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Coelho attacks Brazil's Frankfurt presence

Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho has said he declined to attend this year's Frankfurt Book Fair, despite Brazil being the guest of honour, in protest at the choice of writers attending from his country.

Coelho told German newspaper Die Welt: "When it comes to the formal presentation of Brazilian culture, politics unfortunately gets involved in a very unpleasant way." He claimed that he had never heard of 50 of the 70 writers in the delegation, saying: "What annoys me most about it is that there in an exciting new literary scene in Brazil, but many of the young authors are not found on this list."

Coelho referenced several Brazilian writers which he had wanted to attend, including Eduardo Spohr, Carolina Muñoz, Thalita Rebolledo, André Vianco, Felipe Neto and Raphael Draccon.

Coehlo, who is published in the UK by HarperCollins, said the choice was difficult, as he admired the Frankfurt Book Fair and felt a close relationship to it. However he said he did not want to be a "Brazilian Zorro or Lone Ranger", as part of a delegation that "excludes so many others".

He also used the interview to further attack the Brazilian government, calling it a "disaster", which had made "big promises and not kept them".

A spokesperson for the Franfurt Book Fair said: "We regret very much that Paulo Coelho does not come to Frankfurt this year. He has always been able to captivate a huge audience. However, every year we have been observing emotional discussions about every guest of honour's authors' list. There are so many expectations linked to it. But this also proves that authors and their literary work are at the very core of every guest of honour project."