The London Book Fair
The London Book Fair is the world's leading spring publishing event for both traditional and electronic media. In 2007 the market focus was dedicated to Spain, the homeland of the second most widely-spoken language in the world. Spain, the birthplace of Cervantes and Galdós, has an immensely rich literary history. Directors of Andalucia.com, Chris Wawn and Michelle Chaplow, attended the event to find out more.
The Spanish Ministry of Culture, the Spanish Association of Publishers' Guilds, and The Institute for Foreign Trade put together an excellent programme of seminars focusing on literary rights and publishing. They also showcased a diverse range of Spanish literature which included a collection of old manuscripts and photographs from La Biblioteca Nacional de España (The National Library of Spain) in Madrid. The programme also featured a performance by the Spanish musical group, Música Antigua-Eduardo Paniagua, which was very well-received.
Famous authors such as Brazil's Paolo Coelho have spent time in Spain and have been inspired by Andalucia. Coelho's most famous book, The Alchemist, commences in Tarifa. When asked about visiting Spain, Paolo told Michelle, "...it's a privilege to live as a foreigner in another country as you see the country with innocence in your eyes".
As a child Paolo had a Spanish nanny who told him that Spain was the centre of the universe. He loved her stories, which inspired him to visit Spain. Pablo commented that, of course, "...no where apart from the place where you actually are is the centre of the universe".
In 1986, he walked the Camino de Santiago and later published "The Pilgrimage". Coelho is one of the most inspirational authors of today.
Five of Spain's leading authors (Carmen Posadas, José Carlos Somoza, Nuria Amat, Javier Sierra and Andrés Ibañez) presented a very interesting round table discussion at the Insituto Cervantes. The Spanish Ambassador and his wife, Carlos Miranda and Elena Meneses, both attended the event.
José Carlos Somoza mentioned that in his eyes, literature has the amazing ability to be able to "break down frontiers" between different cultures. Carmen Posadas stated that "the Spanish language is now very fashionable", especially in the United States.
Javier Sierra (who now resides in Malaga) stated that he has been overwhelmed by the reception of the English version of his latest book, The Secret Supper. Javier Sierra writes about intriguing historical mysteries. The Secret Supper has been published in more than 30 countries to date. It has indeed become an international success.
The logo for this year's London Book Fair was "Dream Spain, Think Spain, Read Spain."