International Book Fair Guadalajara in Mexico (FIL) is an article by Jordi Pujolá, Spanish writer in Iceland. With the support of Icelandic Mountain Guides
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- How are the Icelanders? 10 things
- Interview in Morgunblaðið
- Second interview Morgunblaðið
- 10 top wines in Iceland Vínbúðin
- The Interview to Árni Þórarinsson
- Interview to Andri Snær Magnason
- The Interview to Hallgrímur Helgason
- Interview to Sjón
- The interview to Blaz Roca
- An Interview to Vök (band music)
- Interview to Halldór Már (guitar and showman in TV3)
- The interview to HAM
- Interview Agent Fresco
- Interview to Úlfu Úlfur
- The interview to JóiPé x Króli
- Úa publisher of Forlagið
- Óttar Norðfjörður interview
- Interview to Aron Can
- Baltasar Kormákur interview
The only representation of Iceland in the Spanish Book Fair of Guadalajara Mexico
The International Book Fair of Guadalajara (24th. November to the 2nd. December 2018) is the most important book fair in the world after Frankfurt
Although the most of the books are in Spanish, Iceland had its little participation:
On Wednesday 28th. November the book El barman de Reykjavik. Eds. Camelot (novel that happens in Iceland and tells about traditions) was introduced by the author who talked about black Nordic novels and the Icelandic habits. After 2 hours the book was sold out
El barman de Reykjavik sinopsis
A Spanish immigrant starts a new life in Iceland working as a bartender in a club with an alive shark in the basement. It´s about the clash of cultures (Icelandic and Spanish) and describes the Icelandic traditions, the weather, the food…
Find the book in FNAC, Casa Libro, Amazon, Bóksala Stúdenta, Keflavik airport Penninn…
Internacional Book Fair of Guadalajara (FIL)
I interviewed Mariño González, press general manager of the book fair:
The Feria del libro de Guadalajara México (FIL) is a literacy and cultural event of high level founded in 1987 by the National University of Guadalajara, the special guest of this year was Portugal, the fair takes place at the modern and fancy glass Expo building
It includes activities for professionals, students, children, audience…
¿How many people assist to the book fair FIL?
«More than 800.000 people in 9 days»
The Mexicans like going to the book fair (often the whole family), checking the stands, the books and then decide which ones they want to buy. It´s a paradise for book lovers, especially if they can talk to their favourite authors and get the book with his signature
¿How many books do the Mexicans read per year?
«The Mexicans read in average 5 books per year and the attendants to the FIL 12»
¿What does the FIL do to encourage reading?
«We have all kind of books (literature, cartoons, comics, food, science…), so different range of people and age start discussing about them. For instance, we have a private area for children with funny activities and shows connected to books and literature
We also take care of creating new contents every year to keep the audience´s attention»
¿What is the main difference between the book fair of Guadalajara and Frankfurt?
«The FIL was the first one on putting the audience and the professionals in contact. The book fair of Frankfurt is aimed exclusively to industry professionals and it ranks above us only on publishing business volume
Personally, I think the interaction between the public and professionals (writers included) makes the difference»
«What is exciting about our fair is you can find writers such as Rubén Fontseca, Antonio Lobo Antúnez or Juan Carlos Fuentes (when he was alive) on the corridors or the canteen»
¿How can the FIL help new authors?
«First of all, to be so close of the authors of all kind of books is amazing
As a matter of fact, I am also a writer and I learnt a lot from attending the FIL. Being in contact with more than 400.000 titles, 800 writers and 3000 activities in this reading environment helps a lot»
¿Any recommendation for the beginner authors?
«Yes, to register in the fair and participate on the professional conferences. It opens the door of the cultural world»
¿What do you know of Iceland?
«I´ve never been to Iceland, it´s a place very far away from Mexico; but I know Björk (he smiles)
I think Iceland is a very interesting country and we would be very pleased if we could host Icelandic writers here (I told him many of them have books translated in Spanish so it´s not a crazy idea)
Iceland could have a stand exclusively for them (this year 40 countries participate in the fair) in the international area, so the publishers could negotiate translations in Spanish of their authors and vice versa»
Feria Internacional Guadalajara
335.000 inhabitants live in Iceland and 5.000.000 in Guadalajara city. The building of La Expo is in the suburbs, to go to downtown takes around 40 minutes by taxi if the traffic is bad (in that city the traffic can be bad or super bad)
Regarding traffic, the most of the agents are women
Women in FIL
FIL is also concern about women rights:
More than 10 tables discussed about feminism, MeToo movement and women literature
The Spanish writer Clara Usón won the prize Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz on its 25th edition
¿Why is the book fair of Guadalajara so special?
