The Havana International Book Fair is one of the highlights of the Cuban annual social calendar. First held in 1982, the fair is usually conducted in February and is spread across ten days. It attracts thousands of local and international book lovers. The annual fair begins in Havana’s San Carlos de la Cabana fortress, moves through dozens of Cuban provinces and ends in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba.
Referred to as the Feria Internacional del Libro de La Habana in Spanish, the fair’s main objective is the promotion of various books and authors. Hundreds of workshops are conducted as part of the fair and thousands of authors, whether local or international, participate in them. Several international publishing houses set up stalls at the fair and promote their books. Someof the countries that have participated in the fair in the past include Spain, Mexico, Germany, Venezuela, France and the West Indies.
In terms of participating authors, some of the better known authors who have been present or honoured at the fair include U.S. writer Alice Walker andGerman playwright Bertolt Brecht. Another interesting aspect of the fair is that it chooses, every year, to honor a particular country and its literary achievements.
The fair usually starts at ten in the morning. The day is then filled with poetry readings, fun and educational activities for children, art promotions and concerts. Authors present make the best use of their day by presenting their books and interacting with fans of their work. The fair has a history of selling millions of books and pamphlets every year and is credited to have brought to light much of Cuba’s’ hidden literary talent.