The twenty-seventh edition of the Feria Internacional del Libro de La Habana (Havana International Book Fair) will this year be dedicated to Eusebio Leal Spengler, the director of the City Historian’s Office (la Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad) in Havana. China is this year’s country of honour.
Leal Spengler is a politician, teacher, essayist and researcher whose notable works have been published in Cuba and abroad and span the history of Cuba, themes from across the Americas, as well as restoration and museology.
He has received honorary doctorates from several universities in Europe and the Americas and has received particular recognition for his leadership in the ongoing restoration work on Havana’s historic old town, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
The literary festival is organized by the Cámara Cubana del Libro (Cuban Book Chamber) and the Instituto Cubano del Libro (Cuban Book Institute) and will take place February 1-11 2018 in its usual location, Havana’s Morro-Cabaña Historic Military Museum Centre with literary, academic and artistic events at other locations as well. This year’s special feature will be a showcase of Chinese culture spanning many thousands of years.
After its launch in Havana, the fair visits each province around the country. It has become the cultural event that draws the biggest crowds nationwide and it is known internationally as a space that promotes the best of Cuban, Latin American and international literature.
Talks, panel discussions, conferences, readings, book presentations and awards make up the academic and literary program at a festival that provides a space for intellectual and cultural exchange among diverse festival-goers.
There’s also a rich cultural program spanning film screenings, theatre presentations, exhibitions, concerts and more.
As well as the authors, editors, publishers and other literary professionals that flock to the festival every year, it also attracts vast numbers of avid readers from among the general public. Last year the book fair counted one million eight hundred thousand visitors and sold over a million books.