The University of Guadalajara celebrated World Book Day earlier this year with a book fair that included an international bookstore forum of writers and booksellers, introduced by FIL director Marisol Schulz, discussing ideas and challenges in the industry, along with the Carlos Fuentes Bookstore.
The colors of India—its music, art, theater, food, and books—will be the backdrop to the 33rd edition of the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL). The second largest book fair after Frankfurt, this year it will run from November 30 through December 8. More than 800 writers from 37 countries will attend, and more than a million people are expected to visit the fair. With India as the guest of honor, the theme, “May our lives be open books,” pays homage to. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth, his great-grandson, Arun Gandhi, will offer a keynote, “Gandhi and Civil Disobedience.”
With a delegation of 215 people, India is bringing an extensive program to Guadalajara, according to Marisol Schulz, FIL director. “I am so excited to be hosting such a fascinating and diverse country. There are many things that unite our cultures, such as our strong family values and an appreciation and celebration of our rich and complex histories,” Schulz says. “And let’s not forget the amazing varieties of hot peppers both of our cultures have,” she jokes. One focus of India’s program is on contemporary literature, including the participation of 35 authors who live in India and represent the many different languages spoken there.
In addition to showcasing some of its best writers, India will present performances of traditional and contemporary Indian dances and instrumental and fusion music, as well as film screenings in theaters of the University of Guadalajara. Topping off the program, India will present three exhibits: Tangible Words: Preserving the Intellectual Heritage of India, an exhibit of rare and unique manuscripts from India, at the Regional Museum of Guadalajara; Modernism in India: Through NID Archives, at the Cabañas Cultural Institute; and Stree Drishti: Women Engravers from India, at the Museum of Arts at the University of Guadalajara.
David Huerta, Mexican poet, essayist and translator, will be awarded the FIL Prize for Literature in Roman Languages during the opening of the fair. Argentinian novelist Luisa Valenzuela will open the Literary Hall and receive the Carlos Fuentes Medal, granted by FIL and presented by Silvia Lemus, Fuentes’s widow. The French professor and writer Annie Ernaux, recent winner of the Formentor de las Letras Award, will be at FIL to meet her readers. In addition, the Tribute for Editorial Merit will be dedicated posthumously to the Spanish editor Claudio López Lamadrid, who died in January at age 59.
FIL is also introducing new initiatives. To tend to the needs of booksellers, the fair will hold the first International Bookstore Forum, in conjunction with the Carlos Fuentes Bookstore (owned by the University of Guadalajara) and the University Publishing House. In this space, bookstore owners and booksellers can discuss trends in the marketplace and exchange ideas about how to deal with new opportunities and challenges. The fair is also expanding its selection of books in braille and the Electronic Book Area will grow as well
More than 20,000 book professionals are expected at the 2019 FIL, as well as more than 2,350 publishers, exhibiting 400,000 titles from 47 countries in 27 languages. The FIL Rights Hall will have 131 tables from 27 countries. Among the 800 authors set to attend are Mario Vargas Llosa, Siri Hustvedt, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Luisa Valenzuela, Markus Zusak, Amin Maalouf, Marcela Serrano, Alessandro Baricco, Vandana Shiva, Dacre Stoker, Elena Poniatowska, and Frank Miller.
FIL Children will host more than 1,500 sessions of 15 workshops to promote creative reading and writing. Young adults are an important group of readers in Mexico; this year’s theme for the YA area is “the use of poison in literature.” One of the most exciting events will be the sixth annual Somos Booktubers (We Are Booktubers) contest that brings together a thousand young people who are dedicated to promoting reading. In the popular science category, Brigitte Baptiste and Alejandra León-Castellá will talk about the achievements of women scientists, with a premise of inclusion and equality.
Octavio Paz, Mexican Nobel Prize in Literature winner and Mexican ambassador to India, wrote, “Every civilization is a vision of time. Institutions, works of art, techniques, and philosophies: everything we do or dream is a fabric of time.” For Paz, India was first and foremost a civilization, “a living museum,” in which “the most modern modernity,” as he called it, coincided with ancient cultural vestiges. With its unequaled mosaic of colors, aromas, and flavors, with its multiple cultures and linguistic richness, India promises to surprise those who this year have the opportunity to visit FIL and allow their lives to be open books.
Below, more on the Guadalajara International Book Fair