Global literature

Latin America’s bookworms head to Chile’s biggest book fair

The 32nd International Book Fair Santiago will open its doors on Thursday, bringing together over three hundred authors at Centro Cultural Estación Mapocho. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 Category: Daily life - Culture
The International Book Fair Santiago is organized by the Chilean Chamber of Books. Photo courtesy of The International Book Fair Santiago is organized by the Chilean Chamber of Books. Photo courtesy of Cámara Chilena del Libro / Facebook.

The Feria del Libro Santiago (Santiago International Book Fair) will open its doors in Chile’s capital for the 32nd time this Thursday, allowing literature fans to read and hear about the latest work from both Chilean writers and authors the world over.


First started as a national book fair in 1981 by the mayor of Santiago, the event began including books from around the world in 1990 and is now widely regarded as one of the most important international book fairs in Latin America. Last year’s fair saw over 200,000 visitors, and this year’s installment will be opened by the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa.


Among this year’s star attractions from abroad is Spanish novelist and journalist Julia Navarro, who will be reading from her international bestselling novel Dime Quién Soy (Tell Me Who I Am). There will also be readings from award winning Spanish philosopher Fernando Savater, Spanish-Argentinian poet Andrés Neuman, Mexican writer and journalist Juan Villoro, and the prolific Argentine writer and translator Alberto Manguel.


A dozen Chilean authors will be giving readings at the event, including Jorge Edwards, Chilean writer, journalist, and diplomat.


Edwards is one of three Chileans to have been awarded the Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious award in Spanish language literature. His latest collection of memoirs, La Casa de Dostoievsky (The House of Dostoievsky), won the Premio Planeta-Casa de América award, one of the most lucrative literary prizes in the world. Among other topics, the book discusses his childhood, his training as a writer in Chile, and his interactions with the famous Chilean poets Pablo Neruda and Enrique Lihn.


Well-known Chilean author Roberto Brodsky will present his novel Veneno (Venom), and other Chilean writers will include Patricio Fernández with La Calle Me Distrajo (The Street Distracted Me), Fernando Villegas with Apokalypsis, and Pedro Peirano with the comic El Club de los Juguetes Perdidos (The Lost Toys Club).


The theme of the fair this year is “New American Dialogue” and authors will focus on topics surrounding the varied social movements across Latin America. In this regard, Chilean socialist Alberto Mayol will be locked in a debate with international relations expert Raúl Sohr titled “Chile: A Model Questioned.”


The fair runs October 25 through November 11 at the Centro Cultural Estación Mapocho in Santiago. General entry is US$3 (CLP1,500) Monday through Friday and US$5 (CLP2,500) on weekends and holidays. For more information, visit the fair’s website

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