Mexican book fair opens with a Portuguese touch


With three Nobel Prizes and two Cervantes Prizes among its honors, the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) is ready to open Saturday with a big celebration of literature in which the guest-of-honor country Portugal will play an important part.

From Nov. 24 to Dec.2, around 800 authors and 20,000 publishing industry professionals will enter Expo Guadalajara, which covers 34,000 sq. meters (366,000 sq. feet) of exhibition space, and which in this 32nd edition will once again be a magnet for book-lovers.

Under the slogan "The future is a new dawning of the past" by writer Teixeira de Pascoaes, Portugal bursts into the western Mexican state of Jalisco to lead a program that combines the traditional with the very latest.

Jose Saramago (1922-2010) will have a special niche in the program, with his widow Pilar del Rio taking part in the debates in which his political ideas and the influence of his literature on later generations will be discussed.

Outstanding among the authors from Portugal will be Antonio Lobo Antunes, who will engage in a chat with Colombia's Laura Restrepo while presenting his book "No Es Medianoche Quien Quiere." Then Lidia Jorge will take part in a discussion of literature and movies, and Goncalo M. Tavares will be interviewed in the guest country's pavilion.

This year the FIL, considered the top publishing event in Spanish, will feature famous names like the Turkish Nobel in Literature Orhan Pamuk.

In the Science section, the US Nobel in Physics George F. Smoot will head a conference on gravitational waves, while Mexico's Nobel in Chemistry Mario Molina will do the same for a discussion on climate change.

Another noteworthy figure on the program is Uruguayan poet Ida Vitale, recently named winner of the 2018 Cervantes Prize and who will receive this year's FIL Prize for Literature in Romance Languages.

Another is Nicaragua's 2017 Cervantes Prize winner Sergio Ramirez, who will talk about the validity of the political thought of the Mexican Carlos Fuentes 90 years from the time he was born.

FIL Director Marisol Schulz told EFE that while literature continues to be FIL's main point of interest, "little by little" it has begun to diversify.

For example, this year it will also discuss certain current talking points like "fake news" and the #MeToo movement.

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