Preview of Havana International Book Fair due to open 13 February

Zuleica Romay Guerra, president of the Cuban Book Institute (ICL), reported that the reading festival will feature more than 700 new titles and that approximately 2.5 million books are being published for the event. A special effort is being made to offer 32 works by Ecuadoran authors, she said.

Ecuador's literature and art, especially film, are among the continent's most substantial and Cubans will have the opportunity to enjoy a broad gamut of artistic expressions, including music, dance and theater, Romay announced.

According to the Book Institute, being published are 16 works by Nersys Felipe and Rolando Rodríguez, winners of the National Prizes for Literature and Social Sciences, respectively, to whom the 23rd Book Fair is dedicated.

International delegations with approximately 160 participants, including 120 authors, are planning to attend and will present 138 exhibits, which will occupy 1,622 square meters at the Fair's principal site, the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress, located at the entrance to Havana Bay, Romay reported.

A novelty added to the program this year is a colloquium on anthropology and archaeology, which will include the participation of important specialists from Ecuador, Cuba and Mexico.

Also reported was the inclusion of new Book Fair sites, including the University of Havana, along with other institutions and public spaces in Vedado such as the Pabellón Cuba, the José Martí Cultural Society, the Center for Martí Studies and the Cuban United Nations Association.

Devoted to the promotion of the best of Cuban and international literature, the Fair will honor Samuel Feijóo and Onelio Jorge Cardoso on the occasion of the 100th anniversaries of their births and Cuban poet Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, still captivating 200 years after her birth.

A seminar dedicated to the life and work of this woman, born ahead of her time, has been scheduled, to be led by experts such as authors Antón Arrufat and Zaida Capote, and including several presentations on the novel Saab which sheds light on the author's abolitionist views.

For the occasion, Letras Cubanas will publish three narrative works by Gómez de Avellaneda, affectionately known to Cubans as Tula, and new editions will be released of her Diario de amor and Devocionario íntimo.

Although the author was born in what is now the province of Camagüey on March 23, 1814, she lived in Spain from 1836 until her death and wrote a large part of here work in that country.

Among her best known novels are Dos mujeres and Saab, while her most successful plays included the biblical drama Saúl y Baltasar (1858). She is considered one of the major precursors of Latin American literature.

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