Interview: Cuba's book fair bridge to bring China closer, says organizer

Source: Xinhua| 2018-02-01 15:11:46|Editor: Jiaxin
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HAVANA, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- The 27th edition of Cuba's International Book Fair (FIL), to be held on Feb. 1-11, is an ideal occasion to bring Cuba and China closer through an "unbreakable cultural bridge," Juan Rodriguez, president of the fair's organizing committee, said.

Rodriguez, also president of the Cuban Book Institute, said the event represents a unique opportunity to build lasting ties with important Chinese publishing houses, authors and intellectuals beyond geographic distances.

"It is a great opportunity to establish bridges and make the fair eternal between the two countries, where Cuban authors can have a greater presence in China and vice versa, because we have a history of brotherhood between both peoples for many years," he said.

Nurturing a passion for books and reading has been a priority for the government. It started organizing book fairs from 1982 to provide people access to books from all over the world at affordable prices.

The FIL is considered one of the most significant events of the Cuban literary movement. Each edition had exceeded the previous one in terms of public attendance, the number of local and foreign exhibitors, and the growing participation of renowned literary figures, intellectuals and international guests.

The FIL organizing committee chose China as the guest of honor this year, the first time for China at an international book fair in Latin America, to boost Havana's goal of getting different Chinese publishing houses, authors and cultural officials to continue participating in the event, Rodriguez said.

"The Cuban public in general is very eager to know and buy Chinese books and texts related to its history, culture, heritage and the economic development that has taken place in the last 40 years," he said.

The event will see 22 professional exchange meetings, different publishing houses signing agreements on co-editing books, and the Chinese delegation presenting more than 3,000 books.

"Our perspective is to have a great event in our Havana venue, and also establish collaboration ties beyond the fair to continue the exchanges in the future and have a lasting relation in order to learn more about China and its literature," Rodriguez added.

Cuban publishers have produced 30 works on China with such diverse topics as children's literature, science and technology, history, language, science fiction and even Chinese traditional recipes popular in this Caribbean nation.

Rodriguez said the fair will express the "solid" economic, political, historical and cultural ties between the two countries as Havana was the first Latin American nation to establish diplomatic relations with China in 1960.

"The bridge we are building will not only strengthen bilateral relations, but also China's ties with Latin America and the Caribbean," he said.

As a preamble to the Spring Festival, the traditional Chinese New Year, two cultural galas will be held on Friday and Saturday at Havana's Alicia Alonso Grand Theater.

More than 220 Chinese writers, artists, officials and representatives of Chinese publishers have confirmed their attendance.

They will join over 200 intellectuals, artists and writers from 40 countries.