The program seeks to promote writers from Barcelona, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, the region of Valencia and Andorra in the capital of Argentina; to improve the presence of Catalan literature in Latin America; and to strengthen the ties of cultural exchange between Barcelona and Buenos Aires. Barcelona will take a total of 78 guests to Buenos Aires, including authors writing in both Catalan and Spanish, illustrators, experts and artists. With the slogan ‘Barcelona, literary city’, the program includes a total of 120 activities, a large stand, a bookshop, three exhibitions and a concert featuring Sílvia Pérez Cruz at La Noche de la Feria. 40 Catalan publishers will participate in the Buenos Aires International Book Fair under the aegis of Barcelona’s stand.
On February 25th, the Saló de Cent hosted the presentation of the program and main figures in the project Barcelona, Guest of Honor at the 45th Edition of the Buenos Aires International Book Fair, which will be held in the capital of Argentina from 23rd April to 13th May. The presentation included speeches by the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau; the Secretary General of Culture of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Francesc Vilaró; the director of the Institut Ramon Llull (IRL), Iolanda Batallé; and the president of the Fundación El Libro, Maria Teresa Carbano. The Buenos Aires International Book Fair (IBF), which is held each year in the La Rural complex in Palermo, hosts more than 1,000 activities and one million visitors. With more than 45,000 square meters and almost 480 exhibitors, the fair attracts 12,000 professionals over the course of 3 weeks.
Barcelona will appear at the Buenos Aires IBF with a stand measuring 200 square meters, which will include a small auditorium and a large bookshop with a collection of 10,000 publications, where almost 700 titles by more than 350 authors will be displayed and sold.
Barcelona will bring a total of 78 guests to Buenos Aires, including 56 authors – writing in both Catalan and Spanish – and illustrators, 8 experts (booksellers, literary critics or journalists, among others) and 14 artists. They will all showcase the literary richness of both the city and Catalan literature in an ambitious program made up of 120 activities. Among them, the literary program includes 80 activities, the fair’s own professional program includes 20, and the remaining are being held in the city or are institutional activities.
Guest authors and experts are: Horacio Altuna, Sebastià Alzamora, Xavi Ayén, Josep Badal, Eva Baltasar, Maria Barbal, Max Besora, Aina Bestard, Paula Bonet, Rocío Bonilla, Oriol Canosa, Maite Carranza, Nora Catelli, Natalia Cerezo, Flavia Company, Teresa Colom, Jaume Copons, Edgardo Dobry, Joan Domènech, Najat El Hachmi, Marta Escudero, Pere Estupinyà, Laura Fernández, Manuel Forcano, Liliana Fortuny, Marina Garcés, Raül Garrigasait, Jordi Gràcia, Àngels Gregori, Ingrid Guardiola, Julià Guillamon, Gabriel Janer Manila, Gemma Lienas, Joan-Lluís Lluís, Héctor Lozano, Gabi Martínez, Laura Meseguer, Matías Néspolo, Bel Olid, Miki Otero, Alejandro Palomas, Josep Pedrals, Javier Pérez Andújar, Laura Perez Vernetti, Josep Piera, Begoña Pozo, Jaume Pont, Jordi Puntí, Pilar Rahola, Llucia Ramis, Antonio Ramirez, Maria Carme Roca, Albert Salvadó, Care Santos, Jordi Sierra i Fabra, Victoria Szpunberg, Isabel Sucunza, Clara Usón, Antònia Vicens, Antoni Vidal Ferrando, Sergio Vila-Sanjuán, Muriel Villanueva, Silvana Vogt and Carlos Zanón.
In the professional sphere, Barcelona’s participation in the Buenos Aires IBF should promote translations into Spanish of authors writing in Catalan and co-publications, and it is expected to improve the distribution mechanisms used by Catalan publishers. The Catalan Institute of Cultural Companies has commissioned the production and organization of the stand, which will host 40 Catalan publishers on the professional days.
