With the European Union as the Guest of Honour of the Guadalajara International Book Fair in Mexico, EIBF was in attendance of Latin America’s largest book trade event. Keep reading to get a feel for the experience!
The city of Guadalajara in Mexico is home to the International Book Fair of Guadalajara (FIL), the world’s largest book trade fair for the Spanish-speaking market. For the 2023 edition of the FIL, held between 25th November and 3rd December 2023, the European Union was the Guest of Honour, with a whole programme of discussions, panels, author talks, and other activities tailored to European literature.
In this context, it seemed adequate for EIBF and its different projects to be represented in Guadalajara. This responsibility was bestowed upon Policy Advisor Daniel Martín Brennan and Content and Communications Officer Álvaro Martínez, who travelled to Mexico to present EIBF’s activities to a Latin American audience, as well as to set up new links with different key stakeholders in these markets. The two of them also participated in the International Booksellers Forum programme, integrated in the portfolio of activities of the Guadalajara Book Fair.
Before venturing into the fair, Daniel and Álvaro had the opportunity to meet in Mexico City with Claudia Bautista, President of the Network of Independent Bookshops of Mexico (RELI). Thanks to this meeting, they were able to get a glimpse of how the Mexican bookselling market functions, and also to visit some of Mexico City’s most fascinating bookshops, like the state-of-the-art building of Cafebrería El Péndulo, in the neighbourhood of San Ángel, or Coyoacán's bookshop U-Tópicas, a referent in the curation of feminist literature.
Already in Guadalajara, the agenda kicked off on Sunday 26th at the Librería Carlos Fuentes, co-organizer with the FIL of the International Booksellers Forum. There, Daniel took part in a panel discussion ‘Initiatives that have made a difference’, joined by Claudia Inés Cañas, President of the Association of Independent Colombian Booksellers (ACLI) and Isabelle Lemarchand, President of the International Association of Francophone Bookshops (AILF). Thanks to this panel, Daniel could offer an overview of the different projects that EIBF has implemented to protect and give impulse to the sector, such as EIBF’s Freedom of Expression Charter and the RISE Bookselling programme.
From Monday, the programme moved entirely to the Guadalajara Expo, the main venue of the FIL and the backdrop of the rest of the fair. As part of the EU’s guest of honour strand of activities, the European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL), co-organized by EIBF and FEP (the Federation of European Publishers) contributed to the programme with several discussions with international authors awarded with the prize over the years. All these sessions reinforced the diversity of European voices that has defined the ethos of the award since its inception and were a great platform for the authors to have their work presented to a Spanish-speaking audience.
All these discussions were moderated by the Spanish author Jacobo Bergareche, Special Mention in the 2022 EUPL, who was joined by the following authors:
Monday 27 November: Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin (Ireland, EUPL 2022), Stavros Christodoulou (Cyprus, EUPL 2020)
Tuesday 28 November: Kallia Papadaki (Greece, EUPL 2017), Tatiana Țîbuleac (Romania, EUPL 2017), Jana Beňová (Slovakia, EUPL 2012)
Wednesday 29 November: Carolina Schutti (Austria, EUPL 2015), Isabelle Wéry (Belgium, EUPL 2013), Nikos Chryssos (Greece, EUPL 2019), Haska Shyyan (Ukraine, EUPL 2019), Jacek Dukaj (Poland, EUPL 2009)
To round up the participation in the International Booksellers Forum, Álvaro Martínez was part of a panel devoted to different bookselling networks and associations from around the world, joined by representatives from Colombia (ACLI), Mexico (RELI), Peru (APLI) and France (AILF). This session offered a very insightful dialogue, allowing to understand the challenges that booksellers in different regions face and paving the way for further cooperation between networks from all over the world towards the goal of bringing the sector forward.
All in all, this was a unique opportunity for EIBF, from which surely new routes of collaboration will stem.