Guadalajara Book Fair is the second largest book fair in the world hosting writer’s from around the globe. This year due to the pandemic, it has been decided to hold the fair virtually.
Here is the news from the Guadalajara Book Fair:
On the recommendation of the University of Guadalajara Covid-19 health authorities and lacking the conditions for holding a face-to-face physical event, the 34th edition of the Guadalajara International Book Fair will become a virtual event from November 28 to December 6. This edition will feature literary, academic and scientific dissemination seminars as well as a Bookstore Platform and a number of activities for publishing industry professionals in virtual format. The full program of activities will be available at the end of October.
Raúl Padilla López, FIL president, said at a press conference that “2020 has been a difficult year in all areas of public life, a year filled with contrasts. On the one hand, we will happily and proudly receive the Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities on October 16, while on the other hand we confront the year of the pandemic, one that has imposed new ways for us to relate to one another and whose repercussions have also affected the entire book chain.”
The conference was chaired by Ricardo Villanueva Lomelí, rector of the University of Guadalajara who in his welcoming remarks explained that the state of Jalisco “has had a controlled management of the pandemic” thanks to the work carried out by the University’s Covid-19 health response team. At the same time, he expressed his unconditional support for FIL Guadalajara. Other attending dignitaries included Juan Luis Arzoz Arbide and Alejandro Ramírez, president and director respectively of the Mexican National Book Chamber (CANIEM); FIL President Raúl Padilla López and Marisol Schulz Manaut, FIL’s director. Ahmed Al Ameri, president of the Sharjah Book Authority and this year’s ostensible Guest of Honor sent a pre-recorded video greeting.
The University’s Covid-19 health advisors, pandemic data analysis and projections, restrictions on organizing massive events and the limits placed on international travel for key industry players made cancellation a reality. “Above all, the essential obligation to protect the health of our visitors, participants and exhibitors led us to make the difficult decision of transferring FIL’s content and programs to the virtual sphere this year,” explained Padilla Lopez.
Founded in 1987 by the University of Guadalajara, FIL has been held annually at Expo Guadalajara. Last year more than 828,266 visitors, 800 authors, 20,000 book professionals and 2,417 publishing houses from 48 countries took part in the fair featuring India as Guest of Honor. “We are convinced that FIL will continue to be a reading festival, a hallmark for Guadalajara and Mexico, as well as a cultural reference throughout the world in virtual format” Padilla Lopez added.
Director Marisol Schulz Manaut stated that the FIL Organizing Committee “has worked like never before. From the beginning, the team developed three possible scenarios for this year’s edition, but she recognized that the decision to cancel, though sensible and responsible, “Is painful for the whole team.” She highlighted the importance of attending FIL virtually since this will contribute to supporting the publishing industry. “Beyond its importance in supporting the publishing industry, FIL is a great book festival.”
FIL 34 Fair can be accessed through the Fair’s website and its social networks, as well as through Channel 44 and other public media in Mexico and Latin America. In addition to conversations and conferences by leading literary figures, content created especially for online dissemination is being planned to offer a more intimate view of some thirty Latin American authors by featuring tours of their personal libraries. FIL Children will offer ten online workshops repeated several times during the nine days of FIL. Children will receive at home a box – FIL Niños emblem – with materials for them to work remotely in the workshops. In the coming days FIL will reveal the dynamics of participation in this and other programs.
As for book professionals, FIL will offer free tools to support 2019 and 2020 registered exhibitors. The Book Market will allow readers to access titles of the publishing houses that usually participate in FIL, through their physical and online stores or bookstores via FIL’s website (www.fil.com.mx). The FIL Business Platform will allow professionals to access panels, statistics and information related to the publishing industry. A live catalog of available copyrights and a directory of agents, publishers and other players in the book chain will be available and allow all to trade with their peers in other countries.
CANIEM President Juan Luis Arzoz reiterated that Mexican publishers will always support FIL Guadalajara, for the benefit of its members. He remarked that a virtual FIL has some advantages, because it will be “an enriching experience for all editors and will allow them to continue playing a role”. For his part, Rector Ricardo Villanueva Lomelí acknowledged that “the Mexican and global publishing industry worldwide is being hit hard”, but reiterated that the 2019 purchase of 68 million pesos of books for the University library network made a year ago from FIL Guadalajara exhibitors will not only be maintained for 2020, but alternatives will be sought to increase book purchases for the coming years. “We know that the publishing industry is suffering and the University wants to do its part to help.”