Feria Internacional del Libro is one of the most celebrated and popular annual events in Buenos Aires, and this year it’s even more a special occasion because Buenos Aires has been appointed by UNESCO as the World Book Capital 2011. The Book Fair started yesterday and will go till May 9, 2011. I’ve decided not to repeat my laziness and be one of the early crowd to check it out.
After a long but relatively fast moving line, I paid the AR$15 for the ticket and went into La Rural, the huge convention center in Palermo, where hundreds of stands with millions of books waiting to be read. Going to a Book Fair, I obviously expected to see a lot of books by publishers, but what I didn’t expect was the presence of all the other Argentine provinces and embassies of international countries showcasing literary works by their very own writers. A lot of them not only have books but also exhibit historical artifacts, and arts and crafts. Even the Banco Central de La República Argentina has a stand educating people about the new version of the currency, juxtaposing them with old coins and paper bills. There were a lot of very interesting historical and cultural information to see. For like an hour, I thought I was in a museum!
Other than all the books for every interest and every age group that you can think of, the Fair also has daily schedules jam-packed with activities which include writers signings and appearances, book presentations, panel discussions, educational workshops for children, cultural performances etc. Like the highly acclaimed, Nobel Prize in Literature Winner Mario Vargas Llosa was the keynote speaker on Day Two. A lot of fans had waited for hours in order to get into the limited seating event, and it was definitely the news of the day.
The Book Fair has so much to offer that even if you are only a Spanish language novice, where picking up a Spanish novel is the last thing on your mind, you will still find something interesting to see, something fun to learn and most of all, have a great time experiencing the culture of Argentina.