by Helen Ladrón de Guevara Cox
The Book Fair
The largest Spanish language book fair in the world takes place in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico. Each year, the fair exhibits books and carries on its activities at Expo Guadalajara, the largest convention centre in Mexico, located in the southern part of the city. The structure has 119, 000 square metres of space. (http://www.expoguadalajara.mx/expo_guadalajara/expo_guadalajara.html)
From 25th November to December 2nd, 2017, people gathered to learn about new book titles, meet with writers and participate in a variety of academic conferences related to the culture of the book, libraries, information, communication and other related fields. The fair included recognition ceremonies for outstanding authors, librarians, book collectors, poets, journalists and related professionals and daily cultural events with live music, theatre, art exhibitions and other events provided by the guest country. Attendance exceeded 814,800 people.
The most outstanding event at the Fair is the Opening Ceremony where the winner of the FIL Literary Prize in Romance Languages (Premio FIL de Literatura en Lenguas Romances) (https://bit.ly/2rp8gOv) is recognized and receives the amount of US$100,000. In 2017, the winner of the international competition was the French writer Emmanuel Carrère (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmanuel_Carr%C3%A8re).
The Madrid Pavilion
The thirty-first Guadalajara book fair in December 2017 featured the city of Madrid, Spain. The space highlighted in this blog is the Madrid Pavilion that resembled an amphitheatre. The pavilion was designed by the Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza (http://www.campobaeza.com/) and took the form of a tall cylinder painted black on the outside with an inscribed phrase that read: Ganarás la Luz (You will gain the Light). The slogan is the title of an outstanding work by the Spanish poet, León Felipe. León Felipe has been considered by scholars to be included in the generation of year 27. He left Spain in 1938 and began a voluntary exile in Mexico, where he died (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le%C3%B3n_Felipe).
The interior of the pavilion displayed pure white bright light and presented a fabulous sight. The inside of the cylinder resembled a bullring with uprising bleachers and had several purposes. The primary one was for the Mexican audience to have an encounter with Spanish authors. It was also intended to provide a more relaxed atmosphere with book stacks to exhibit and sell books published in Spain and to present a more intimate space within the convention centre for book presentations and writers to speak about their literary work and more interestingly to hold debates that stimulated interaction with the public.
Librarians attending the Book Fair noted a resemblance of the design to the Stockholm Public Library designed by Gunnar Asplund.
The Madrid Pavilion was an outstanding success for reading and enjoyment of books from Spain at the thirty-first Guadalajara International Book Fair.
Helen Ladrón de Guevara Cox is Chief Advisor, Grand Centre of Library and Information Services, New State of Jalisco Public Library, Mexico. Helen is a teacher, graduate and Master of History at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico. She received a master’s degree in library science from the State University of New York and was the founding director of the Jalisco Historical Archive, and the first woman director of the Institute of Libraries of the University of Guadalajara. A recent project has been the development of the master plan for the new public library of the state of Jalisco. In 2017, Helen was awarded the Jalisco Prize in the workplace. Helen is a corresponding member of the Standing Committee of the IFLA Library Buildings and Equipment Section. firstname.lastname@example.org