Maria and Radu. Education – since 2003 – Ph. D. in communication sciences of the University of Bucharest. His thesis is called „Public service in Romanian media: European patterns, Romanian contents” and is coordinated by professor […]


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