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The Guadalajara International Book Fair and The Hay Festival of Literature & Arts

Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities 2020

The Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) is considered the largest meeting of the Spanish-speaking publishing world and the most important literary fair in the world along with that of Frankfurt (Germany). The Hay Festival of Literature & Arts has become one of the most important cultural competitions, having exported its formula from the small Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye to cities in different countries in Europe and America.

The Guadalajara International Book Fair, popularly known as FIL (for its name in Spanish), was founded in 1987 by the university of the Mexican city of Guadalajara. After more than three decades in existence, FIL has become a social, political and cultural reference in the book world. Created to broaden the horizons of books in Spanish and to help this language continue to be a major educational and cultural vehicle of modern society, FIL has three spheres of action –editorial, academic and cultural– and has become a meeting place for authors, their readers and other stakeholders in the book trade including literary agents, librarians, booksellers and over 2000 publishing houses. Oriented towards the professional field, but also open to the general public, the Guadalajara Fair is currently attended by more than 800 000 people and 2400 publishing houses from over 45 countries. Occupying more than 40 000 square metres of floor space, this fair, which is traditionally held between November and December, boasts hundreds of book presentations, activities for book trade professionals, artistic and musical performances and thousands of business events related to this industry. It also hosts the International Editors Forum and the University and Academic Publishing Forum, the Reading Promoters Meeting, the International Librarians Colloquium, the Illustrators Salon and the Translation and Interpretation Congress. It has an Electronic Book Programme and a Braille Edition Programme as well. It celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2016, while the first edition of the Comic and Graphic Novel Salon was inaugurated at the 2017 Fair.

The Hay Festival of Literature & Arts is a literary gathering founded in 1988 in the Welsh locality of Hay-on-Wye, a town of about 1800 inhabitants then known for the large number of bookshops, especially for used books, which had become an attraction not only for book lovers, but for tourists in general. Held annually for 11 days in late May and early June, the Hay Festival hosts more than 700 events, including debates, interviews and concerts, attended by visitors from over 40 countries. Although initially devoted to literature, the festival has expanded its scope to music, cinema and critical thinking. Some of the most renowned contemporary writers, scientists, politicians, historians and music creators, among others, participate in the meetings. The figures for attendance at the Hay Festival exceed 270 000 people. Access is free for university students and each year it is visited by more than 10 000 schoolchildren from some 220 schools. Organized by the Hay Festival Foundation, in 2006 the Festival began to hold similar competitions in different countries, such as the Hay Festival Cartagena de Indias (Colombia), the Hay Festival Segovia (Spain), the Hay Festival Querétaro (Mexico), the Hay Festival Arequipa (Peru) and the Hay Festival Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). It also organizes meetings for up-and-coming writers –under 40 years old– with international editions in Bogotá (2007 and 2018), Beirut (2010), Port Harcourt (Nigeria, 2014), Mexico (2015) and Aarhus (Denmark, 2017).

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