29 International Book Fair winds up in Havana

The 29th International Book Fair -FILCuba 2020- concluded on Sunday in the Cuban capital with dance, music and theater shows. At the most important Cuban publishing event, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam stood out as the Guest of Honor Country, which also celebrated the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Caribbean island nation.

Some 300 guests from more than 40 countries participated at FILCuba 2020, whose 29th edition paid tribute to the legacy of National Social and Humanistic Sciences winner, essayist Ana Cairo, as well as that of 2005 National Theater Award laureate, playwright Eugenio Hernández Espinosa. The countries with the largest representation were Spain, Mexico, Peru and, for the first time, Guatemala.

The event's Havana headquarters, San Carlos de La Cabaña Fortress, was even visited by Argentina’s Vice President, Cristina Fernández, who launched her book Sincéramente (Sincerely), considered a bestseller for less than a year of publication for the first time outside her country. Cuban President, Miguel Díaz-Canel, and other government authorities attended the presentation of the Argentine vice president, the first woman to become president in Argentina and hte mother of two children submitted, as well as herself, to a persistent media, political and judicial persecution, today known as law fare. Fernandez thanked the Cuban government and doctors for the care given to her daughter Florencia Kirchner, who has been admitted to a Cuban hospital for health problems since March 2019. The Argentine Vice President said that Cuban medicine and the humanity of Cuban doctors have earned the fame they have.

As part of FILCuba 2020, the National Prizes for Literature, Design, Editing, History, the Nicolás Guillén for poetry and the novel, short story and the Alejo Carpentier for essay and others were presented. The 29th edition also celebrated the centennial of the birth of Cuban writer, poet and essayist Eliseo Diego, the 25th anniversary of the Fernando Ortiz Foundation and the 80th birthday of Miguel Barnet, honorary president of the Cuban Writers and Artists Association -UNEAC. Throughout 10 days, Pabellón Cuba, the ALBA Cultural House, the José Martí National Library, the University of Havana, the Dulce María Loynaz Center, the Center for Studies on Cuban National Hero José Martí and the Havana based Casa de las Americas cultural institutions worked as collateral headquarters.

In addition to exchanges between editors, translators, designers and illustrators, and book presentations, poetry readings, music, theater and dance shows were held.In general, the event will wind up on April 12 in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, after having extended its activities to most of the country's provinces, with the prospects of offering more than four thousand titles throughout the country and over four million books.

Edited by Damian Donestevez
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Díaz-Canel attends the opening of Book Fair in Cuba

Havana, Feb 7 (Prensa Latina) Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel attended the opening last evening of the 29th International Book Fair (FIL), dedicated to Vietnam, to Ana Cairo, National Social Science Award, and to playwright, Eugenio Hernández.

The message of the Cuban Presidency on Facebook disclosed an image of the inauguration of the literary event attended by other authorities.

Previously, the first vice president of the Propaganda and Education Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Vo Van Phuong, said at a press conference her country would bring about 700 titles and about two thousand copies.

The books will address the culinary art, the potential of Vietnam, its landscapes and beauties and the historical relations with Cuba, a country that has provided solidarity support to it for six decades.

Precisely to celebrate the 60-year-old ties, a panel will be dedicated to the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, headquarters of the FIL in Havana.

FIL will remain open until February 16, in Havana, with the participation of more than 200 guests from 44 countries.

Then it will be extended to the different provinces of the island until its culmination, on April 12, in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba.

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Cuba and Vietnam strengthen friendship at Int'l Book Fair

Havana, Feb 6 (Prensa Latina) Cuban letters acknowledge the transcendence of 60 years of relations between Cuba and Vietnam in 16 books to be launched at Havana's International Book Fair (FIL).

Vietnam is the guest of honor at the 29th edition of the event, so several books on history, politics and culture are dedicated to the Asian country, said Sandra Sarmiento, vice president of the Cuban Book Institute (ICL).

In that regard, Editorial Abril printed a book on Fidel Castro's visit to Vietnam and another title on relations between the two countries.

Sarmiento noted the reprint of Jose Marti, Un Paseo por la Tierra de los Anamitas (Jose Marti, A Stroll through the Land of the Vietnamese), the presentation of Diario Dang Thuy Tram and the book of poems Cuaderno Paralelo, by Roberto Fernandez Retamar.

