Writer Martín Kohan opened the 47th Buenos Aires International Book fair on Thursday with a conceptual speech that offered listeners advice for their interactions in the coming days and underlined the importance of readers.
"If the gaps are not between exploited and exploiters, for me, they lose relevance," declared Kohan, the author of Ciencias morales and Fuera de lugar.
"The Book Fair takes place in an improper place and in a transitory time. It replaces cows and whistles with books and round tables. It imbues names of rooms with a paraded importance," he stated.
Kohan also artistically described the relationship between authors, texts and readers in the context of the Fair. "Noise: the Fair is a fair, voices of buying and selling ring, as they do in all fairs… Things do not change when we get tired, when we change the subject; we get tired and things are still there, intact. The truth tires us sometimes, but that does not mean it is no longer true. That truth is in the Fair."
"The background noise of the Fair provides conversations with a suitable framework. It is only in the midst of the general hubbub that poets measure verses or divulge them, that playwrights set up or dismantle scenes, that essayists rehearse, that storytellers plot fictions with which they will question the truth," he explained.
"The Fair's historical motto can also be read this way: from the author to the reader in the sense of a passage. Let's go from the author to the reader. It is the scene of a literary and infinite conversation," he narrated.
"Conversations in themselves do not have to be placid, harmonious, sweetened or oriented by a desire for consensus. Discussions with a high tone, heated as they say, vehement and even exasperated, are also forms of conversation," he added.
Citing leading authors, the famed essayist called for a full appreciation of challenging works.
"I think of the loud voice of David Viñas, but also of the soft modulations of Horacio González; I think of the firmness of Beatriz Sarlo's questioning tone, but also of Tulio Halperín Donghi's appeal to the edge of irony," Kohan said.