Havana received another edition of the International Book Fair, this time dedicated to Vietnamese literature and to Cuban writers Ana Cairo and Eugenio Hernández Espinosa. Considered one of the nation’s most popular and important events, the meeting began its 29th edition in the Fortress of San Carlos de La Cabaña on February 6 and, for ten days, readers and the general public were able to share with their favorite writers and buy the books of their choice. The Fair continues its journey through Cuba and plans to offer more than four thousand titles and more than four million books, until April 12.
A total of 417 619 visitors attended La Cabaña, where more than 600 titles were presented and some 604 000 copies were purchased. Almost 300 guests from more than 40 countries participated in several literary actions that included meetings with Cuban readers and unpublished title presentations.
The most represented countries were Spain, Mexico, Peru and, for the first time, Guatemala joined as an exhibitor.
The investigation work by Cuban essayist Ana Cairo, National Prize for Social and Humanistic Sciences, and the legacy of playwright Eugenio Hernández, who won the National Theatre Prize in 2005, were honored throughout the program of the event.
Cairo, who died in 2019, was an outstanding intellectual, National Prize for Social Sciences, member of the Academy of History and the National Council of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba.
Graduated from a PHD in Philosophical Sciences and full professor at the University of Havana, Cairo developed an extensive investigative work leaving more than thirty articles, anthologies and books related mainly to the history of Cuba.
Meanwhile, Espinosa received the honor of his countrymen, who classified him as “a representative of art of popular origin.”
4000 titles and more than four million books
The author is considered one of the most important contemporary Cuban playwrights, creator of anthological works such as “María Antonia”, “Calixta Comité” and “Mi Socio Manolo”.
As part of the days of the Fair, the national prizes for Literature, Edition Design, History, the Nicolás Guillén poetry prize and the Alejo Carpentier novel, short story and essay prizes, among others, were also presented.
Centenary of the birth of the Cuban writer, poet and essayist Eliseo Diego, the 25th anniversary of the Fernando Ortiz Foundation and Miguel Barnet’s 80th birthday – Honorary President of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba – were also celebrated.
For 10 days, exchanges between publishers, translators, designers and illustrators as well as text presentations took place and poetry readings, music, theatre and dance performances were held.
After finishing the Havana chapter, the Fair continues its journey throughout Cuba with the forecast of offering more than four thousand titles and more than four million books, until April 12, in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba. However, we leave the most significant of this summer meeting to the reader.
Letters from Vietnam in the Caribbean
At the 29th edition of the Fair, Vietnam, the guest of honor of the event, came with a sample of the best of its art, represented by prestigious writers, a selection of its most important publishing houses and artists from other events.
The delegation presented a total of 16 titles from and about Vietnam, after an effort by the publishers and the Frederico Engels Printing Company of Cuba. At the same time, about 700 titles and more than two thousand copies arrived from the Asian nation.
The first day of the Fair was dedicated to glorifying the six decades of relations between the Caribbean island and that South-East Asian country.
The presentation of the text “Acta de Guerra” by Tran Mai Hanh, by the director of the Union of Writers publishing house, Nguyen Quang Thieu, as well as the presentation of a Vietnamese artistic show took place.
The program also included a meeting between writers from that Southeast Asian country and Cuba, as well as the presentation of the “Prison diary” by the president Ho Chi Minh, to whom a cultural exhibition was dedicated.
Cristina Fernández, a luxury presentation from Argentina to Cuba
Among the most important moments that occurred at the Fair was the presentation of the book “Sinceramente” by the Vice President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández.
The meeting in Havana was the event chosen to present the text for the first time outside Argentina, where, less than a year after it was published, it became a bestseller.
As Fernández revealed, her first experience as a writer allowed her verify that in reality books end up becoming independent from the one who writes them.
At the same time, she said that she did not intend to write an autobiographical book, something that she will do later, but she did want to tell what happened, not only to her, but to her country and the Argentinians after December 9, 2015, the day she left the position of President of the South American nation.
The President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, and other authorities of the island’s government, attended the presentation in the Nicolás Guillén hall in the Fortress of San Carlos de La Cabaña.
Leonardo Padura’s novels are back
Four novels by Cuban writer Leonardo Padura returned to the shelves, collected into two volumes entitled “Las cuatro estaciones”.
Under the seal of the publishing house of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, “Pasado Perfecto” and “Viento de Cuaresma”, included in the first volume of this release, were put on sale in this edition of the Fair.
For its part, the rest of this tetralogy of the police saga of his detective character Mario Conde, present in eight of the novels by the winner of the Princess of Asturias Award in 2015, came with the titles: “Máscaras” and “Paisaje de Otoño”, the latter republished almost a dozen times.
Padura, National Literature Award in 2012, thanked the support received from Ediciones Unión, a stamp that marked the publication of all his work on the island, whose effort led to the launch of this reissue project for four novels that more than a decade ago were not circulating in Cuba.
Meeting of Young Writers from Ibero-America and the Caribbean
The Meeting of Young Writers of Ibero-America and the Caribbean, which takes place every year in the collateral program of the Fair, celebrated on this occasion its 10th edition.
Writers from more than 10 countries in the area and from other continents gathered in order to find ways for knowledge and interrelation of cultures.
According to statements by Mexican publisher Jocelyn Pantoja, who arrived at the event for the first time in 2012, the meeting is a party for Latin America, an opportunity to live together and a rich area for dialogue, development and implementation of projects.
The young authors agreed on the need to have more media support to give great visibility to the project which each year sends a message to new generations and traces a path towards truths constantly questioned about the realities of Latin America.
The Meeting of Young Writers from Ibero-America and the Caribbean was created for promoting the literary work by young creators and each year includes an attractive program of conferences, symposiums and literary, theatrical and musical performances with notable representatives of the arts and letters from Cuba and the world.