I interviewed writers, journalists, shopkeepers, public… and got many answers; however, what makes special the FIL for me is the atmosphere
I sold all my books and still I was visiting my stand everyday (the people in charge, Eusebio and Arielle, were lovely), other stands of publishers and countries (with food, drinks…), having coffee with journalists, agents, other writers…
Every morning I woke up and said to myself: I´m not going to go to the fair today, I need to do a bit of sightseeing in the city; but I always found and excuse to go and went
Interview to Monica in charge of the Spanish stand (video)
Interview to Joaquim in charge of the Catalonia´s stand (video)
Long lines on the entrance of la Expo de Guadalajara
The public waited in long lines in front of the building of la Expo to get in the book fair
Eventually I went out of the fair and paid a visit to the church and the old town. There is a lot of life on the streets (see the top video). It was worth it!
However, no one walks the city at night because it´s dangerous
¿Is Mexico really dangerous?
Yes, people (even locals) don´t recommend going out at night, but I did it
Visit to the printing house Impronta
We were invited by the printing house Impronta, they showed us the old printers they use and later on we had some shots of mezcal
Afterwards Manuel (another Spanish writer living in Mexico for 5 years) and I went to have dinner to the oldest cantina of the city (La Fuente), but we finished late, they didin´t have a phone to call a taxi and we ended up walking on the dark and brilliant sidewalks of Guadalajara (surprisingly it was raining)
The night in Guadalajara
We saw the light of a taxi parked near to the church
The taxi driver had his dark face hidden with a baseball cup, the back seats were cover with an old blanket and the springs squeaked like a second hand mattress, and he started coughing like hell
The car turned on. Too late to get out. The taxi driver didn´t fasten his seat belt, I tried to find mine, but damn there were not seat belts on the back seats
Taxis in Mexico
The wipers on the front windshield sounded like a cricket. The rain, the darkness and the driver´s coughing were killing me
However, that guy was not a criminal: he worked as a custodian during the day and as a taxi driver at night
I asked him how many hours did he sleep every day. His answer was shocking:
«Two or three, but as I don´t drink nor smoke and like doing jogging, I can bear it until this car is paid, around one year more», he said that and then coughed so fiercely that I was on the verge of holding the steer wheel
When we were stopped at a red traffic light I took a look at the milestone and the car had, for the Christ sake!, 175.000 km
Mexico is a rich country, but…
Mexicans say the government could put all the narcos in prison but they don´t do it because drugs are a huge business. My first thought is always: why don´t we legalise them?
Rik Barroso, is a young expert in motivation, he recently wrote a successful help book and was introducing it in FIL. He told me the Mexicans are known to be weak and he really believes that:
«I was also weak, but I started reading philosophy and other books and I changed. Now I want to help my folks»
The motto is the same everywhere and matches with the title of my first novel: We need a change
The United States of Mexico is a beautiful and rich country. However, it´s a pity no tourists come to Mexico anymore and the wealth of the country is on a few hands
Nevertheless, at least they have the FIL and they constantly try to give a good impression to the visitors; for instance, everything is super clean an there is always an employee cleaning the restrooms. The service is very nice as well
My opinion about the narcos
The mafia in Mexico started like a kind of revolution against big companies from US, Canada and Europe that stole the wealth from their land and left only fast food and pollution. Later on unfortunately the mafia became a business as well
La mafia in Mexico
Another taxi driver told me that the mafia rules in the villages instead of the police (the police don´t care, they just want to charge la mordida)
In the cities, there are some cartels as well. For example, in Guadalajara they have the cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación. He admits the cartel does some good things: The thieves don´t steal the car´s batteries at night anymore and the narcos cut down the hands of some rapists, put them in a plastic bag and tattooed the word ratero on their foreheads
Lo mejor de la Feria del Libro de Guadalajara: el ambiente
On Wednesday the 28th the fair was open to the general public
One Down Syndrome young boy just stopped me in the corridors because he wanted to see the crocodile I have tattooed on my arm, I showed him as well the tiger I got on the other one and explained him I am a writer with rules: only 1 tattoo every time that one of my novels is published. Her mother took a priceless photo of us while we were speaking
A couple of teenagers stopped me as well:
“Where are you from? – asked the boy-, she (pointed out the girl) needs to be in a picture with a foreigner” -she smiled a bit shy-. It´s for an school assignment”
I said I was a writer from Spain and of course we took a picture with my book
Thanks Eds. Camelot and Editorial de Otro Tipo
Thanks Eusebio and Arielle (people in charge of my stand E25) and my publisher Eds. Camelot America
We sold a lot of books and even though Eds. Camelot is not a big publisher, they hit the target sending some of its authors to the Fair. People want to talk to the writers and get a signed copy
The canteen of la FIL
¡La comida en México está padrísima!
