The Dominican Republic’s XIII International Book Fair opened Wednesday. This year, the fair is dedicated to Mexico and to the late Dominican poet Freddy Gatón Arce and will feature books and authors from 30 countries, among them Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes. The fair, which will extend to 18 days (three more than the customary two weeks) will offer extensive activities linking the fair to the celebrations of this year’s designation of Santo Domingo as cultural capital of America.
“This fair pays homage to a much admired nation, from which we will welcome, as an pleasurable cultural pilgrimage, a broad delegation of writers, artists, workshop-leaders, editors, and experts in children’s literature and animation,” said Minister of Culture José Rafael Lantigua in his opening remarks. Lantigua reminded his audience that Mexico was the only country that did not go along with the “ignominy” of the military coup against President Juan Bosch. He added that the dedication of the fair to Gatón Arce is based on the high quality of his intellectual contributions to the Dominican Republic, which place him at the top echelons of national journalism. Gatón Arce is the author of Vlía, “an essential text” in Dominican poetry,” and was the founder in 1966 of the newspaper El Nacional.
Mexican chancellor Patricia Espinosa, expressed her thanks for the dedication of the fair to her nation and reiterated her country’s pride in its writers. “We use the generosity of the Dominican nation as an opportunity to strength the links of friendships that have connected us for more than two centuries of solidarity and mutual respect,” she added. She signaled the forthcoming visit of Carlos Fuentes, “a point of reference in Mexican literature” and the arts, “whose work has marked generations of Mexicans and other readers around the world.”
The fair was opened by Dominican President Leonel Fernández, who was accompanied by the Chancellor of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), José Narro Robles, and the director of the Fondo de Cultural Económica (FCE) of Mexico, Joaquín Díez-Canedo.