Chile is known as one of the most literary countries in Latin America – if not in the world. It gave birth to Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda, both Nobel Laureates, and its capital, Santiago, has been listed as a top destination for book lovers.
So it’s no surprise that Chile will be this year’s guest of honor at the 26th annual International Book Festival (FIL) in Guadalajara, Mexico. The most important of its kind in the Spanish language, the festival will run from November 24 to December 2.
Some 350 participants will represent the country’s various cultural aspects, with everything from photography to Mapuche silverwork. The delegation made up of critics, editors, scientists, playwrights, musicians and actors will be lead by 70 of Chile’s most important writers, among them Jorge Edwards, Antonio Skármeta and Alejandro Jodorowsky.
The exhibit will be housed in a 10,000 square-foot pavilion displaying over 20,000 books from nearly 80 publishers—many of them independent—and the chance to meet some of Chile’s most renowned authors, including Raúl Zurita, Hernán Rivera Letelier, Diamela Eltit, Alberto Fuguet, Alejandro Zambra, Álvaro Bisama and Germán Marín.
“Today, as we strive to become a developed country, we also have to understand that culture is a way to change the value of what we export, of how Chile understands itself, and this showcase is an opportunity for our literature and our country,” commented Minister of Culture Luciano Cruz-Coke.
Some of the country’s most prominent musicians will also be on hand to give the festival a rock vibe. Los Jaivas, Los Tres, Francisca Valenzuela, Los Bunkers, and Javiera Mena are just a few of the groups set to perform this year.
Though the 97-year-old “antipoet” Nicanor Parra won’t be able to attend due to health concerns, he will be sending a special exhibit of his “artifacts”, visual poems that are often as ironic as they are intriguing. Parra, considered one of Chile’s greatest living poets, was last year’s recipient of the Spanish language’s highest honor, the Cervantes Award.