With the fervour and fanfare of the 47th annual Feria Internacional del Libro de Buenos Aires (“The Buenos Aires International Book Fair”) quickly approaching, the time has come for porteños and book-loving visitors to explore the city of books at the La Rural exhibition centre in Palermo.
The giant literary fair — which begins on Thursday, April 27 — is expected to include more than 500 stands and 1,500 exhibitors.
Amidst all the chaos of books and artists, here are a few acclaimed thinkers to look out for.
Fernando Aramburu Irigoyen
Born in San Sebastián in 1959, Fernando Aramburu Irigoyen is a notable fiction writer, renowned for his imaginative writing and award-winning book Patria (2016). The novel, which built upon themes in his earlier tome La peces de amargura (2013), focuses on the terrorism carried out by the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), the infamous Basque separatist group.
After the publishing of Patria, Irigoyen was lauded with the Critics Award, National Literature Award, and the Francisco Umbral Award for Book of the Year. The stories of La peces de amargura, also brought him the XI Mario Vargas Llosa NH award, Dulce Chacón Award, and the Royal Spanish Academy award.
Outside of his hard-hitting novels, he is also well-known for his weekly column in El País. Today, his books have been translated into over 30 languages and some of his works have been adopted into TV and children’s plays.
Ida Vitale, who turns 100 this year, is an icon of essentialist poetry and the last living member of “Generation ’45”, an influential group of Uruguayan artists and writers who gained popularity between 1945 and 1950.
A famed poet, translator, essayist, professor, and literary critic, Vitale has collected numerous awards for her literary work including the FIL of Guadalajara, the Octavio Paz Prize (2009), the Alfonso Reyes Prize (2014), Reina Sofía Prize (2015), Federico García Lorca International Poetry Prize (2016), Max Jacob Prize (2017), and the Cervantes Prize (2018).
Vitale has drawn inspiration from a number of key life events including living under the dictatorship, her exile, and most recently, experiences associated with ageing. In 2019, BBC named her one of the 100 most inspiring, influential, and innovative women in the world.
Bayly is a famous Peruvian writer, politician, and TV News personality, publicly recognised for his work at CBS, Telemundo and numerous other Latin American TV networks.
Bayley, known for his biting wit and dynamic writing style, has been offered a number of awards for his written works including the Herralde Prize for his novel, La noche es virgen (1997), and was Planeta Prise finalist for his novel, Y de repente, un ángel (2005).
His writing career intersected with the film world when his novel, No se lo digas a nadie (1994), was turned into a well-known picture in 2000.
An unflinching thinker from Santiago, the guest city of honour at this year’s Ferira, Zurita is one of the most prominent Chilean poets of the 20th century, according to fair organisers.
Zurita, a former political prisoner who was tortured for almost a month at the start of the Chilean military coup, has used his poetic work as a form of political resistance to call out state abuses under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).
His collections — Purgatorio, Anteparaíso, Canto a su amor desaparecidos, El amor de Chile, Ciudades del Agua, and Sueños para Kurosawa — have earned him awards such as the Iberoamerican Reina Sofía Poetry Prize, Chile’s National Award for Literature (2000), the Ibero-American poetry Pablo Neruda Prise (2016) and numerous other prestigious acclamations
Famed Chilean actress and writer Fernández is another fine representative from this year’s guest city of honour.
Her book, La Dimensión Desconocida, which illustrates the coexistence of horror and everyday life during the Pinochet dictatorship, garnered the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Award and was named as a finalist for the National Book Award.
She received the same nomination for work Space Invaders, and was winner of the Best Published Work award from Chile’s National Book Council for her work, Chilean Electric.
Fernández is set to participate in a roundtable discussion at the BA Book Fair, scheduled for 6.30pm on Monday, May 8. Joining fellow prominent Latin American authors Margarita García Robayo, Rosario Lázaro Igoa and Cristian Alarcón, the writer will compare the merits of utilising fiction and non-fiction to depict modern life.
Gabriela Cabezón Cámara
Argentine writer and journalist Gabriela Cabezón Cámara will have a solo feature at 7pm on Wednesday, May 3, as a part of the Dialogue of Argentine Writers series.
Recognised as a prominent contemporary Latin American literary figure, Cámara has utilised her writing to further her work as a feminist and socio-environmental activist.
Her novel, Las aventuras de la China Iron, a retelling of the epic national poem Martín Fierro from a post-colonial, feminist, LGBTQ+ orientation, made the shortlists for the 2020 International Booker Prize and the 2021 Prix Medicis.
She has previously worked as the editor of the Culture section in Clarín and was the chair of the Laboratory of Experimentation of Writing Arts at the National University of the Arts.
Born in Shariatpur, Bangladesh, but having spent 10 years of his life in Mexico, Alauddin’s work as a translator and a writer has allowed him to traverse linguistic boundaries and perspectives to explore universal themes such as the lives of immigrants, the unifying nature of love, and the effects of oppression and tragedy.
Alauddin is a lauded scholar for authors such as Rabindranath Tagore and Jorge Luis Borges, whom he will be discussing at this year’s Ferira as a part of the exhibition in honour of the legendary Argentine writer.