Culture on display
Chile guest of honor at international book fair in Guadalajara
‘King of bolero’ Lucho Gatica honored and Pablo Neruda inspires menu as spotlight shines on Chile at Spanish speaking world’s largest celebration of literature.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Inside the Chilean pavillion at Guadalajara
For the second time Chile is the guest of honor at the Feria Internacional del Libro Guadalajara, the biggest book fair in Hispanic Literature, which runs from November 24 to December 2.
Chilean artists have a long-standing connection with Mexico, a fact highlighted by organizers at Guadalajara.
“Chile’s participation in the Guadalajara International Book Fair strengthens the historic ties of brotherhood among these two nations and at the same time is an invitation to discover and learn about Chile in all its complexity and charm,” the official website reads.
In an “open house” built of books and designed by Santiago design company DAW, the Chilean pavilion has displayed not only the best of Chilean literature, but also food, music, and culture, to the rest of the world.
Literally among works of Chilean greats, like antipoet Nicanor Parra, guests have been invited to dine on a new menu designed by chef Carlo Von Mühlenbrock. Inspired by Pablo Neruda, the Menú Nerudiano features fine Chilean wines and sea-foods, such as caldillo de congrio, a dish immortalized in an ode by the Nobel prize winning poet.
But perhaps the highlight so far from the Chilean pavilion was the awarding of singer Luis Enrique Gatica Silva, better known as Lucho Gatica, with the Orden al Mérito Pablo Neruda, the highest award given out by Chile’s ministry of culture.
“He has left an indelible mark on Chilean music and has also represented, perhaps like no one else, the name of our country to the world,” said Culture Minister Luciano Cruz-Coke, upon handing out the award to a man known as the “king of bolero.”
Upon accepting the honor Gatica emotionally recalled his meeting with Pablo Neruda, also in Mexico, when he asked the poet to sign thirty books, which were later robbed.
“Now I only have Canto General signed by him,” said Gatica, “in which he drew a heart, with an arrow. The heart was her, my wife. I am the arrow, and below, he wrote Pablo Neruda.”