The much-anticipated 45th edition of the Buenos Aires International Book Fair, known locally and more colloquially as the Feria del Libro, will return to the capital this week, opening Thursday, April 25.
The fair, perhaps the most important and largest annual literary event in the Spanish-speaking world, will be held at its regular home, the La Rural convention centre in Palermo, and runs until May 13. As ever, there is a packed schedule, with more than 1,500 activities available to those who attend.
More than a million people attend the event each year, making it as one of the most popular literary expos in the world.
The event’s inauguration, officially kicking off the fair, takes place this Thursday at 6pm. The author chosen to speak at the opening of this year’s edition is influential Argentine-Brazilian academic Rita Segato, an international scholar and alumni of the University of Buenos Aires, where she received a degree in anthropology. Respected in the field as one of Latin America’s foremost feminist thinkers, she has previously specialised in the study of gender violence.
“I feel very honoured by this invitation to the book fair of a country of readers like ours. A country in which someone can become famous for thinking. A country where imagination has not been defeated,” said Segato, who was born in Buenos Aires, in a press release.
Through her writing, Segato has worked to advance the discussion on feminism and how to tackle violence against women. A few of the books that she has authored include The nation and its others, The new forms of war and the body of women, as well as Counter-pedagogies of cruelty.
Ahead of this Thursday’s kick off, the fair will open its doors for a series of professional sessions involving publishers, distributors, booksellers, literary agents, translators, illustrators, graphic designers and printers, educators and librarians.
The activities open to the general public will take place after the inauguration.
This year Barcelona has been selected as the ‘guest city of honour.’ Organisers this week described the famous Spanish city as an “authentic Literary City” and an “editorial power in two languages: Catalan and Spanish.”
In a press release, the Book Fair’s directorate describe their desire to increase the presence of Catalan literature in Latin America, eyeing a deep cultural exchange.
Tasked with representing the city and its literary culture and achievements will be the 78 guests who are travelling to Buenos Aires from Barcelona, as well as from other Catalan speaking territories of Spain. Of the invited guests attending the festival, there will be 56 writers and illustrators, 8 specialists and 14 artists.
Some notable guests among the delegation include Argentine cartoonist and Barcelona resident Horacio Altuna, Spanish cultural journalist Xavier Ayén, and visual artist Paula Bonet.
Among the three main exhibitions highlighting Barcelona’s literary culture is an exhibition called Visit Barcelona in 32 Illustrations, a work curated by the Catalan Council for Children’s and Young Adults’ Books.
According to advanced preview information, the intention of the exhibit is to allow spectators to ‘travel’ to the city of Barcelona through the pages of illustrated children’s books.
In addition to this event, a series of other programmes that will be taking place targeting young readers, are the International Booktubers Meeting (Friday May 10), Bloggers Convention (Saturday April 27), and 'Bookstagrammers' Meeting (Saturday May 4).
Among the influential young authors and 'booktubers' who will be in attendance at the book fair this year are author Becky Albertalli and Mexican online bloggers Claudia Ramírez and Alberto Villarreal.
NOCHE DE LA FERIA
In conjunction with the International Book Fair this year, Saturday April 27, 2019 has been designated as ‘La Noche de la Feria,’ during which admission to the Book Fair will be free from 8:00 pm until 12:00 am.
An open-air concert will also be taking place this night, featuring singer Silvia Pérez Cruz and other international musicians from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, to symbolise the exchange of culture between key literary cities like Buenos Aires and Barcelona.
Information about tickets and entry to the 2019 Buenos Aires International Book Fair can be found, in Spanish and English, on the event’s website: www.el-libro.org.ar.