The Buenos Aires Book Fair, the largest in South America, returns April 26–May 16. It will be the first in-person installment of the fair since 2019, after the 2020 and 2021 events went virtual due to the Covid pandemic.
The fair has a new director, Ezequiel Martínez, who took the role last November. Among the authors scheduled to participate are Mario Vargas Llosa, Diamela Eltit, and Javier Cercas, as well as American thriller writer John Katzenbach. Guil-lermo Saccomanno will offer the opening keynote speech.
“Authors will come from Brazil, Germany, Bolivia, Spain, the United States, Puerto Rico, Portugal, France and many other places,” Martínez told Infobae. “Luckily, we had a lot of support from institutions and embassies. We are going to have an international fair with a strong presence of foreign authors, not just Argentines.”
Though the Buenos Aires Book Fair is primarily focused on consumers, three days of professional events take place at the start of the fair, including panels and discussions. Special events at the fair include a tribute to Gabriel García Márquez on the 40th anniversary of his Nobel Prize win and a marathon reading of work by José Saramago focusing on his female characters. Havana is the guest city of honor.
Many authors who published works during the pandemic, especially in 2020 and 2021, are expected to make their official book presentations—a combination of lecture and launch party that often marks the publication of a book in the Spanish-speaking world—at the fair. Several events will also be livestreamed.
The Argentine publishing industry has been suffering during the pandemic, and the hope is that the return of the Buenos Aires Book Fair, which attracts as many as a million people over the full three weeks, will help boost sales. Attendees to the fair will be able to show their entrance tickets to get special discounts at various bookstores in the city.
“The pandemic was painful and many bookstores were closed,” Martínez told Infobae. “The fair is itself a chance for publishers to reach new readers. Expectations and anxiety are high for the fair’s return. We expect it to be the same massive fair we are used to.”
The Madrid Book Fair, set for May 27–June 12, also has a new director. Eva Orúe, a journalist and author, replaced Manuel Gil to become the first woman to run the fair in its 80-year history. The event is organized by the Booksellers Guild of Madrid, and Orúe will be working with Igor Muñiz, from the bookstore Librería Muga, to produce it. PW en Español will return as a key sponsor and will once again host several hundred authors in its booth.
In other leadership changes, the National Chamber of the Mexican Publishing Industry (Caniem) elected Hugo Setzer as its new president. Setzer, CEO of Mexican STEM publishing house Manual Moderno, is well-known to the industry, having previously served as president of the International Publishers Association from 2019 to 2020. He was also vice president of Caniem from 2004 to 2006 and from 2010 to 2013, and was founding president of the Mexican Center for the Protection and Promotion of Copyright, Collective Management Society (CeMPro) from 1998 to 2002.