Chile’s premier literary event puts the spotlight on technology

The two-week festival in Santiago will have a special focus on e-books and the nature of reading in the digital age.

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Around 400 local and international authors will join thousands of book lovers in Chile’s capital at the end of October for the country’s premier literary event.

The annual Santiago International Book Fair is also expected attract up to 700 publishing houses form around the world who will showcase their major titles on the main exhibition floor.

But it’s not all about ink and paper. Now in its 31st year, the book fair will have a special focus on e-books with an exhibition room devoted to digital literature and a debate about the effects of modern technology on reading habits. The debate will feature Amazon Kindle’s Latin American executive director, Pedro Huerta, and Pablo Arrieta, a Colombian internet guru and an expert on authors’ rights in the online age.

The world’s leading tablet manufacturers will also be on hand to demonstrate the capabilities of the latest e-readers.

This year’s festival will have more than 500 cultural events such as theater performances, workshops, exhibitions, film screenings, round table discussions and book launches as well as a particular focus on the literature of Bolivia, this year’s guest of honor nation.

Attendees will be able to to experience Bolivian culture firsthand, with a series of dance performances and workshops, a mini-film festival, a photographic display and an exhibition of textiles from the Andean nation to Chile’s north.

Another highlight of the event is an open discussion on narrative form in Latin America featuring a panel of emerging and recognized authors from across the region.

Organizers have also arranged a tribute to Chilean journalist and author José Miguel Varas, who died in September.

The Santiago International Book Fair runs from October 28 to November 13 at the Estación Mapocho Cultural Center in the heart of the city.

The exhibition hall will be open from 2-10pm (Mon-Thu) and 12-10pm (Fri-Sun). General admission is CLP1,500 (US$2.90) from Monday to Thursday and CLP 2,000 (US$3.90) on Fridays and weekends. Students prices are CLP1,000 (US$1.95) from Monday to Thursdays and CLP1,500 (US$2.90) on Fridays and weekends. Children under 12 have free entry.