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Guadalajara International Book Fair Starts Nov. 30

November 26, 2013

The Guadalajara International Book Fair is expecting over 700,000 visitors this year. It is the most important literary event in the Spanish-speaking world and the 2nd largest book fair in the entire world.

Guadalajara, Mexico - Why not spend part of Hanukah in Israel - in Western Mexico?

The Jewish State is this year's guest nation of honor at Mexico's 2013 Guadalajara International Book Fair, the largest literary festival in the Spanish-speaking world. Known in Spanish as Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara, or FIL for short, it runs from November 30th to December 8th.

You'll be in excellent company. With Israel as Guest of Honor, the 27th edition of FIL will welcome three Nobel prize laureates – Ada Yonath, Shimon Peres, and Mario Vargas Llosa – along with more than 600 authors from 27 other countries.

Organizers are expecting upwards of 700,000 visitors to descend on Jalisco's capital city for this buzzy event, spanning literature, music, dance, theater, art, history, science, technology, and cuisine.

For many Spanish readers, this won't be their first encounter with Israeli books. According to the Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature, 5,226 Israeli titles have been translated into Spanish since 1980.

All 36 of the Israeli writers participating in this year's event have had their work translated into Spanish. The heavyweights among them include novelists Aaron Appelfeld, David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua, as well as Savon Liebrecht, Zeruya Shalev, Etgar Keret and his wife, Shira Gefen.

Surprisingly, the participation of Amos Oz, arguably Israel’s most famous living author, has yet to be confirmed.

Other scribes from the 10 featured Israeli publishing companies are children’s author Galia Oz, novelist Eshkol Nevo, historic novelists Meir Shalev and Boris Zaidman, scriptwriter and TV sensation Saed Kashua, playwright Joshua Sobol, and poets Hamutal Bar-Yossef, Agi Mishol, and Shimon Adaf.

The Israeli pavilion at the FIL will showcase facsimiles of the Dead Sea Scrolls and of Einstein’s manuscripts. They will be presented alongside science and technology exhibitions and a bookstore with editions in Spanish, Hebrew, English and Arabic. Israeli President Shimon Peres will inaugurate this 5,000-square-foot pavilion, designed by Mexican architect Enrique Norten using recycled materials.

Guadalajara is known as the home of mariachi music, but during the fest, Israeli music will ring out along the esplanade. The lineup encompasses Israeli hip hop act "Hadag Nahash," electro-pop band "The Young Professionals." and the psychedelic grooves of "Infected Mushroom." Classical music lovers will have a chance to catch Israel’s Avi Ostrowsky conducting the "Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra" at the Degollado Theater.

As a companion program to FIL, works by a dozen artists will be on display at the "Plural: A Panorama of Contemporary Israeli Art" exhibition hosted by the Instituto Cultural Cabañas. In the academic section, Israel will be represented by a team of scientists and technologists led by Ada Yonath and Dan Shechtman, both laureates of the Noble Prize in Chemistry.

Of course the book fair will feature much that is not Israeli. Among the new events this year is the E-Book Area, a space destined to the exhibition of products and services by 20 companies related to digital publishing. This pavilion will have a stage for presentations and an interactive area for the public to approach e-books. This year, for the first time, there will be a stand promoting contents in Braille, as well as a table of experts that talk about editing in accessible formats.

FIL Children, a space dedicated to readers-in-training, will offer 18 workshops inspired in the classics and contemporary works of fantasy literature. Children will learn to tell stories and explore their creativity through music, dance, stage expression, photography, plastic arts and science. The program is rounded off by shows from companies from France, Chile, Brazil, and Mexico, like the piano recital by the young and talented Daniela Liebman and the presentation of the Brazilian Circo da Silva.

Also of significance is the presence of the many literary professionals at the fair. This year an estimated 20,000 specialists are expected to attend including librarians, booksellers, distributors, publishers, proofreaders, translators, illustrators, and agents.

Over the years, The Guadalajara International Book Fair gas received over 9,350,000 visitors who have enjoyed 234 days of intense activities. FIL has generated an annual economic benefit to the city of over $4 billion pesos, apart from the $520 million pesos of publishing business. But over all, it is the cultural and literary festival that makes of Guadalajara the capital of books for nine intense days.

For more information including activities, events, authors, workshops, exhibits, music, and art visit

Sources: JCCGreenwich,org/