One of the most important cultural events in Cuba, where ballet, theater and film festivals all take place, is undoubtedly the International Book Fair.
This 2017, the festival of literature takes place in Havana February 9 -19, and after its conclusion in the capital will extend across all provinces, culminating in Santiago de Cuba on April 16.
Since its first edition in 1982, this event has been gaining popularity, now offering readers the possibility of approaching the latest Cuban and world literature, not only at its main venue in the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress, but also others around the capital, mainly in the Vedado neighborhood, at institutions such as the Casa de las Américas, Pabellón Cuba, the Casa del Alba, the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, and the José Martí Society.
Throughout the Fair a special tribute will be paid to the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, who passed away last November, with colloquia and conferences on his political thinking and his close relationship with Cuba’s cultural life, and several books put together in 2016 to celebrate his 90th birthday will be presented, some for the first time.
Now an established tradition, the Fair every year celebrates a relevant figure of national literature, and in this occasion is dedicated to Dr. Armando Hart, who served as Minister of Education (1959-1965) and of Culture (1976-1997) and is currently president of the Office of the José Martí Program and the José Martí Cultural Society, with more than two dozen titles published.
Also customary is the participation of a guest country of honor, this year Canada, with a total of 30 authors and 36 editors from 18 publishing houses attending.
A real treat scheduled for the opening gala is a performance by the Inuit language band The Jerry Cans, from the country's Arctic region.
Juan Rodríguez Cabrera, President of the Fair and the Cuban Book Institute, confirmed the presence of 21 countries as exhibitors and another 25 with authors and publishers in attendance. In total, more than 5,000 people registered to participate, including 198 foreign writers.
The Cuban presence is naturally distinguished, with 70 publishing houses, more than 700 new titles and about four million copies of different texts. In the big tent-bookstore at the Cabaña fort alone, a total of 1,200 titles are made available to the public.