Havana Book Fair to open 12 February: One thousand New Titles and Six Million Copies

Cuban publishing houses announce over one thousand new titles for the 18th International Book Fair, whose aim is to promote the love of reading and knowledge amongst readers of all ages.

The main event will take place between February 12th and 22nd in the traditional area of San Carlos de La Cabaña, an old fortress located at the entrance of the bay of Havana.

A week before the opening, over 200 new publications will be distributed in the capital's 46 bookstores.

Later the fair will extend throughout the length and breadth of the country. It will cover the 14 provinces including the Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth). The closing ceremony will take place on March 8th in Santiago de Cuba. An increase in the number of visitors is anticipated, which reached over 4,230,000 people in February 2008.

In 2009 the Guest Country of Honor will be Chile, and current president Michel Bachelt is expected to visit. Tribute will also be paid to the 50th anniversary of the Casa de las Américas and to two outstanding Cuban authors: Fina García Marruz, National Literature Prize in 1990 and Jorge Ibarra, National Social Sciences Prize, 1996.

It will also be the opportune time to remember the centenary of Cuban writer Félix Pita Rodríguez and the 20th anniversary of the death of Cuban National Poet, Nicolás Guillén.

In addition to book sales, the Fair aims to promote exchanges and dialogues between authors, critics and publishers. Amongst the many titles on offer are those in the 50 Years of the Revolution collection: La historia me absolverá, Antología de cuentos escrita después de la Revolución, 50 canciones en años de Revolución and Historia del béisbol revolucionario.

Some 235 overseas publishing houses will participate and publishers, writers, booksellers and distributors from 32 countries are expected to attend.

Letras Cubanas publishing house has produced a reprint of La consagración de la primavera, one of the novels by Alejo Carpentier dedicated to the Revolution, and a song book by troubadour Silvio Rodríguez.

The Art and Literature publishing house will present works by Argentinean Jorge Boccanera (La pasión de los poetas), Chilean Volodia Teitelboim (Por ahí anda Rulfo) and Swede Lasse Soderberg (Las piedras de Jerusalén).