In addition to diplomatic relations, Vietnam and Cuba signed an agreement on editorial cooperation more than a decade ago, which will be extended to other agencies after the signing of deals between the Vietnamese institutions Kim Dong, Mundo, Nha Nam, Anfabok, and the Cuban publishing house Gente Nueva, the ICL and the Ministry of Culture.

According to the first vice president of the Propaganda and Education Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Vo Van Phuong, nearly 700 titles deal about Vietnam's traditions, history, arts, literature, cuisine, economic potential, landscapes, beauties and ethnic minorities.

Vietnam's presence at the International Book Fair, to be held from February 6-16, is the first event that will take place until December in Cuba to celebrate the establishment of diplomatic relations.

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Book on Fidel Castro Presented at Cuban City Fair

Sancti Spiritus,  (Prensa Latina) Book ''Fidel in Sancti Spiritus. Cronologia Comentada'', of a collective of authors, was presented on Thursday in this province's chapter of the 28th International Book Fair that will culminate next Sunday.

In the evening, historian Barbara Perez stressed that this is an extremely important text to capture 'the historical memory of the province of Sancti Spíritus and its relation with Commander in Chief Fidel Castro (1926-2016)'.

The writer also described this book as a chronology of the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution walking through this territory, whose head is about 350 kilometers east of Havana.

He explained that the work deals with Fidel's stay during the Freedom Caravan up to other moments, including those in which he was not physically present but in which he kept in constant contact with the central province and cited examples.

At dawn on January 6, 1959, as part of the Freedom Caravan, Fidel went to the town of Sancti Spiritus.

What is related to the so-called fight against bandits, which arose after the revolutionary triumph of January 1959 and the operations carried out to fight them, appear in this book, he said.

It covers from the political and social point of view to the economic one as when he visited Trinidad, in the south coast, declared by the UNESCO in 1988 Cultural Patrimony of the Humanity next to the Valley of the Ingenios.

In the Ancon Peninsula, located in that area, said the presenter, the Commander in Chief had the vision of a future tourism potential.

Perez explained to the audience, mostly young people, that the volume also includes fragments of comments, anecdotes and speeches, such as the one offered on July 26, 1986, when Sancti Spiritus hosted the central act for the National Rebellion Day.

'It is profusely documented and is Fidel's imprint and work in the Spiritual province,' he concluded.

The 28th International Book Fair began in this central city last Wednesday, dedicated to renowned Cuban writer Eduardo Heras León and has Algeria as its guest of honor.

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A few glimpses of the Book Fair in Havana

The International Book Fair, Cuba 2019, has concluded in Havana. As a unique epilogue, the annual event now begins its journey to 15 other cities in the country, to culminate April 14 in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba.

During this 28th edition, the ancient San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress, the fairgrounds for the last several editions, hosted dozens of book launches, colloquiums, conferences, awards, stands, and bookshops.

Granma International offers readers a few snapshots to give an idea of the happenings there.

- Eduardo Heras León: writer, journalist, editor, literary and ballet critic; 2014 National Prize for Literature winner, to whom the Fair is dedicated. Along with the colloquium in Nicolás Guillén Hall on the life and work of someone who is widely known as “Chino” Heras, readers were gratified to find new editions of a number of his most important works, including La guerra tuvo seis nombres and Los pasos en la hierba, as well as new titles like El libro de los elogios, El libro de las entrevistas, and El libro de las presentaciones.

- Mirta Yañez: The Fair honored this writer, philologist, teacher, and member of the Cuban Academy of Language with the 2018 National Prize for Literature.

Considered one of the most important intellectuals of her generation, Mirta Yañez (Havana, 1947) has excelled in practically all genres she cultivates: poetry, stories, novels, and essays. Among her narrative titles, outstanding are the novel Sangra por la herida; short story collections Todos los negros tomamos café, La Habana es una ciudad bien grande, and El diablo son las cosas; and poetry to be found in Un solo bosque negro, and Las visitas y otros poemas.

She is one of the principal investigators of the female voice in Cuban literature and the co-author of the anthology Estatuas de sal, with poet Marilyn Bobes.