The main restaurant inside the Fair was a big noisy room with rows of tables to share (you can meet a writer, publisher, agent, press or public) and checked tablecloths. People waited in a line like in a school and the waitress (all of them with a net on their hair) provided the food behind big hot, steamy trays. In Mexico people don´t use cutlery too much and drink the beer directly from the can
I took a seat and tried the tacos reluctantly, however they were so delicious that I repeated every lunch day. Tacos of beef, chicken, pork, beans… with a lot of coriander, a bit of chilly pepper and Mexican beer
In México, eating insects is very popular
Check the video
¿Tacos or Pizza?
The teenagers I had in front were having an enormous pizza. I asked them why they didn´t have those amazing tacos and they answer they have them everyday. Really?
The restaurant with the Guinness World Record
I wanted to try the restaurant that has got the Guinness World Record of serving fast. After 3 minutes of ordering, the food (carne en su jugo and guacomole) was on the table. And it was good!
Interview to a Mexican who comes every year from Austria
I interviewed Yolanda Manner on one of the big canteen´s tables. She is a Mexican woman who married Mr. Manner from Vienna and comes every year to the Fair, his husband quit coming because some years ago he was robbed in front of his house at gunpoint
She was born in Ciudad Juárez Chihuahua, she is a chemist, but now she says her lab is the kitchen
Why do you come to the FIL every year?
«It´s a meeting point for all the world´s authors and the audience has the chance of talking to them and listening to all they wanted to express in all kind of fields, literature, science, politics, gastronomy…
Do you recommend Europeans to come to la FIL?
«Absolutely, here there is a melting pot of cultures. The fair offer as well the chance of knowing other countries, other lifestyles, listening to other languages… It´s really interesting
Do the FIL have a special meaning for the Mexicans?
«We are proud of having the biggest book fair of Latin America where the readers can make true the dream of talking to their favourite authors»
The Hilton is the most busiest hotel of Guadalajara those days because many meetings and speeches of the FIL are hold there and it´s just in front of the Expo building
I accommodated myself in a more modest hotel but clean, with good service, wifi, shuttle bus to the Expo, bar with good assortment of tequilas and an delicious breakfast with live music and cooks making tortillas, gorditas and pancakes a la carte
The Malibu´s room
I looked for the typical Bible in my room, but I only found a phone book, I thought they didn´t exist anymore, and an empty envelope where the cleaning lady introduced herself and told me she was going to take care of me
At night I felt good, usually brought a tequila to the room and read the books I got during the day until I fell asleep
How is the weather in Guadalajara?
While in Iceland we had the first snow in October, in Guadalajara we had almost 30 °C in December, unless the day that was raining cats and dogs, the temperature dropped a bit and the Mexicans put on all the winter clothes they had and said: Oye, este frío está rico (that cold is nice)
Interview to Adriana Peregrino
Bye bye Guadalajara
Time to go. The day I was leaving Mexico, there were delays in the most of the flights and I tried to not to get irritated (the Mexican companies require passengers to be at the airport 3 hours before the flight, crazy!), to behave in a Mexican mood, so I had a Frapuccino in Starbucks (they wrote my name in the glass with Y), started writing this article and looked at the planes landing and taking off
The flight company Interjet offers a round of free alcoholic drinks on board, something one always really appreciate. I asked for a beer, but the hostess told me it was not enough cold, I know that doesn´t matter too much for Icelanders, but it´s very important for Latins ;so I asked for a vodka tonic. She poured so much vodka that I almost couldn´t refill the glass with tonic, but it was totally all right (alcohol is so expensive in Iceland)
I looked at the reddish sky of Guadalajara and got the feeling I left good friends in Mexico. I´ll come back next year with my third novel, auðvitað!
Interested in buying my novel?
FNAC, Casa del Libro, Amazon, Bóksala Studenta or me directly if you live in Iceland (I´ll sign it for you)
Icelandic authors translate it in Spanish
International Book Fair Guadalajara is an article by Jordi Pujolá, Spanish writer in Reykjavik
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