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22/09/2022

Colombia will take advantage of Liber to increase the internationalisation of its most current literature

Expanding the frontiers of its literature through the sale of rights and translation, boosting exports of books from its publishing houses, as well as connecting with other markets in Europe and Latin America. With these objectives in mind, the Colombian publishing industry is coming to Liber, which will be held from 5 to 7 October at Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via venue. As guest of honour, Colombia will be attending with a publishing showcase of 81 imprints, a delegation of 50 professionals, and cultural and business activities.

Colombia will take advantage of its presence at Liber to present the different actions it is carrying out to promote books and reading. It will also present the Bogotá International Book Fair FILBo, which will be 35 years old in 2023, the Colombian Network of Book Fairs, the “Reading Colombia” programme for the internationalisation of the book sector, as well as the main figures of its publishing industry and its presence in international markets.

“The internationalisation of our literature inevitably passes through Spain, whose publishing industry has a strong foreign projection that has traditionally contributed to giving visibility to our authors”, says the executive president of the Colombian Book Chamber (CCL), Emiro Aristizábal, who also highlights that “Colombian publishing production is consolidating and growing gradually year after year, while the country has a very solid network of independent and chain bookshops”. In 2021, 20,365 new titles were published, according to data from the CCL and the ISBN Agency in Colombia.

On the other hand, exports from the Colombian publishing sector reached 54,802 million pesos (about €12 million) in 2021, an increase of almost 62% over the previous year. Meanwhile, sales in the domestic market totalled 670,442 million pesos (around 154 million euros), according to the CCL.

Stand and activities

Precisely, the Colombian delegation travelling to Barcelona seeks to build a commercial and cultural bridge with Spain and other Latin American and European markets that will help to increase these sales figures abroad through commercial or translation agreements. To this end, Colombia will play a prominent role at Liber, both in the commercial exhibition and in the fair’s activities.

Thus, its central stand will display titles of different genres and themes of fiction and non-fiction (children’s and young people’s books, novels, essays, poetry, academic and educational books, etc.), provided by 81 publishing imprints.

At the same time, Colombia will add different activities to the Liber Professional Workshops to showcase the dynamics, strategies and opportunities of the Colombian book sector. The Colombian Book Chamber will offer an overview of publishing production, highlighting the main figures and trends in the market. There will also be a session on the advantages offered by the co-publication of academic texts between Spanish and Colombian universities, as well as two conferences dedicated to the role of fairs. In this regard, the Network of Colombian Book Fairs will be presented, with 16 annual events in all regions of the country, and special attention will be paid to the Bogotá FilBo Book Fair, the Colombian book and reading promotion event with the greatest international recognition and which represents a gateway to other Latin American markets. It is worth remembering that Spain will be FilBo’s guest of honour in 2025.

Colombian books cross linguistic borders

Special mention should be made of the conference at which the “Reading Colombia” programme, which co-finances translation and promotes the publication of Colombian literary and scientific works in foreign languages, will be presented. This initiative, now in its fourth edition, is gaining prominence in the internationalisation strategy of the Colombian publishing industry. Since its launch in 2018, 36 incentives have been awarded for the translation of 32 works by Colombian authors into eight languages in Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Scotland, Egypt, the United States, Albania, Italy, France and Turkey.

The 30 titles that make up the catalogue of the “Reading Colombia” 2022 call will also be available at the Liber stand. It includes works by authors such as Andrea Mejía, Jorge Orlando Melo, Miguel Mendoza Luna, Carolina Sanín, Simón Posada, Gilmer Mesa and Darío Jaramillo Agudelo, among others.

At the same time, through this programme, Colombia has selected three agents from the sector to visit Liber, so that they can share experiences in the field of book and reading promotion with other international book professionals. They are the Mirabilia bookshop in Bogota, the Colombian Association of Independent Booksellers (ACLI) and the publishing house Monigote, who will join the Colombian delegation, made up of some fifty publishers, booksellers, distributors and institutional representatives and representatives of book trade organisations, who will take part in business meetings with exhibiting companies, visitors and buyers and specifiers invited by Liber. Meanwhile, publishers and agents from the Colombian book sector who are unable to travel to Barcelona will have the opportunity to access these meetings and business meetings virtually through a digital platform that the fair will set up from 5 to 7 October.

Culture, with the 40th anniversary of Gabo’s Nobel Prize

Finally, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to Gabriel García Márquez, its most universal writer, Colombia’s programme of activities at Liber includes two cultural events open to the general public and organised by the Colombian Embassy in Spain in collaboration with the Colombian Book Chamber and Casa América Catalunya, among other organisations.

On the one hand, the concert-reading “Macondo” – Gabo’s eternal territory where reality, myth, dream and desire coexist -, which will be held on Wednesday, 5 October at the Gabriel García Márquez Library in Barcelona. Different authorities and personalities from the world of publishing and culture will read excerpts from the works La Casa de los Buendía, La Hojarasca, El coronel no tiene quien le escriba, Los funerales de Mamá Grande, La Mala Hora and Cien Años de Soledad, interspersed with musical pieces performed by students from the Conservatorio Superior de Música del Liceo de Barcelona.

On the other hand, the literary competition “El coronel sí tiene quien le escriba” has been announced, encouraging readers of Gabo to write a letter to the mythical character of the Garciamarquian novel. The winning letters will be announced during the concert on the 5th.

Colombia’s participation in Liber is led by the Colombian Book Chamber -CCL, with the collaboration of the Colombian Government through the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Library of Colombia and the Colombian Embassy in Spain.

Liber 2022 – the most important professional fair for the Spanish-language publishing industry, organised this year by Fira de Barcelona and promoted by the Federation of Publishers’ Guilds of Spain – will bring together some 300 publishers from 12 countries and is expected to attract more than 7,000 professionals.

Barcelona, 22 September 2022

FIND OUT THE PROGRAMME OF ACTIVITIES OF COLOMBIA AT LIBER22 here

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