HAVANA, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Cuban and Chinese writers exchanged ideas about their craft on Thursday, prior to the inauguration in Havana of the 27th International Book Fair, where China is featured as guest country.
Cuban novelists, poets, essayists and critics met with 11 renowned Chinese authors at the headquarters of Cuba's Union of Writers and Artists, and discussed the literary ties that bind the two nations together.
"Literature is a bridge between different souls, so to promote literary exchanges between the two countries is to promote mutual knowledge and understanding between the two peoples," said Zhou Huilin, assistant general director of China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.
"Sharing the same ideals and beliefs leads us to understand each other well, and establishes a solid foundation for literary exchanges," Zhou noted, adding China's government plans to take measures in support of such literary encounters.
Cuban poet and novelist Miguel Barnet, who is also president of Cuba's Union of Writers and Artists, said his country's authors were committed to deepening exchange "based on the ties between the two countries and peoples, which have embarked on an entirely new path in contemporary history."
"We have much to share and much to defend in favor of a culture that enriches and improves human beings," said Barnet.
Chinese novelist and editor Xu Zechen moderated the discussions, which served to bring the two geographically distant countries closer together.
The president of Cuba's Association of Writers, poet Alex Pausides, later told Xinhua: "I think that for Cuban writers, getting closer to the millenary literature of China is a permanent source of enrichment and learning."
Pausides recommended a few prominent Cuban authors and thinkers for the Chinese reading public, including Jose Marti (1853-1898), Alejo Carpentier (1904-1980) and Nicolas Guillen (1902-1989).
Under the banner "Reading China," the Chinese delegation is presenting more than 300 books by well-known authors at this year's fair, such as A Lai, Li Jingze, Liu Zhenyun, Mai Jia, Xu Zechen, Yu Hua and Zhao Lihong.
As guest country, China boasts two extensive pavilions, measuring 400 square meters, at the fair, which is annually held at the San Pedro de La Cabana Fort, a historic landmark that rises above the eastern banks of Havana Bay.
The fair runs through Feb. 11 in Havana, before touring the country.