Colombia’s book lovers are flocking to the nation’s capital for Bogota’s annual International Book Fair, which opened its doors for its 27th year on Tuesday.
Running from 29 April to the 12 May, the renowned festival is a stage for promoting new cultural works to both national and international readers, while also providing a forum for editors, publishers and distributors from around the world to discover the newest literary talents and releases.
Visitors can enjoy the festival’s wide span of genres, which range from literary fiction and poetry, to graphic novels and documentaries.
Each year the fair places a special emphasis on the literature of a nominated country, with Peru taking the honors in 2014.
The Peruvian ambassador Nestor Popolizio told Colombian newspaper El Espectador that the intention was “to take Peru to Bogota with the best of our literature, poetry, music, folklore, crafts, theater, film and photography.”
Amongst the Peruvian elements on show will be tastings of the country’s cuisine, aided by Bernardo Roca Rey, President of the Peruvian Society of Gastronomy.
Led by the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010, Peru has a delegation of at least 60 writers and 80 publishers attending the festival. Llosa also appeared at the opening ceremony of the festival alongside Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Peruvian President Ollanta Humala.
The fair comes less than two weeks after the death of Colombia’s most famous literary figure, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and the memorials to the author will continue throughout the fortnight. The Colombian Ministry of Culture will hold a permanent exhibition of “Gabo readings” which will show the major influences Garcia Marquez had on literature.
The first Spanish American Short Story Prize will also be presented in the first days of the festival, a new initiative by the Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Cervantes Institute in Spain for the purpose of stimulating literary creation.
According to the Ministry of Culture, the prize is destined to be the largest of its kind, recognising writers throughout Latin America and the legacy of authors who shone in this narrative technique, like Jorge Luis Borges, Juan Rulfo, and Julio Cortazar. The prize was reportedly endorsed by Garcia Marquez himself.
The International Book Fair of Bogota has taken place since 1988 and is the third largest in Latin America behind similar events in Guadalajara and Buenos Aires, according to the International Business Centre and Exhibition Bogota (Corferias), which hosts the event.
More than 400 exhibitors including Colombian exporters and international buyers will appear at the Corferias Exhibition Center, where dozens of pavilions will host a variety of themes and activities — including exhibitions, conversations, book signings, education sessions, readings and concerts.
- Arranca la Feria del Libro de Bogota (El Espectador)
- Bogota recibe la riqueza cultural de Peru (Semana)
- About the Bogota Book Fair (Feria del Libro)
- Colombia presenta Premio Hispanoamericano de Cuento homenaje a García Márquez (W Radio)