The Madrid Book Fair officially presents its 80th anniversary edition, which will be held from September 10 to 26. It will be an edition, yes, quite different from what we remember. The main novelty: a maximum capacity of 3,900 people, not counting workers.
Fewer booths, super-reduced capacity and suspense in the signatures: Madrid mounts its most complicated Book Fair
The reduced capacity, however, is no reason to think that it will not be “a success”. As stated by the event director Manuel Gil in the presentation “this fair is perhaps more important than ever”. It will follow the same dynamics as in other editions, respecting health security measures, and it will bring more than 1,000 authors –40 of them Colombians– to the capital. The organization expects an attendance of 300,000 visitors.
“I do not know how the hardest years of the Civil War could have been, but this is a highly desired fair”, defended the director of the fair. “It is time to defend joy, we are going to see if we can return to our park (del Retiro) and that the public meets a festival of the word.”
Regarding the control of the capacity, this edition will have an entrance door and an exit door, unlike in previous years in which it was possible to enter through more entrances. In other words, it will be held in a more limited space to control capacity. All interested citizens will be able to check in real time on the fair website the level of capacity, which will be 75% compared to the 2019 edition.
This year, 2019, is the one that Gil’s team uses as a reference since it intends for this fair to reach 10.2 million euros in sales of that edition. The current event will have a total of 320 booths, of which 78 are from bookstores, 185 from publishers; and the total number of stamps with collective booths and distributors will be 1,100.
Colombian literature takes El Retiro
The Caribbean country is the guest of honor of this edition and disembarks in Madrid under the motto of “Colombia, Diversa y Vital”. It will bring a great literary offer with the presence of authors such as Dario Jaramillo, who will officially open the fair on Friday with a conference.
In the words of the Colombian ambassador, Luis Guillermo Plata, this cultural offer is expanded with music and dance performances such as those offered by the Barranquilla Carnival. “We have decided to bring music and dance to this fair, to bring Caribbean flavor, color and atmosphere,” he stressed.
The Colombian president, Iván Duque, will also come to the fair as an author, as he will present his latest book. He will be joined by other writers such as Ángela Becerra, Pilar Quintana or Dasso Saldívar.
Among the many activities that have been organized will be the tributes to Carmen Laforet, Emilia Pardo Bazán or the editor Belén Bermejo. Likewise, the Loyalty Awards will be awarded to entities and individuals such as Miguel García, from the Antonio Machado distributor, or the Juventud publishing house, which has been present at the fair since 1933, the year it opened.
And to highlight its Ibero-American profile, the fair will celebrate the Ibero-America Lee Meeting, where representatives of the Latin publishing world will present their proposals at the Casa de América. In its international facet, and with the collaboration of the Italian Tourist Office, the 700 years of the death of Dante Alighieri will also be celebrated.
Andrea Levy, Delegate of the Government Area of Culture, Tourism and Sport of the Madrid City Council, has also been present during the presentation of the fair, who has said that “finally” it can be said that “there will be a Book Fair”: “We can talk about a great festival of literature.”
For her part, Marta Rivera de la Cruz, Minister of Culture of the Community of Madrid, also stressed that this will be the “happiest” fair as it will be the reunion of authors with their readers and readers with their authors.
The fair, which has CaixaBank as its official sponsor, will be officially opened on Friday, September 10 at 11:00 am by Queen Letizia.