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Thursday, October 27, 2011

On Book Fairs and Porto Alegre

Visitors at the Book Fair - A crowd drawer
Gay Pride Parades, beautiful parks, beautiful people, all the amenities found in the best capitals all over,  and a book fair to boot?

Yes, Porto Alegre has a book fair. An annual event held every year towards the end of October, beginning of November.

It is one of the oldest in the country. This is all because one porto-alegrean had visited one such fair in Rio de Janeiro and inspired, he came up with a similar event in Porto Alegre. That was in 1955.

What they wanted was to make books available to the masses and since they would not come to the books why not take the books to the them? That is what they did back then.

Alfândega (Customs) Square was a busy corner in Porto Alegre in the 50s and 400 thousand people inhabited the Merry Harbor. So, on November 16th, 1955, the first Porto Alegre Book Fair was set in motion with 14 wooden stalls around a monument to an important general. From then on, as you can imagine, the fair idea caught on and goes on until today.

Jane Tutikian - This year's Honoree 
With all the success, at the occasion of the eleventh book fair, the tradition of adopting one Honoree – a Guest of Honor, so to speak – to represent the scope of the fair, began. And to him or her homage is paid every year. The Honoree, more often than not a writer or an important personality connected to books or to academia, is always busy granting interviews and making clear his vision of the world.

This year’s fair will be held from October 28th to November 15th , 2011. Sold? Catch that flight and visit the fair.


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