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Books and Tributes at the Havana Fair

February 12, 2010 Leave a comment

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On Tuesday, February 9, Cubavision offered prime air-time to the officials of the Institute of the Book, who provided details about the International Book Fair of Havana, which will be held from February 11 to 21 on the grounds of the Morro-Cabaña fortresses and from February 22 to March 7 in the libraries of 15 other cities.

According to Edel Morales, vice-president of the institution, already 300 titles are on sale in 48 bookshops of the capital, including the central Pabellón Cuba and the fairground enclosure of Rancho Boyeros. The Pabellón dedicates its rooms to the cinema and the plastic arts of Russia, guest of honor, whose presence implies the re-opening of the interwoven ties between the island and its former mother country from 1960.

The Russians will have a 430 meter stand in La Cabaña, where 300 publishers will show 3,500 classic and contemporary titles, some dedicated to the language, the arts, history and sciences, and the majority to genres such as poetry, stories, childrens literature and fantastic works. Among the translated writers will be Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Pushkin, Gogol, Bulgákov and Eugene Tushenkov.

Among the titles of this nation announced are I speak Russian, Basilisa the Beautiful, Soldier of Death and anthologies of stories and poetry prepared by the publisher Art and Literature. Russia brings, in addition, exhibitions on Chekhov’s 150th anniversary, the centenary of the death of A. Tolstoy, cinema posters and interactive activities on children’s drawings and historical and political celebrations, such as the 65th anniversary of the victory over fascism and 50th of the alliance between the USSR and Cuba.

Already The Inkstand circulates a pamphlet with publishers’ offers, presentations of works, meetings, honours, concourses and the personalities invited to the 19th Book Fair of Havana. Printed in El Cañonazo, Cubaliteraria.com’s informative supplement, which reports the writers rewarded by the system of prizes of Cuba: the Alba Narrativa Prize 2010 supported by Fondo Cultural ALBA of Venezuela, and the Dulce M. Loynaz Centre of the Cuban Institute of the Book.

Since the fair of 2010 is dedicated to the writer Reinaldo Gonzalez and the historian Maria del Carmen Barcia, winners of the National Literature and Social Sciences awards, the principal works of these authors have been re-printed. From Reinaldo’s we will be able to acquire The Party of the Sharks, Forever Death in its Brief Passage, Conversation on the Terrace and The Most Human of Men, about Félix B. Caignet. Among Maria del Carmen’s are Blacks in Colonial Havana, The Other Family, The Working Class and Modernity in Cuba 1878-1930, and A Society in Crisis: Havana of the 19th Century.

The Fair will pay tribute to national and foreign artists who reach their centenary, such as the Spanish poet Michael Hernández and the Cuban Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés (Matanzas, 1810-1844), Dora Alonso, Jose Lezama Lima and the great historian Manuel Moreno Fraginals, the only exiled figure who reappears in the exclusive stands of Havana. For the bicentenary of Plácido they have re-printed his poetry and a collection of articles. To Lezama Lima born in Havana in December 1910, they will dedicate colloquia, pamphlets, two volumes of his complete works and the compilation Lezama Dispersed, by Ciro Bianchi.

On the centenary of Miguel Hernández (Orihuela, Spain, 1910-1942), honoured in Cuba in 1943, the eponymous Foundation that promotes his work joins in sponsoring certain volumes to present at the Havana Book Fair, including his poetry with Roberto Fernandez Retamar’s prologue; Rather Bloodied, Chronicles of the War; The biography of Michael Hernández: Passions, Jail and Death; the anthology Michael Hernández in Cuba (1937-2008), by the Hispanic critic Aitor Larrabide; a book about the musical quality of his poems; the disc A Song for Miguel prepared by the concourse convened by the “Paul de la Torriente Brau” Center, and the premiere of Divided Kingdom, a theatrical work by Amado del Pino concerning the friendship between Michael and Paul, companions in the trenches during the Spanish Civil war.

The Havana Book Fair will offer more than 400 titles printed in Cuba and five million prints, many of which come from Russia, Spain and nations of Latin America.

Translated by: Araby