Costa Rica is not famous for its authors. There has never been a literary giant – a Márquez or Paz or Allende – to represent the country. Most foreigners couldn’t name a single Tico novel, in Spanish or English translation, nor could some Ticos.
But there are plenty of working writers here, and they are definitely publishing books: starting this weekend, Costa Rica will present more than 500 titles at the International Book Fair (FIL) in Guadalajara, Mexico. Published by presses large and small, the literature is nearly as diverse as its authors, including current events, technical manuals, biographies and poetry collections.
This is the second time Costa Rica has attended FIL, and it is a concerted effort by the Culture Ministry, university publishers, small presses, commercial houses and countless other organizations.
“This participation is the result of a close relationship between Mexico and Costa Rica, which has helped to strengthen the cultural ties that bind us,” said Carlos Cortés, member of the College of Costa Rica, a literacy committee created by the Culture Ministry. “In 2012, a relationship began with the Guadalajara Book Fair, which was expanded for 2013.”
Described as “the most important publishing gathering in Ibero-America,” the 27th FIL will take place from Nov. 30–Dec. 8. The fair is a touchstone of literature and publishing in the Western Hemisphere, particularly for Spanish-language works, inviting participants from such diverse locations as Venezuela, New Mexico and Israel. The fair is housed in the Guadalajara Convention Center and takes up more than 40,000 square meters. A typical FIL will attract half a million visitors.