Colombian literature takes center stage at Liber Book Fair in Spain

Colombia will be the guest of honor at the Liber 2022 International Book Fair, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary from October 5 to 7 at the Gran Vía de la Fira de Barcelona.

This international book celebration, which expects 7,000 participants, will bring together 300 exhibitors from 12 countries and facilitate business meetings between agents and publishers from more than 60 countries, including Poland, Italy, Colombia, the United States , Germany, Kuwait and Iran.

As a special guest, Colombia will present its most recent works. The country’s delegation will have a central stand where 81 publishing houses will be represented and present a sample of their catalog of themes, styles and new names among their greatest works.

With his participation in LiberSouth American country seeks to identify export opportunities through business meetings, present actions aimed at marketing, translating and promoting books by Colombian publishers and authors abroad, such as the “Reading Colombia” program, and sharing knowledge on the dynamics of Colombian publishing market. To this end, he has prepared several sessions that have been incorporated into Liber’s professional conference program.

The 30 titles that make up the catalog of the “Reading Colombia” 2022 will also be available on its Liber stand. It includes works by authors such as Andrea Mejía, Jorge Orlando Melo, Miguel Mendoza Luna, Carolina Sanín, Simón Posada, Gilmer Mesa and Darío Jaramillo Agudelo, among others.

There will also be a space for culture. The Colombian Embassy in Spain, in collaboration with the Colombian Book Chamber and Casa América Catalunya, is organizing two activities open to the public on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Gabriel García Márquez in the Barcelona library that bears his name. There is a concert-reading on October 5, during which leaders and other personalities from the world of publishing and culture will read excerpts from the author’s works, interspersed with musical pieces performed by students from the Music Conservatory of the Liceo de Barcelona; and a literary contest, “El coronel sí tiene quien le escriba”, encouraging Gabo readers to write a letter to the mythical character in García Márquez’s novel.

“The internationalization of our literature inevitably passes through Spain, whose publishing industry has a strong foreign projection that has traditionally contributed to giving visibility to our authors“, said the executive president of the Colombian Chamber of the Book (CCL), Emiro Aristizábal, who also pointed out that “Colombian publishing production is consolidating and growing gradually from year to year, while the country has a very strong network of independent bookstores and chains”.

In 2021, 20,365 new titles were published, according to data from the CCL and the ISBN Agency in Colombia.

Special attention will be given to the Bogotá Book Fair (FilBo), the Colombian book and reading promotion event with the greatest international recognition and a gateway to other Latin American markets. Spain will be FilBo’s guest of honor in 2025.

On the other hand, the exports of the Colombian publishing sector reached 54,802 million pesos (about 12 million euros) in 2021, with an increase of almost 62% compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, sales in the domestic market totaled 670,442 million pesos (about 154 million euros), according to the CCL.

During Liber 22, 130 speakers will analyze trends and issues in the sector. Issues covered include book marketing and promotion, digitization, green publishing and sustainability.

Taking into account that last year the exports of the Spanish book sector fell slightly by 0.7% due to international restrictions due to Covid-19, Liber 2022 proposed to “reverse” the situation.

The organizers estimate that a “good” edition of the fair can generate between 100 and 110 million dollars (at the current dollar-euro exchange rate) in book exports.

“Liber22 represents a third of the sector’s total exports”, said the executive director of the Spanish Federation of Publishers (FGEE), Antonio María Ávila, during a press conference before the opening of the fair.

On the occasion of the fair, the Liber Awards will also be given in recognition of the career and work carried out by various people and entities linked to the world of literature.

Author Pere Gimferrer will be honored for his work as an editor, writer Soledad Puértolas, director Benito Zambrano and the film’s producers Pan of lime with seeds of amapola and journalist Ignacio Elguero, for his work at the head of Radio Nacional de España (RNE).

The list of winners is completed by the Ramon Llull bookstore in Valencia and the historical library of the IES Isabel La Católica secondary school in Madrid.

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