Guadalajara Book Fair: a showcase to the world for Uruguayan literature

The country exhibits the production of its prestigious authors and its recognized literary culture.
Publication date: 05/12/2019

As a result of the work articulated between Uruguay XXI, the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) and the Uruguayan Chamber of Books, and within the framework of its sustained work to support the internationalization of the creative industries, Uruguay participates in the main event of the publishing sector in the continent. This is the Guadalajara Book Fair (FIL) which began on Saturday 30 November and will end on Sunday 8 December.

More than 2,280 publishing houses from 47 countries, authors, literary agents, librarians, booksellers and more than 819 thousand visitors eager for the best of Hispanic literature give an account of the magnitude of this event, of which Uruguay has been participating for a decade.

In addition to being a cultural event that brings together authors from all continents and from different languages, FIL is an opportunity to foster academic discussion on issues affecting the publishing sector today and a great opportunity to promote Uruguayan fiction and non-fiction in the international industry.

For this occasion Uruguay XXI and the MEC made a call to publishers and copyright agents who would like to participate in order to close deals. The editor of Criatura Editora, Julia Ortiz, the editor of Casa Editorial HUM, Martín Fernández and the editor of Topito Ediciones, Manuel Soriano, were selected.

The delegation was completed by the illustrator Jorge Mattos (Ca teter) and the Uruguayan author of children's books Verónica Leite, who were supported by the State through the National Direction of Culture. The illustrator Maco, the commercial publisher of Más Pimienta, Fabián Mastrángelo and the publishing house Amanuense, located in the department of Colonia, among others.

Managed by the Book Chamber with the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC), Uruguay has a country stand located on the premises for international exhibitors, where classic and recent titles of national literature are available.

Three of the nine days in which FIL takes place are exclusively dedicated to negotiations between publishers, agents and universities interested in promoting their catalogues and acquiring rights. These negotiations take place in an exclusive lounge for this activity which has more than 180 business tables.

With an average of 20 pre-scheduled appointments for each of the Uruguayan representatives and so many others that arose spontaneously during the event and in the networking spaces, the experience has been very satisfactory so far.

The fair has also been a beneficial space to disseminate the IDA Program, for the translation of literary works and production of audiobooks by contemporary Uruguayan authors, with the aim of positioning the country in a competitive place in the region and support the internationalization of the publishing sector. Launched in the second semester of 2018 by Uruguay XXI and hand in hand with the MEC, this program received an excellent reception and exhausted its funds in only three months of activity.

This initiative, named after the Uruguayan writer Ida Vitale, winner of the Cervantes 2018 award, seeks to promote the commercial management, promotion and diffusion of the Uruguayan publishing sector abroad through the support to publishers and authors with duly constituted companies at the national or international level.

Currently, Uruguay has favorable export conditions both for the prestige of its authors and for its position within the culture at the international level. Its Book Law provides for export support through tax exemptions and also provides for the granting of credits for the production and publication of books for export.

An important set of successful cases in this industry demonstrate the potential of Uruguayan production at the international level. The success of some works has also been the result of the development of technology, marketing and social networks that allow the publishing industry to be more selective, aim directly at its target audience, as well as bring the author closer to its readers and strengthen its link.

With a view to 2020, Uruguay XXI is planning a new edition of the IDA programme, as well as Uruguay's participation in the Bologna Children's Book Fair and again in Guadalajara. In addition, it will continue with proposals aimed at training and updating, such as the masterclass on the publishing industry in the digital world and the rise of the audiobook, which took place in July 2019 by the Spanish specialist Javier Celaya.

Learn more about the publishing sector in the Uruguay XXI report.