Elena Poniatowska, winner of the Cervantes Prize 2014, and critic and essayist Enrique Krauze will be headlining Mexico’s Market Focus Cultural Programme for this year’s London Book Fair.
Investigative journalist and women’s rights advocate Lydia Cacho and Francisco Hinojosa, the inaugural Latin American Children’s Laureate, will also participate. The LBF Market Focus Author of the Day on Wednesday 14th April will be Valeria Luiselli, whose most recent novel, The Story of my Teeth will be published by Granta in April 2015. She will take part in seminars, discussions and book signings across the fair as well as public events.
The authors will be joined in dialogue and discussion by UK writers, journalists, translators and literary critics, including the Telegraph's Gaby Wood, S J Fowler, Bidisha, poet Owen Sheers and Carcanet m.d. Michael Schmidt.
The programme is designed to provide an overview of what Mexican literature means today. Themes will include machismo, poetry, new forms of storytelling, commemorating 100 years of Octavio Paz, translation and reinventing literary traditions.
The programme is being presented by the British Council and Conaculta, The National Council for Culture and Arts in Mexico as part of a 12-month programme of literary exchanges taking place in both the UK and Mexico. Events will also take place in partnership with British Library, English PEN, Free Word Centre, London Review Bookshop, the Southbank, Litro Magazine, Wales PEN Cymru and the Hay Festival, among others.
Mexican writers will visit the UK throughout the summer, appearing at literature festivals including Worlds Literature Festival in Norwich, Edinburgh International Book Festival and Belfast Book Festival. The Hay Festival will host Laia Jufresa, Brenda Lozano and Daniel Saldana, three of the authors from the upcoming México20 anthology. The anthology is created in partnership with the British Council, Conaculta and Hay Festival and features 20 of Mexico’s most promising young authors. It will be published by Pushkin Press in the UK in April 2015.
Cortina Butler, director literature, British Council said: “The British Council anticipates that the Mexican Market Focus Cultural Programme will have a lasting impact on appreciation in this country of the strength and depth of contemporary Mexican literature. We are delighted to be working with The London Book Fair and Conaculta on this programme and believe that it creates a unique opportunity for the writing, publishing and reading communities in the UK and Mexico to build understanding and make connections.”
Jacks Thomas, director, LBF, said: “The cultural programme complements the fantastic publishing showcase for Mexico which will take place within The London Book Fair. We look forward to LBF being an essential hub for deals and partnerships that will benefit the commercial and cultural aspects of the book world for years to come.”
The LBF Market Focus Cultural Programme of events began in September 2014 and will carry on until August 2015. Activity up until now has included six literary editors from UK publishing houses travelling to Mexico City in September to meet with writers, editors and agents there and a Mexico Market Focus Rights Forum in December.