Agencia EFE reports that Puerto Rico will host a literary festival that will bring together writers from Latin America, Europe, and the United States. The Project is the brainchild of Puerto Rican writer Mayra Santos-Febres, a recent winner of the Primavera Prize from Espasa Calpe for her novel Nuestra Señora de la Noche (Our Lady of the Night), who said that among the more than 50 writers expected to come to the festival next May are Portuguese writer José Saramago and Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes.
The idea for the festival—which has the support of the Puerto Rican government—came from Santos-Febres’ participation in the Semana Negra de Gijón (Gijón’s Black Week), an annual literary event produced by Spain-born Mexican novelist Paco Ignacio Taibo II iin his native city of Gijón, Asturias, that celebrates crime fiction. (The crime novel is known in Spanish as “novela negra” or “black novel.”). The Semana Negra attracts over a million people annually and includes musical performances, movie screenings, and a week of street parties. It has achieved two World Guinness records with the longest conga line ever in Europe, over 6,200 people (1991) and the longest line of books (1,650 meters, well over a mile) donated by participants for readers in Cuba in 1994.
“There is no precedent in Puerto Rico for an event like this one, but we believe it is important to set in motion a literary festival that will encourage reading among people,” said Santos-Febres. She explained that the festival will last four days and will most probably take place during the second week of May 2010. Plans call for a “Pavilion of the Word” organized around presentations by the writers invited, a “Festival of Children’s Writings,” and a “Gran café” focused on poetry. The event will be sponsored by the Puerto Rican Teachers’ Association and the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. Santos-Febres’ co-organizer is José Manuel Fajardo, winner of the Premio Internacional de Periodismo Rey de España (the King of Spain’s International Journalism Award) for Las naves del tiempo.
Photo by Ramon Korff at http://as.americas-society.org/calevent.php?id=622