Books and culture can improve relations between Portugal and Mexico

Portugal and Mexico have “a relationship of closeness and sympathy,” but they can improve mutual knowledge based on culture and literature, said the director general of the Guadalajara Book Fair, Marisol Schulz.

Portugal will be the guest country of the Book Fair of Guadalajara, the largest in Latin America, in November and, about a month after the start, Marisol Schulz said that the cultural program prepared by the Portuguese commissary is “very versatile, very varied , very enriching “.

Being a guest country at the Guadalajara Book Fair implies “a great cultural exhibition”, in a city with more than five million people and in a Latin American literary and cultural universe.

“It is a very complete and panoramic view of what a country is.” (…) We have a relationship with the country, of proximity and of sympathy for Portugal, but we do not know [the country]. I think it is more that we do not know about Portugal than what we know, “said Marisol Schulz.

The 32nd Guadalajara Book Fair will run from November 24 to December 2, and Portuguese participation will be translated into a group of dozens of writers, editors, promoters, but also names of music, theater, visual arts , of the cinema.

This presence of Portugal as a guest is understood by the Portuguese Government as a lever for projecting the image of the country in Latin America, which will internationalize Portuguese culture and open the way in the export of Portuguese economy and tourism, according to a government resolution approved in 2017.

According to Marisol Schulz, “it’s a great moment in relations between Mexico and Portugal. It will mark a ‘before’ and a ‘later’, since there is a great investment of Portuguese companies.

The Director-General has been speaking to the Portuguese commissioner of the participation in the fair, Manuela Júdice, but recalled that in the preparation work, after accepting the Portuguese candidacy, two Ministers of Culture were already involved (João Soares and Luís Filipe Castro Mendes ), and at the inauguration in November, there should be a third party responsible for cultural tutelage, the new minister, Graça Fonseca.

“It was with Minister Castro Mendes that everything was accomplished,” he said.

From the point of view of the literary and publishing market, Marisol Schulz recalled that the Guadalajara fair is visited by publishers from all Spanish speaking countries. “Whoever goes as a guest of honor has a potential market of 22 countries and more than 500 million readers. We are talking about potential,” he said.

“For everyone it is a great opportunity to contact the great writers, musicians, poets and gastronomy,” he said, listing some of the most read Portuguese authors in Mexico and who will be in Guadalajara, such as António Lobo Antunes, Nuno Júdice and José Luís Peixoto.

Marisol Schulz also refers to Gonçalo M. Tavares, José Saramago – of whom Marisol Schulz was editor in Mexico -, Eça de Queirós, Fernado Pessoa, “who reads a lot”, even more so than Luis Vaz de Camões.

In 2017, the Book Fair of Guadalajara had 815 thousand visitors. “It’s a good time to understand how the Mexican book market is” and Latin American, he said.

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