Lisbon brings 37 authors, music and cinema to the Buenos Aires International Book Fair

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Thirty-seven Portuguese authors will be at the Buenos Aires Book Fair, which this year has Lisbon as guest of honor, in a program with around 100 activities, centered on books, but also on cinema and music.

The program of what is one of the biggest book fairs in the world and which has the particularity of inviting cities and not countries, as usual, was presented today by the Lisbon City Council at the Galveias Palace.

Scheduled to take place between April 23 and May 13, the Buenos Aires International Book Fair will be attended by 37 Portuguese and 22 Argentine authors, who will be present at various tables as part of an eclectic program that “crosses the arts” and will also highlight music, with six musical performances, and cinema, with ten films, revealed Diogo Moura, Lisbon City Council’s Councillor for Culture.

“This is a completely different fair, it invites cities, and we received this invitation a year ago and we immediately said yes, it was extremely important for us, because it goes hand in hand with our strategy for culture and the strategy of internationalizing the culture of the city of Lisbon, and this is an excellent opportunity,” he said.

It will also be an opportunity for authors to contact publishers and booksellers in order to be translated, and a special translation support line has been created in partnership with the Directorate-General for Books, Archives and Libraries (DGLAB), which will be launched at the fair.

According to Diogo Moura, the municipality has a budget of around 500,000 euros for taking part in the fair – which “presupposes a big investment”, with many writers and artists traveling – an investment that is “much bigger than the support from the partners”.

Lisbon will have a 200 square meter space at the fair, with a small auditorium, reading and audio spaces and books by various Portuguese authors, not just those who will be present.

In terms of literary programming – in addition to the business opportunity of selling books and translations that participation in the fair represents – talks, workshops, debates, presentations of books and authors are planned, including, among many others, names such as Afonso Cruz, Afonso Reis Cabral, Ana Pessoa, André Letria, Bruno Vieira Amaral, Frederico Pedreira, Isabela Figueiredo, Jerónimo Pizarro, Joana Bértholo, Joana Estrela, José Luis Peixoto, Lídia Jorge, Pedro Mexia, Ricardo Araújo Pereira, Rosa Oliveira and Yara Monteiro.

In the area of cinema, the municipality received a proposal to present eight films and two documentaries, all released in the last two years, inspired by literary works or writers, such as José Cardoso Pires, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, Natália Correia or Mário de Carvalho.

Diogo Moura also highlighted the presence of music, through the Lisbon Poetry Orchestra, with its work “The Surrealists”, dedicated to celebrating and interpreting the poetry of a group of artists and poets who understood the urgency of freedom at a time of political obscurantism, such as António José Forte, António Maria Lisboa, Alexandre O’Neill, Mário Cesariny, Pedro Oom, Vespeira or Mário Henrique Leiria, to name but a few.

Still on the music scene, the councillor also highlighted the participation of Rodrigo Leão, with shows celebrating his 25-year career (2018), but in a “new guise”, Ana Lua Caiano, a “revelation artist” who brings together “what is tradition, what are oralities, with what are new sounds and with the use of new technologies and multimedia tools”, as well as Artur Pizarro, “one of the greatest Portuguese pianists”.

In all, there are six musical performances, with a total of 30 musicians and 27 partners, in a global program that will extend over 21 days of a fair that welcomes 1.2 million people.

Therefore, this participation is an opportunity to showcase Lisbon, but also the country, to the whole of Latin America, since this event brings together many Latin American countries and not just Argentina.

Carla Quevedo, curator of the Lisbon participation, highlighted “diversity” as one of the key factors behind the choice of program, which justified the representation of the most varied literary genres, from poetry to novels, including essays, fiction, non-fiction, illustration and comics.

The curator said that the fair’s motto, “Lisbon, a city of inspiration”, will also be the subject of a panel discussion with seven Portuguese authors on April 25, when the fair opens to the public (the two previous days will be dedicated to professional conferences).

The similarities and differences between Lisbon and Buenos Aires, in literature, soccer and humor, for example, are some of the ideas that will be debated.

How to write a historical novel, what counts or doesn’t count in history, whether war is a topic only for adults, how to attract young people to literature, what’s happening with police officers in Portuguese literature, the relationship between literature and power, when literature becomes a political fact, the connection between life and literature, what it’s like to live today with memories of the past that we haven’t experienced, are some of the ideas that will be discussed at the author tables.

The Mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas, considered that Lisbon’s participation in the Buenos Aires book fair means having the basis of Lisbon’s culture, soul and life in the Argentine capital.

Pointing to “strategy, diversity, inclusion and creativity” as the strengths of Portugal’s participation, Carlos Moedas said that this is an opportunity to “define what [you want] for the city” and argued that he has always fought for “culture to be at the heart of the city and to be its driving force”.

“Especially today, more than ever, we have to create the habit of reading,” because if we don’t, “we’re going to destroy democracy.”

Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert is a 55-year-old writer and journalist based in Porto, Portugal. Born in France, he brings a unique blend of French and Portuguese perspectives to his work. Education Hervé studied Journalism and Literature at the University of Lyon in France. After completing his studies, he gained valuable experience working with various French media outlets (Portugal France also). Career He worked for several years as a journalist in France before making the move to Portugal. In Porto, he joined the Portugal Pulse team as a staff writer. Skills Hervé specializes in storytelling, investigative journalism, and cultural commentary. He has a flair for capturing complex issues in a relatable way. Personal Life He currently resides in Porto and enjoys the city's rich culture, from Fado music to Francesinha cuisine. Hervé continues to maintain strong ties to his French heritage, often traveling back to France for family visits and cultural exploration. With his unique background and diverse skill set, Hervé Hubert adds a layered, multicultural lens to every story he covers.

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