HAVANA, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Cuba's 26th International Book Fair (FIL) began on Thursday in an event that marked by a tribute to late former President Fidel Castro.
The inaugural ceremony, chaired by Cuban first Vice-president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, gathered authors and guests from 46 countries who will participate for the next 10 days in the most popular and widespread cultural event in the Caribbean nation.
Juan Rodriguez, President of the Cuban Book Institute, said the literary event will sell a collection of 24 books dedicated to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution and there will also be several conferences on Fidel's contribution to literature and reading habits.
"Exactly 50 years ago, Fidel Castro founded the Cuban Book Institute and our editorial publishing houses, today we honor his legacy and work for literature and culture in this book fair," he said.
Around four million books of different Cuban and foreign authors have been printed for the fair, as well as 700 new publications.
Over 400 guests and 150 authors from 46 countries have confirmed their participation in the literary event which will run until February 19.
Canada is invited as the guest country this year at the book fair. Isabelle Berard, director of Latin American affairs at Canada's foreign ministry, said it was a great honor for her nation to be the guest country.
"We thank Cuba for recognizing our cultural diversity and the invitation to the fair is a sign of our long uninterrupted relation for over seven decades," she said.
"Canada and Cuba know the benefits of friendly and long-term relations. After Prime Minister Trudeau's visit to Cuba last year, Canada is willing to strengthen our ties based on a respectful approach and constructive engagement," she added.
The book fair, considered as the greatest cultural event in the island, takes place at the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress, east of Havana.