Reporting from the Bogota Book Fair

poster-promocional-de-la-28a-feria-internacional-del-libro-de-bogotá-suministrado-por-corferiasMacondo, that mythical place created by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and to which all of Latin America can claim as its own, was the invitado de honor at this year’s FilBo or the 28th International Bogota Book Fair.

One of the Fair’s peculiarities is that several publishers have a stand in more than one pabellón, at times confusing but often useful as items on display suit the intended audience (infantil, universidades, etc).

Overrun by teenagers and housing comic books and alternative graphic designers, Pabellón 1 seemed the place to be. Not sure if it was intentional but the religious publisher Ediciones Paulinas had a stand there as well, something worthy of magical Garcia Marquez capricho! Gabo himself would probably have responded to an upset visitor who noted: “that book is obscene,” referring to a hand-made/fanzine-like booklet with some erotic photos: algunos libros no pecan, pero incomodan.

Pabellón 3 housed not only university presses, independent publishers and some government agencies whose publications are not available for commercial distribution (Instituto Humboldt, Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica) and the word library/librarian was key in getting a copy. For a country hoping to bring an end to decades of violence, the Unidad para la Atención y Reparación Integral a las Víctimas provided examples of tangible work in that healing process.

A year after his death, Garcia Marquez was present all over Filbo, beyond the special Macondo pabellón that hosted an exhibit of first editions of his works, panel discussions and a reading of the first chapter of One Hundred Years of Solitude. One of the panels included SALALM’s own José Montelongo discussing Gabo’s literary archives at the University of Texas.

salamistasFilbo2015The group of U.S. librarians hosted by FilBo could not be in better magical company as we made our way through the various pabellones.

While it may have sounded like a touch of magical realism, unfortunaley press reports noted that a first edition of Gabo’s best known works had been stolen from the special exhibit.

Adan Griego, Curator for Latin American Collections-Stanford University Libraries.