- 500th Anniversary of Havana’s founding: The anniversary led to the publication of more than a dozen books with Havana themes, a program headed by the City Historian’s publisher Ediciones Boloña. The novel titles were presented in the Plaza de Las Armas, in the heart of city’s central historic district, a World Heritage Site.

Azzedine Mihouni, Algerian Minister of Culture, presented his novel El juramento de Atocha at the fair, which featured Algeria as the guest Country of Honor. Photo: Juvenal Balán

This is how readers got their hands on classic works like the novel Cecilia Valdés or La Loma del Ángel, by Cirilo Villaverde; the anthology Crónicas habaneras, by Alejo Carpentier, who Graziella Pogolotti, the title’s presenter noted “contributed to the construction of the Havana myth,” and Cuadernos de historia habanera, volumes IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX and X, by Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, Havana City Historian from 1935 until 1964. The first three volumes released in 2018 are now joined by seven more, bearing the notebooks numbered 11 through 36.

- Two publishing events: The re-issue by Letras Cubanas publishing house of Oppiano Licario, the unfinished novel by José Lezama Lima; and Rayuela, the uncommon work of Julio Cortázar, as part of the Casa de Las Américas’ Classics of Latin America collection.

Published for the first time in 1977, a year after Lezama death, the new edition of Oppiano Licario was presented, 40 years later, at the Dulce María Loynaz, Cultural Center, while Rayuela, with the study by Lezama Lima for the first edition, exactly half a century later, was celebrated at Casa de Las Américas headquarters.

- Algeria, Guest Country of Honor: Arriving with a delegation of 30 writers, the sister nation opened a beautiful pavilion displaying more than 200 works on their patrimony and history, plus children’s literature and novels.

Presented during the fair were 18 titles by Algerian authors in Spanish including the novels Tierra de mujeres, by Nassira Beyoula; El viento del sur, by Abdelhamid Benhadouga; Un mar sin gaviotas, by Djilali Kellas, and El juramento de Atocha by Azzedine Mihouni, now the country’s minister of Culture.

Mihouni’s book is a serious reflection on the phenomenon of collective violence, with episodes that continue to occur around the world, which the author hopes will be taken as a message “in favor of peace and the need to promote dialogue and understanding among peoples, since culture can build bridges.”

- The literary celebration in figures: 1,300 literary and artistic presentations; more than 80 lectures; some 50 panel discussions, 45 prizes and tributes; more than 100 poetry readings and 150 book launches, concerts, film screenings, and art exhibits.

During the Fair’s closing ceremony, February 17, Juan Rodríguez Cabrera, president of the Cuban Book Institute, reported that more than 4,000 titles and four million copies were made available to readers; the public purchased some

409,395 books, more than 5,000 more than were sold during last year’s edition.

A quote from the great Jorge Luis Borges serves to celebrate Cuban readers

“Let others boast of the pages they have written, I am proud of those that have been read.”

- Other prizes: The Paper Door, for the best titles published by the country’s 22 regional houses, was awarded to Las memorias vacías de Solange Bañuelos, by Maité Hernández-Lorenzo (Ediciones Matanzas); the Readers’ Prize, for the best-selling book of 2018 went to Cien Horas con Fidel, by Ignacio Ramonet (Editorial Nuevo Milenio and the Council of State publishing house); and the Mirrored Door, awarded by the José Martí National Library’s reading program, went to writer and journalist Marta Rojas, for El equipaje amarillo, the most requested book of 2018.

Cuban intellectual Miguel Barnet, winner of the 1994 National Prize for Literature, made an interesting reflection during the 11th edition of the Fair in Havana, which was dedicated to his works: “I believe that book fairs are growing in Cuba and around the world, because books cannot be replaced by anything, they establish an intimate, strong, igneous, erotic, and sensual bond with people that cannot occur with a cold screen.”

Despite the influence of novel and varied digital technologies and doomsday announcements, books are still desired. The 409,395 copies sold in La Cabaña February 7-17 can allow us a certain smile.

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International Book Fair in Cuba Breaks Several Records

Havana, Feb 18 (Prensa Latina) The organizers of the 28th International Book Fair (FIL) in Cuba are reporting on Monday the results with several statistics records.

