U.S. librarians head to this year’s Guadalajara International Book Fair, PRH Grupo Editorial starts a new Spanish-language imprint, and more.

U.S. Librarians Step Up at Guadalajara

The 29th annual Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) will host 173 librarians from the United States, a 45% increase from last year. Held in Guadalajara, Mexico, from November 28 to December 6, FIL is the largest Spanish-language book fair in the world. More than 900 publishers from 44 countries will be participating in the nine-day fair, with the United Kingdom as guest of honor.

The first three days of the fair are dedicated to professionals, with an important component being the presence of the U.S. librarians. In partnership with ALA, the Free Pass Program is designed to assist librarians in getting the most out of their visit to FIL, beginning with an orientation on Sunday, November 29, at the Hotel Guadalajara Plaza Ejecutivo López Mateos. The orientation is followed by a dinner sponsored by various publishers and distributors from the U.S. and Latin America. At the dinner, sponsors such as IPG, Fondo de Cultura Económica USA, Cinco Books, Lectorum, and PW will have the opportunity to network with librarians. Librarians who are part of the Free Pass Program are invited to a brunch on Monday, November 30, that is also sponsored by publishers and distributors.

PRH Grupo Editorial Launches Penguin Clásicos

Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, based in Spain, has started a new Spanish-language imprint, Penguin Clásicos. The imprint will focus on the publication of classic Spanish-language literature, as well as universal texts in Spanish. The books under the new imprint are being distributed in the U.S. by Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial USA.

There will be about 30 new releases in the first two years, as well as new editions of previously published works—generally Spanish-language versions of titles from Penguin Classics—complemented by introductions and notes by experts.

Penguin Clásicos will maintain the same design as its English counterpart, but “with a more modern illustration style,” says María Casas, the imprint’s literary director. The goal of the imprint is to publish 250 titles by 2020.

Books planned by Penguin Clásicos include a bilingual edition of Macbeth; Robinson Crusoe, translated by Julio Cortázar; Sherlock Holmes, translated by Esther Tusquets; and an edition of El Cid by Eukene Lacarra.

Publisher Raymond Garcia Honored by ‘People en Español’

Raymond Garcia, v-p and publisher of Celebra, an imprint of Penguin Random House’s Berkley Publishing Group, was named one of People en Español’s 50 most influential Hispanics. A select group of Hispanic world leaders, news makers, innovators, and other boldfaced names are part of the list. Garcia is one of only three business-people selected and the only person from the book publishing industry.

Since starting Celebra in 2007 with a focus on establishing international publishing programs by Hispanic celebrities in both English and Spanish, Garcia has acquired and published books by global superstars such as Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, and Gloria and Emilio Estefan. Celebra also published La La Anthony’s New York Times–bestselling The Love Playbook.

Garcia says he was surprised and humbled to be included in the list. “This honor is not just mine,” Garcia says. “It really represents the sacrifices my parents made in coming to the U.S. from Cuba. My father always reminded me that it is not about what you can get from this country but what you can give back. It is about what we contribute and how we bring our culture forward. This is an absolute milestone for me.”

Garcia also recognizes that he could not have achieved this without the support of Penguin Random House. “They knew I was a dreamer, but in order for dreams to come true you also need a believer, and they believed in me,” Garcia says. The idea of Celebra came from his frustration and challenges in finding a publisher for the autobiography of salsa queen Celia Cruz.

Prior to starting a career in publishing, Garcia had his own marketing and branding agency, and Cruz was one of his clients. Their many projects included the autobiography, but Garcia hit a wall when no publisher was interested in the manuscript. One publisher even told him that Hispanics were willing to spend $20 on beer every week, but not $20 on a single book per year. Shortly thereafter, Cruz passed away and her funeral was on the front page of the New York Times. “We then had every publisher calling us,” Garcia says. “Needless to say, I have spent 10 years proving that publisher wrong—Hispanics do purchase books.” The book was sold to Rayo, an imprint of HarperCollins, and soon Garcia joined Rayo as v-p of marketing and associate publisher.

“When I first pitched what is now Celebra, publishers asked me if I thought there were enough Hispanic celebrities to constitute an imprint,” Garcia says. “I would offer five examples, hand them a copy of People en Español’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics issue, and say, ‘And here are another 95.’ My dream was to publish books by many of the names in those pages—a dream that has come to fruition—but what I could never have imagined was that I would one day join that distinguished list.”

Garcia’s honor also speaks volumes about the publishing industry’s role in Latino culture in the United States. “This is the most fulfilling part of the award,” he says. “The magazine highlights the Latino culture, but this honor highlights the book publishing industry. It’s a win for the industry—and that is exciting.”

IPG Adds New Spanish-Language Publishers to U.S. Offerings

The distributor IPG continues its expansion in the Spanish-language book market. Beginning in 2016, the company will take over the U.S. distribution of books from Lectura Colectiva, Kókinos, Edhasa, Ediciones LEA, Del Nuevo Extremo, and Diábolo Ediciones.

Lectura Colaborativa, formerly known as Cute Ediciones, is an Argentine publisher that offers mostly cooking, baking, and craft books. Starting next year, it will also offer children’s books. Books from the famous pastry chefs Patricia Arribálzaga, Nancy Blanco, and Anna Olson are included in the selection.

Kókinos is a Madrid-based children’s publisher whose books include the Spanish translations of Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Contrary Mary by Anita Jeram.

Edhasa, founded in 1946 in Barcelona, is one of the leading publishers of historical narratives and adventure novels in Spanish. It has also published 15 Nobel Prize winners for literature, and its catalogue has more than 500 active titles. In addition, Edhasa publishes essays and science fiction novels.

Ediciones LEA, based in Argentina, was founded in 2002 by a group of publishing professionals. Its list of titles includes contemporary and classical literature, alternative medicine, self-help, cookbooks, crafts, and children’s books.

Also based in Argentina, Del Nuevo Extremo is a publisher and distributor with over 25 years in the business. Its list primarily comprises books in the areas of self-help, health, fiction, essays, food, photography, and children’s titles.

Founded in 2006, Madrid-based Diábolo Ediciones specializes in Spanish and international comics and publishes both in the United States and Spain.

Barrera Wins Premio Tusquets

The prestigious Premio Tusquets de Novela 2015 was awarded to Venezuelan writer and journalist Alberto Barrera Tyszka for his novel Patria o muerte (Country or Death). The novel focuses on the last few months of the life of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and uses his battle with cancer as a metaphor for the country’s illnesses.

Barrera has published four novels, a poetry collection, and three history books. He is a journalist and scriptwriter for soap operas, and his books have been translated into English, French, Italian, and Mandarin. This is the second literary award won by Barrera; the first was the Premio Herralde in 2006, for his novel La enfermedad (The Sickness), published in English by Tin House.

Barrera’s work was selected from about 570 submissions. The award was granted by Tusquets Editores, part of Grupo Planeta, and the book will be published in November.

Malpica Takes Premio SM Prize

Antonio Malpica Maury is the first Mexican winner of the SM Ibero-American Children’s and YA Literature Award. The prestigious award, along with $30,000, will be presented to Malpica Maury at the Guadalajara International Book Fair in December.

Born in Mexico City in 1967, Malpica has won numerous awards for his children’s and young adult books. He also writes crime and science fiction novels for adults. In addition, Malpica writes and produces theater and is an avid rock musician.

Established in 2005, the SM Award is presented by the SM Foundation in conjunction with Unesco; the International Board on Books for Young People; the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science, and Culture; the Regional Center for Book Promotion in Latin America and the Caribbean; and the Guadalajara International Book Fair.