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Book fair returns with English-language authors

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FILEY in 2016. Photo: Handout

Mérida, Yucatán — With more than 1,500 activities and the participation of 130 publishing houses, the sixth annual International Readers’ Fair of Yucatán (FILEY) opens Saturday, March 11. 

Book lovers will head to Mérida’s Siglo XXI Convention Center through Friday, March 17 for what is known locally as the Feria Internacional de la Lectura Yucatán. The event is sponsored by the UADY, the University of Yucatán.

From left, van der Gracht, Lindholm and Kehoe. Photos: Courtesy

And for the first time, English-language authors residing in Mérida will also present their works.

Marianne Kehoe, Linda Lindholm and Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado will participate in a bilingual panel, “Intercultural Writers in Yucatán – Escritoras Interculturales en Yucatán,” moderated by Dr. Michael K. Schuessler. The three authors will discuss the importance of English language literature in a predominantly Spanish-speaking community. They will also read from their works, and answer questions from the moderator and the audience.

The writers invite Yucatán’s international community to attend their presentation at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 16 in the Salon Uxmal 5.

FILEY’s opening ceremony is 6 p.m. Saturday. It includes authorities from UADY and dignitaries representing Mexico, the states of Yucatán and guest state Campeche and the People’s Republic of China. Writer Cristina Rivera Garza will receive the José Emilio Pacheco Prize for Excellence in Literature.

Also receiving tributes are the Mayan writer Briceida Cob, who originally is from Campeche, and Beatriz Rodríguez Guillermo and Joaquín Bestard, posthumously.

The week will  pack in more than 1,500 activities, over 500 guest speakers including 124 local writers, 74 national writers and 14 international writers. Among them are the bestselling Chinese poet Lan Lan and Fang Fang, a Chinese writer who won the Lu Xun Literary Prize in 2010.

Both will take part in a conversation, “China: Dialogue of the poet Lan Lan and the writer Fang Fang” with Mexican poet Manuel Cuautle at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 12 in the Salon Uxmal 6.

Well-known Spanish-language literary figures such as Paco Ignacio Taibo, Elena Poniatowska, Rosa Beltran, Armando Fuentes Aguirre, Eduardo Sacheri, Juan Villoro and Cristina Rivera are highlighted in the program.

More than 80 concerts and plays with more than 700 artists will be on stage, and outside, an “art garden” will be set up between the convention center and the neighboring Gran Museo del Mundo Maya. On display will be works by Barry Domínguez, Reynaldo Bolio “Pacelli,” Carol Acereto, Carlos Núñez, José Pool “Mashka” and members of the art community of Parque Hidalgo and the Paseo de Montejo.

Among the personalities also expected to attend are Cristina Pacheco, Guillermo Arriaga, Guadalupe Nettel, Eduardo Sacheri, Javier Sicilia, Juan Villoro, Guadalupe Loaeza, Carmen Boullosa, Mónica Lavín, Ana García Bergua and Xavier Velasco.

Representing Yucatán, expect to see Jorge Alvarez Rendón, Jenaro Villamil, Agustín Monsreal, Ruben Reyes, Ena Evia, Cristina Leirana, Feliciano Sánchez, Teté Mézquita, Celia Pedrero, Roldán Peniche, Manuel Calero, Víctor Garduño, Melba Alfaro, Patricia Martínez and Ileana Garma.

In the exhibit hall, guest country China will have a 150-square-meter pavilion to display paintings, books and curiosities from past and present. Guest state Campeche will have an area of ​​200 square meters with various samples of the state and its Autonomous University.

The entire FILEY program is here. Entrance is free of charge.

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