The Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) will run from November 25 to December 3 this year, with professional dates set for November 27–29. FIL is the largest and most important annual book fair in the Spanish-language book industry, established 31 years ago and still organized by the University of Guadalajara. In addition to attracting book professionals from all over the world, FIL is open to the general public.
This year, FIL expects to host more than 2,000 publishers from 45 countries, including 170 publishers and 420 book professionals from the U.S. Authors and editors who will participate in different activities throughout the fair, include Paul Auster (U.S.), Carlos Yushimito (Peru), and Azar Nafisi (Iran). “Hundreds of writers representing 29 languages [will] go to the fair,” says general director Marisol Schulz. “There are multiple activities not just for adults but also for readers in training,” she says in reference to FIL Niños (FIL Kids).
The fair’s opening ceremony, on November 25, will include the presentation of FIL’s Literary Award in Romance Languages, which this year goes to writer and journalist Emmanuel Carrère, for his “versatile, broad, and transversal body of work that has earned him vast and enthusiastic international distinction.”
One new element for the 2017 fair is its Comics and Graphic Novels Hall, which Schulz describes as “a space where readers of comic strips can meet different artists and find materials from different publishers.”
Below is a closer look at some of the fair’s major components.
To attract more families to FIL Niños, organizers have scheduled almost 1,500 different sessions that promote reading and creative writing, as well as “spontaneous workshops,” where children can join in creative exchanges with authors. Furthermore, 35 artistic companies from eight countries will offer more than 80 performances for theater, dance, and music, as well as clowns acts, marionette shows, and book presentations.
As in past years, FIL and the American Library Association are working together to attract more U.S. librarians—who often make most of their annual book acquisitions at the fair. To date, 172 librarians from 27 states are expected to participate. On November 26 a free gala dinner for ALA members, sponsored by publishers and distributors (and Publishers Weekly), will take place at La Tequila. Of particular interest every year is the annual International Colloquium for Librarians, held November 27–29, and the International Publishers and Book Professionals Forum, November 28–29. Both events are held in Spanish.
Guest of Honor
Madrid is this year’s guest of honor, and 90 authors from Spain’s capital will participate in a literary program that will pay tribute to the literature of the region, with various shows, films, and visual arts presentations, as well as about 50 workshops or forums scheduled.
Along with FIL, Madrid has prepared a program that includes established authors in contemporary literature, as well as new voices, and Mexican readers will be able to hear them speak at different events. Among the many activities planned for Madrid as guest of honor are nine concerts, where Spanish artists will perform along with Mexican talents. Madrid will also bring two major exhibitions to the Instituto Cultural Cabañas (Cabañas Cultural Institute) and a retrospective of Elena Asins at the Museo de las Artes de la Universidad de Guadalajara (Guadalajara University Art Museum).
“Madrid’s presence will be [felt] all over the city,” Schulz says. She adds that she is thrilled by the new voices and new trends at this year’s events, as well as the thousands of children and guests that will attend the fair. “For nine days,” she said, “Guadalajara becomes the publishing and cultural capital of the world in Spanish.”