An embassy of Portuguese culture, from literature to music, from architecture to gastronomy, will be present in the coming days in Mexico, at the International Book Fair of Guadalajara, where Portugal is the guest country.
Considered the largest event in Latin America dedicated to book and book business, the Guadalajara fair is understood as a high point of diplomatic relations between Portugal and Mexico, which have lasted for more than 150 years.
The Government understands the presence in Guadalajara as a strategic initiative to reach new markets in Latin America and the Minister of Culture, Graça Fonseca, considers that, with the programming outlined, Portugal should be regarded as a “cultural power”, like this week.
“The expectation is to promote the internationalization of Portuguese authors and creators,” said Graça Fonseca, who has been in the Ministry of Culture since October, succeeding Luís Filipe Castro Mendes, and will be in Guadalajara at the official opening.
Participation in the fair in Guadalajara, estimated at around 2.5 million euros, comes two decades after Portugal was honoured in 1997 with the Frankfurt Book Fair (Germany), considered the most important of the bookseller business.
In 2013 Portuguese letters and culture were featured at the Bogota Book Fair in Colombia.
According to the program designed by the commissioner Manuela Júdice, in Guadalajara there will be about 40 Portuguese and Portuguese-language writers, from the novel to the essay, from the tale to poetry, among them António Lobo Antunes, Hélia Correia, Mia Couto and Germano Almeida – all of them Camões Prize – in addition to José Luís Peixoto, Afonso Cruz, Lídia Jorge, Ricardo Araújo Pereira, Dulce Maria Cardoso or Gonçalo M. Tavares.
Manuel Alegre, whose presence was also expected, will not be in Guadalajara for health reasons.
The authors will be present in almost every aspect of the fair’s programming, including visits to schools and universities, meetings with audiences and sessions for children, cycles on comics, chronicles, poetry or children’s books.
In the music, performances are performed by artists like Ana Bacalhau, Gil does Carmo, Amor Electro, Camané, Capicua, Dead Combo, Luís Represas, Moonspell and Katia Guerreiro, some in unpublished partnerships with Mexican artists.
In the cinema, films will be screened that were inspired by literary works such as “A Bee in the Rain” by Fernando Lopes, “Vale Abraão” and “Singularities of a Blonde Girl” by Manoel de Oliveira, “The Shore of Murmurs” , by Margarida Cardoso, “A Corte do Norte” and “Filme do Desassossego” by João Botelho.
From the program, the writer José Saramago evokes the 20th anniversary of the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Portuguese writer’s relationship with Mexico and the fair.
In Guadalajara there will be three exhibitions, one with tapestries that reproduce the panels that Almada Negreiros made in the 1940s for the Gare Marítima de Alcântara and the Gare da Rocha do Conde de Óbidos, putting them in dialogue with the murals of the Mexican painter José Clemente Orozco.
As part of the book fair, there will also be a meeting on architecture, in which Carrilho da Graça will be honoured.
The Pavilion of Portugal at the Guadalajara Fair, designed by the architects João Santa-Rita and Pedro Guedes Lebre, will have a bookstore with more than one thousand Portuguese literature titles and a space for the AICEP investment agency.
Due to the participation in the fair, a special program was launched to support translation, illustration and edition in the Latin American market, created by the Camões Institute and the General Directorate of Books, Archives and Libraries.
In total, the program covers the edition in Spanish of more than 50 poetic anthologies, novels and picture books, from Fernando Pessoa to José Eduardo Agualusa, from João Tordo to Adília Lopes, from Ana Pessoa to Pepetela.
The works are published mainly in Mexico, but also in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Summing up in numbers, the 32nd edition of the Guadalajara International Book Fair will run from November 24 to December 2 in an area with 34 thousand square meters, will have a total of 800 writers and expects more than 20 thousand professionals linked to the market bookseller, more than 2,000 publishers and 400 thousand titles from 47 countries.
In 2017, the fair counted on about 800 thousand visitors, between public and professionals.
The closing of the fair will be attended by the prime minister, António Costa, who will pass the testimony to India, 2019 guest of honour.