By Julieta Lionetti
With more than 67,000 visitors — double the number who came in 2011 — the second Feria del Libro en Español de Los Angeles (LéaLA) closed after three successful days on May 13. That Sunday, more than 3,000 people danced to the music of Calle 13, Illya Kuryaki and The Valderramas at the Nokia Theatre. The party also had deep political and cultural implications, especially when the singer René Pérez Joglar asked the dancers not to forget their native language “because those who do not love their origins do not love their mother.” And he added that bilingualism makes people more intelligent.
Managing Director Marisol Schulz and her team organized more than 200 cultural activities that included literary readings, the arts, academic conferences, and presentations of young adult and children’s literature. The 180 exhibitors in attendance brought 180 Latin American authors, who signed books, gave readings and interacted with the public.
The fair is promoted by the University of Guadalajara, Conaculta (Mexican National Endowment for the Advancement of the Arts and Culture) and the Guadalajara Internationl Book Fair (FIL). Consuelo Saízar, director of Conaculta, said that “Spanish is one of the vital forces of our century,” and a fair like LéaLA is “the answer to a need expressed by readers and booksellers to have access to cultural offerings in this language.” She stressed the success of the first LéaLA last year, which “made it imperative to expand the project.”