Organized with the government of the City of Buenos Aires, on 27th April the ‘Noche de la Feria’ (Fair Night) will be held, the only time when the doors to the fair are open so that the public at large may enter free of charge. Buenos Aires’ citizens can enjoy a huge outdoor concert featuring the singer Sílvia Pérez Cruz accompanied by a slate of musicians from both shores of the Atlantic.
As part of the program, two exhibitions will be held within the fairgrounds and a third one in the city. Curated by Glòria Gorchs and Pep Molist from Clijcat, ‘Visit Barcelona in 32 Illustrations” will allow viewers to travel around Barcelona through the pages of illustrated books. The Fundació Ramon Llull and Julià Guillamon have planned the exhibition entitled ‘Catalan Literature in the World”. This same curator, working in conjunction with the Library Service of Buenos Aires and the Consortium of Libraries of Barcelona, has organized the exhibition entitled ‘Llibreria Catalònia, Editorial Sudamericana and Editorial Edhasa: Back-and-Forth Books’.
Barcelona’s participation in the 45th Buenos Aires International Book Fair is a project organized by the Barcelona Town Hall, the Institut Ramon Llull, the Catalan Institute of Cultural Companies of the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Fundación El Libro, with the support of the government of the Balearic Islands, the Generalitat Valenciana, the government of Andorra, the Fundació Ramon Llull, Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), the government of the City of Buenos Aires, the Catalan Publishers Guild and Editors.cat.
The Regional Minister of Culture, Laura Borràs, who was unable to attend the presentation, sent a message to all attendees: ‘I would have loved being here today at this press conference, but I had to catch a plane to fly to Brussels to uphold the importance of the word, of dialogue, which is what breaks down the barriers of ignorance and intolerance as well. This is why books are so important, and it is also why the fairs where we have the chance to export our outstanding literature, such as Buenos Aires, are so important. Buenos Aires is – and will be even more so after Barcelona’s invitation to the Book Fair – a bridge between cultures, between languages, between literatures.’
In the words of Iolanda Batallé, the director of the IRL: ‘Sometimes a single word changes your life. A toponym can change your life: Paris, New York, Tangier or Cadaqués … Each of these words has meant and means extraordinarily powerful things. Today one of these precious words is beckoning us, a toponym that inspires dreams: Buenos Aires. As a guest city, we have prepared almost three weeks’ worth of actions, gatherings, presentations and activities that will allow the Argentine and Catalan cultures to strengthen their bonds and engage in direct dialogue with each other.’
Francesc Vilaró, Secretary General of the Department of Culture, stressed that: ‘This invitation is true recognition of our literature and our publishing industry, not to mention a platform where we can claim our place as one of the most important publishing capitals in the world, as a country with a great deal of ambition and a creative and business drive which comes from our distant past and aims to go much further. Ours is a culture with the ability to innovate and attract talent from elsewhere, yet it is also highly capable of bringing our talent and our voice all over the world.’
The press conference included participants, institutions and organizations associated with Barcelona’s appearance in the Argentine capital.
The consul general, Alejandro Alonso Sainz, and the deputy consul, Mariel Cadenas, attended on behalf of the Consulate General and Promotion Centre of the Republic of Argentina in Barcelona. The representatives of the Barcelona Town Hall included Carina Mejías, president of C’s Municipal Group, and Mr Joan Subirats, Culture Commissioner. The services director of the Department of Culture, Josep Anton Mundó, and the director of Regional Cultural Services of Barcelona, Àngels Torra Ripoll, were in attendance from the Department of Culture.
FC Barcelona also wanted to participate, and it was represented by its spokesman, Josep Vives, as well as the director of Acción Cultural AC/E, Eduardo Fernández Palomares.
Other personalities from the literary world also attended the press conference, including the president and vice-president of Editors.cat, Montse Ayats and Joan Sala, and authors associated with the project like Liliana Fortuny, Bel Olid, Julià Guillamón, Jaume Copons among others. On behalf of the publishers, Patrici Tixis, president of the Catalan Publishers Guild; Ana Maria Macià from Clijcat; and Àngels Gregori from Catalan PEN also attended.
Buenos Aires Book Fair is the most important annual literary event in the Spanish speaking world.
From April 25 to May 13, 2019
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