New look and a Spanish touch at Athens book fair

Representatives of Spain’s publishing sector and noted Spanish writers will be in the Greek capital to take part in a major annual book fair between tomorrow and June 2 at the Pedion tou Areos park in downtown Athens. The initiative to invite the Spanish delegation comes as part of an overall effort by organizers to inject new life into the event. The Athens Publishers and Book Retailers Society (SEVA) and the National Book Center (EKEBI), the event’s organizers, have joined forces with the Cervantes Institute’s local branch for this year’s effort, the 25th. It is being held under the tutelage of the Culture Ministry. Besides the visiting Spaniards, other changes introduced this year include new-look booths, noted SEVA’s president, Eleni Kanaki, at a recent news conference. Compared to the previous designs, these new booths are larger, better lit, more accessible to visitors, and far easier to locate. This year, approximately 40,000 new titles released by participating publishers will be on show. Also new at the book fair this time around is the Bibliocafe, a spacious cafe-booth measuring 150 square meters with facilities for lectures and exhibitions. After the fair, it will also be put to regular use for various literary and publishing events. The cafe-booth’s operations will be inaugurated with presentations of the visiting Spanish writers and locals, as well as photography and magazine exhibitions. On show inside the Bibliocafe will be some 400 titles of Spanish and Spanish-language literature that have been released locally in recent years. The visiting Spanish guild will consist of six writers, three publishers, and a literature critic, all of whom will remain in Greece for the event’s two-week duration to exchange views with local counterparts. The writers, Juan Manuel de Prada, Juan Carlow Mestre, Espido Freire, Pedro Zarraluki, Luis Mateo Diez, and Vargas Llosa, all represent various trends in Spanish-language literature. They will be joined by a compatriot critic, Angel Vivas. Also on the agenda, for May 25, is a discussion between the three Spanish publishing representatives with local counterparts Ilias Livanis, Stavros Petsopoulos and Andaio Chrysostomidi on the topic «Foreign Literature in Domestic Markets.» As has been the case in previous years, film will be integrated into this year’s book fair, at the Aliki Cinema, which is located within the grounds of the Pedion tou Areos park. Drawing from the event’s Spanish flavor, organizers have put together a tribute titled «Spanish Literature in Film,» organized by EKEBI in association with the Spanish Foreign Ministry, the Spanish Embassy, the Cervantes Institute, and SEVA. Film adaptations of works by Spanish writers, including movies by Luis Bunuel and Roman Polanski, will be projected. State radio and television, ERT, Athens daily Eleftherotypia’s «Bibliothiki» literature supplement, and local radio station Melodia are this year’s official sponsors of the event.