FIL A Cultural Bridge
Founded in 1987 by the University of Guadalajara, the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) is the largest market in the world for Spanish language publications. Year after year publishers, literary agents, promoters of reading, translators, distributors and librarians walk down the aisles of FIL carrying out the commercial and professional trade. Furthermore, over 700.000 people visit during the nine days of FIL, immersing themselves in books and taking advantage of one of the most important cultural festivals in Latin America.
A few statistics offer a sound idea of FIL's importance: 34.000 square meters (8.4 acres) of exhibit space, with an annual average of more than 1.900 publishers from 44 countries; the activities program offers over 1.000 hours of events; more than 600 book presentations and over 100.000 young visitors attend each year. In all, FIL represents over $330 million dollars of economic flow to the city of Guadalajara.
Beyond statistics, FIL is a vital and concrete repository of Latin American culture. In its three main areas of activity (publishing, academic and cultural), FIL has become the meeting point for discussions and debates on contemporary culture. Authors, scholars, artists, intellectuals and many other individuals interested in the exchange of ideas on cultural issues take part in FIL each year.
FIL is also a unique opportunity to renew the bonds that link Mexico and Hispanic-America to other cultures. Since 1993, FIL has had a country or region as Guest of Honor, offering a venue to display the very best of its literary and cultural production. Colombia (1993), New Mexico (1994), Venezuela (1995), Canada (1996), Argentina (1997), Puerto Rico (1998), Chile (1999), Spain(2000), Brazil (2001), Cuba (2002), Quebec (2003), Catalonian Culture (2004), Peru (2005),Andalusia (2006), Colombia (2007), Italy (2008), Los Angeles (2009), Castilla y León (2010), Germany (2011), Chile (2012), Israel (2013), Argentina (2014), United Kingdom (2015) have already been featured. América Latina will be our Guest of Honor for 2016.
As part of its efforts to maintain high literary standards and to encourage cultural development, FIL has supported the creation of awards that are presented annually. the FIL Literary Award in Roman Languages, bestowed by the Civil Association of the Juan Rulfo Latin American and Caribbean Literature Prize, founded in 1991 by the Universidad de Guadalajara, offers a US$150.000 award and recognizes the lifetime achievement of an important literary writer. Seventeen of the most important contemporary Latin American authors have been honored with this prize: Nicanor Parra, Juan José Arreola, Eliseo Diego, Julio Ramón Ribeyro, Nélida Piñón, Augusto Monterroso, Juan Marsé, Olga Orozco, Sergio Pitol, Juan Gelman, Juan García Ponce, Cintio Vitier, Rubem Fonseca, Juan Goytisolo, Tomás Segovia, Carlos Monsiváis, Fernando del Paso, António Lobo Antunes, Rafael Cadenas, Margo Glantz, Fernando Vallejo, Alfredo Bryce Echenique, Yves Bonnefoy, Claudio Magris and Enrique Vila-Matas have been honor.
The Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Literary Prize, created in 1993, recognizes an important novel written in the Spanish language by a female author. The Publishing Merit Award has been bestowed on exemplary editors—those who serve as a bridge between the manuscript and the reader—and since its conception in 1993 it includes Arnaldo Orfila Reynal, Joaquín Díez-Canedo, Neus Espresate, Jack McClelland, Kuki Miller and Daniel Divinsky, Jesús de Polanco, Beatriz de Moura, Antoine Gallimard, Alí Chumacero, Jorge Herralde, Francisco Porrúa, Roberto Calasso, Morgan Entrekin, Inge Feltrinelli, Christian Bourgois, Manuel Borrás, Michael Krüger, Marcelo Uribe, Anne Marie Métailié and Peggy Espinosa.
Other awards presented during FIL are the Fernando Benitez National Cultural Journalism Award, founded in 1991, which includes a tribute to an important journalist in the cultural sector; the ArpaFIL Prize, given to a young architect, which also honors an individual's contribution to architecture or urban studies; the Tribute to a Bibliophile, created in 2001; and the Tribute to a Librarian, created in 2002.