Chile at Cuba’s Book Fair

By IRINA ECHARRY,  photos by CARIDAD

HAVANA TIMES, February 17- Chile is the guest country at the 18th edition of the International Book Fair taking place in Havana. There are more than a few people who hope to revive memories of past years when many Chileans came to live in Cuba in the 1970s.

Cuba’s International Book Fair 2009
Cuba’s International Book Fair 2009

Who didn’t suffer with the news of the disappeared or tortured by the Pinochet dictatorship? Who didn’t know a Chilean or at least some verse by Neruda by heart? This year’s fair is a chance for many to get a closer look at that country’s literature.

Cuba’s International Book Fair 2009
Cuba’s International Book Fair 2009

In the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress where the fair is taking place through Feb. 22, there’s a pavilion dedicated to books from the South American nation. Anthologies of Chilean poets, philosophy, children’s books with beautiful designs, traditions and legends, computer studies and homosexuality are some of the topics.

Cuba’s International Book Fair 2009
Cuba’s International Book Fair 2009

Of course the bibliography of Salvador Allende is present including his political life and friendship with Cuba. A segment of the public comes to buy and those without money to browse.

Verses of great poets decorate the pavilion: Huidobro, Jose Donoso, Pedro Prado, Jorge Teiller. All known and admired in Cuba.

There’s also a special place dedicated to children where Nobel Literature Prize Laureate Gabriela Mistral is remembered and her illusion of weaving a circle on the seashore where all children clasp hands. There are colorful cushions on the floor, creating a pleasant area for drawing, singing, playing, reading or listening to stories.

Cuba’s International Book Fair 2009
Cuba’s International Book Fair 2009

You can also find special books like Victor, un canto inconcluso, (Victor an unfinished song) about Victor Jara written by his partner Joan Jara. There is also Decimas de Violeta Parra (Verses by Violteta Parra) and Libro Mayor de Violeta Parra by her daughter Isabel Parra.

A concert in honor of Victor Jara and Violeta Parra closed the second night of the book fair. Although the public that attends the fair is varied in interests, the majority enjoyed the music during a brilliant sunset with the light changing little by little to the voices of Patricio Anabalon, Duo Karma, Marta Campos and others. Songs like Amanda or Volver a los 17 are always welcome here.

Click on the thumbnails to see all the photos in the  International Book Fair 2009 gallery



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