At Guadalajara Book Fair: Guest of Honor EU Plans a Professional Program

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The Guest of Honor EU program at Guadalajara includes a three-day program for European, Latin American, and Caribbean professionals.

A design rendering for the 2023 Guadalajara International Book Fair Guest of Honor European Union pavilion. Image: FIL Guadalajara

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Programming and One-on-One Meetings

See also: Georgia’s European Union Candidacy Advances: Amid ‘Resistance’

As many of our readers know, the European Union is guest of honor this year at the 37th Guadalajara International Book Fair, which runs November 25 to December 3.

Publishing Perspectives readers are very familiar with the huge public-facing La Feria Internacional del Libro, FIL, de Guadalajara, directed by Marisol Schulz Manaut as Latin America’s largest such event. Last year’s Guest of Honor Sharjah visit to Mexico for the fair produced the largest stand that the emirate has  produced in a long, impressive procession of international guest-of-honor appearances. And the show overall drew a reported 806,805 visitors.

The 2022 edition of the fair drew 2,173 publishing houses as exhibitors from 49 countries, with 775 writers on-hand from 44 nations representing 25 languages. And yet the 27-nation European Union’s participation in such a pivotal position has the capacity to generate a new level of internationalism at this year’s fair.

The incoming Guest of Honor EU pavilion is the site of what’s being described as “an intense professional program from the European Union and the Latin American and Caribbean regions to meet and debate relevant contemporary issues of the publishing industry.”

Behind the concept of the EU as guest of honor, of course, is a goal of strengthening “EU connections with Mexico” and the Latin American and Caribbean region,” that region referred to in some quarters as LAC. A key component of the program is a recognition of the EU’s cultural and linguistic diversity, and one section of the guest of honor pavilian design, in fact, is a gazebo-like structure described as a “languages diversity installation.

‘Opportunities for Lasting Collaboration’

At the 2022 edition of Guadalajara International Book Fair. Image: FIL, Paula Vasquez

The EU guest of honor professional program is set for November 27, 28, and 29–in instance of a professional program that runs concomitantly with the fair itself rather than preceding the fair.

Attending the programming will be publishers, international rights agents, librarians, booksellers, illustrators, distributors, translators, and other book sector professionals from European Union member-states, and this is considered part of a “long-lasting, extensive, and devoted support program for the book sector,” embedded in the EU’s cultural policy.

Some 15 officials from EU member-states’ literature and book-sector national governance institutions will also participate in professional activities at Guadalajara. And a stated goal of the guest-of-honor program will be “exploring opportunities for lasting collaboration” between EU professionals and their Latin American and Caribbean counterparts, thanks in part to support from the relatively young EU-funded Cultural Relations Platform, opened in 2020. 

The programming is being devised to feature panel discussions and workshops targeting challenges in distribution for independent publishers; audiovisual rights and intellectual property; metadata in terms of book discoverability; and audiobooks “as a rapidly rising market in the EU and the Latin American and Caribbean region.

Key Professional Program Participants

At the 2022 Guadalajara International Book Fair. Image: FIL, Nabil Quintero

The roster of industry players expected to travel to Mexico for the professional program, Publishing Perspectives has learned, include among literary agents:

  • Finland’s Urpu Srelman of the Helsinki Literary Agency
  • Benas Berantas of Lithuania’s Book Smugglers Agency
  • Renate Punka of the Latvia’s Janis Roze
  • Krakow-based literary agent Higinio Paterna Sánchez
  • Slovenia’s Barbara Pregelj

And representatives from various EU national agencies include:

  • Brian Bailey, Arts Council Luxembourg
  • Sineid Mac Aodha, Publishing Ireland
  • Martin Krafl, Czech Lit Center
  • Diego Rodriguez, Flanders Literature (Belgium)
  • Kerti Tergem, Estonian Literature Center
  • Katja Urbanija, Slovenian Book Agency JAK

When the EU program opened a “call for interest” in the coming program, more than 150 applications were made for participation from 23 countries, indicating to organizers that there’s genuine interest in seeing the Guadalajara fair and broadening international outreach, especially for rights trades.

During the course of the program, the two stages designed into the EU pavilion will be given over to one-on-one meetings between EU representatives and those from the Latin American and Caribbean region. These sessions are to include translation proposals by literary translators from Europe and presentations of translation-funding programs based in EU states. Each day, up to three professional events will address issues “with wide-ranging content and synergies” for publishers, authors, and professionals

The combination of B2B networking and discussion of market challenges is expected to generate collegial and professional connections, all of which supports the Guest of Honor EU theme, “Building a Union of Cultures”


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Guadalajara International Book Fair is here, more on the Mexican publishing market is here, more on Spanish-language literature is here, more on world publishing’s trade shows and book fairs is here, more on the European Union is here, and more on European book and publishing markets is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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