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I N T E R N A T I O N A L

Havana.  November  7, 2014

2015 INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR
A literary dialogue between
Cuba and India
Madeleine Sautié

Cuba’s largest cultural event, the 24th Havana International Book Fair, will take place February 12-22 in the capital, and then across the country through April, and will be dedicated to the Republic of India, as guest Country of Honor.

On November 6, at the José Martí Cultural Society, details of the Fair were offered to the press by Zuleica Romay Guerra, President of the Cuban Book Institute (ICL), and Eduardo Fernández Collado, director of the International Book Fair, among other representatives. Also present were Chinthapally Rajasekhar, Indian ambassador to Cuba, and Ravinder Narang, mission deputy, responsible for the Fair.

"A great honor" is how Rajasekhar described India’s invitation to the event – the first country from the continent of Asia to be featured to the Fair.

"We will try our best to meet expectations," he stated. The diplomat highlighted India’s huge film industry, where each year 1,000 new films are released, "But this isn’t the only thing we do, there you can find literature, music, dance, artistry." He explained that the country is among the five nations which publish the most books in the world, with thousands of titles every year.

Rajasekhar commented on the historic relations between India and Cuba, which are "based on common values of freedom and justice, which grow from the shared vision of our leaders, with joint aspirations for social justice," and described the ties of friendship between the two nations as historic, and which "strongly unite our two peoples and symbolize two hearts which beat together."

The representative stated that the Book Fair represents a great opportunity to introduce the Cuban public to historic and contemporary Indian literature, as well as other expressions of the country’s culture, which will also be presented during the event, such as music, dance, yoga and arts and crafts, adding that through such actions he will be responsible for maintaining and strengthening the ties of friendship between the two peoples.

Juan Rodríguez, vice president of the ICL, commenting on editorial production praised the efforts being made to guarantee books nation wide.

He reported that publication of 900 titles, with more than 3,300 copies, highlighting that the authors to which the event will be dedicated will be represented through various works, including 11 titles by Olga Portuondo and eight by Leonardo Acosta.

In regards to literature by Indian authors and about the country, which will be printed in Cuba, Rodríguez stated that they are working on some 26 titles, which include different genres. He also commented that historical, physical and economic maps will presented at the Fair, adding that they are currently working on 31 digital projects and that measures are being taken to ready everything for the Fair, which demands an extraordinary effort from the workers at the polygraph printing facility, but which will guarantee productions of greater quality and quantity.

Edel Morales, vice president of ICL International Relations, stated that so far, 88 foreign expositors have confirmed their participation in the Fair. As a highlight of the fair he noted the participation of a large reading public, with more than 50 years of education, enabling deep discussions to be had between authors and readers, and a dialogue about cultural and commercial growth between the participants in the event.

Two centenaries will also be celebrated during the Fair: one, of the death of Carlos J. Finlay and the other, of the birth of Raúl Ferrer, a important promoter of the literacy campaign in Cuba - for which a special event will be held in Sancti Spíritus -, and the 400th anniversary of the publication of the second edition of Don Quijote, during which important experts on Cervantes will discuss the occasion.

The 50th anniversary of the publication of El socialismo y el hombre en Cuba (Man and Socialism in Cuba) by Ernesto Che Guevara, and the 120th anniversary of the start of the War of ‘95 (the armed struggle, initiated in 1895, organized by José Martí to achieve Cuban independence), will also be commemorated.
 

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