At the closing of the event in Havana, its president, Juan Rodriguez Cabrera, reported that the audience acquired about 409,395 copies this year, 5,000 more than what was achieved in the previous event.

The participating record of countries was also broken by receiving more than 400 representatives from 48 nations and the attendance at the San Carlos de la Cabaña fortress, headquarters of FIL in Havana, exceeded 385,000 visitors, higher to 20,900 to 2018.

According to the official count, about 100,651 people attended the fair on Saturday, February 16.

The People's Democratic Republic of Algeria was the guest of honor during this fair. The country was represented by a delegation made up of more than 30 artists, panelists, editors and writers who exhibited not only literary works; but also music, photography and the cinema of the African nation.

The 28th edition of FIL paid tribute to Cuban writer Eduardo Heras Leon, National Literature Prize laureate (2014) and Edition (2001). It also celebrated the 500th anniversary of the founding of Havana.

According to the president of the event, the fair opened the E-Commerce Book in national currency, a service to be available throughout the country.

The fair will now be extended to the rest of the provinces until April 14, in eastern Santiago de Cuba, in an attempt to multiply its benefits.

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The Benefits about Reading a Book

As it is shown by a new study of the Yale University from the United States, which concluded that the reading habit improves the hope and quality of life.

In that research published by the Social Science and Medicine magazine, it was discovered that there was a direct relation among the people with a longer longevity and those ones with reading habits.

The information was recently delivered and pointed out that after asking more than three thousands and five hundred participants who were over 50 years old about their reading habits, the related data allowed dividing those readers into some groups: the ones who did not read anything and those ones who used to do it over three hours and a half.

The results of that research, which lasted 12 years, proved that those two groups that used to read surpassed two additional years the group that did not do it.

Canadian researches proved that those who ususally read have a wider vocabulary and that help to get to know the words' pronountiation.

Science unveiled the knowledge about reading and we do see that the scientists of the Emory University compared the readers´ brains and the non-readers´ ones in 2015 and they got the conclusion that those ones who keep the reading habit, while using their imagination for understanding and feeling the characters´ emotions are nicest, according to a published article.

The Benefits about Reading a Book

Other researchers proved that reading increases the capacity about detecting and understanding other people's emotions that is an essential skill for the complex social relations.

According to the research by Ph.D. Davis Lewis, who is the pioneer in the field of the neurology, reading reduce the stress levels up to a 68 % and it deeply reduces the heart rhythm in comparison with an outdoor walk as it reduces the stress levels up to a 42%.

Researchers, Alice Sulivan and Matt Brown from the Education Institute (OIE), could verify that children who used to read for pleasure achieved much better marks at the school than their classmates even in subjects such a mathematics. This was because of reading increases the skill about acquiring and processing information. The results were more visible among children who were from 10 to 16 years of age.

International studies also proved that the elderly people who often read and carry out mental exercises have a lesser chance to develop the Alzheimer disease, taking into account that an active brain improves its functions and the answer quickness.

Reading provides other important benefits that include improving the spelling, taking advantage of the free time and forgetting worries as well as providing a higher knowledge about the mother tongue.


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Ecuador: Guayaquil to Host 4th International Book Fair

Quito, Sep 4 (Prensa Latina) The Ecuadorian coastal city of Guayaquil will host the 4th International Book Fair, scheduled from September 5 to 9 at the Convention Center.

With Spain as the guest country, the event will be attended by six Spanish authors: Javier Sierra, Juan Manuel de Prada, Javier Moro, Elena Medel, Maria Elvira Roca Barea, Miguel Gane and Nerea Perez de las Heras, who will present their books and will participate in colloquiums.

More than 600 titles from major publishing houses and a selection from the publication service of Spanish Cooperation will be available at Spain's stand.

The fair will also be attended by the authors Carmen Boullosa and Julian Herbet (Mexico), Ariana Harwicz and Rocardo Liniers Siri (Argentina), Giuseppe Caputo (Colombia), Frank Baez (Dominican Republic) and Alberto Montt (Chile-Ecuador).

According to organizers, the main objective of the fair is to promote reading as a practice to train the personality and citizenship of Guayaquil residents, as well as attracting new regular readers.

In addition to the commercial fair, those visiting the Convention Center of Guayaquil will enjoy literary zones, areas for children and youths, contests and other activities.

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